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Tips and Troubleshooting - Lifeguard & Tile Cover:

The first step is always to test the product in another application other than your project. The purpose of doing this is to get over your natural reaction that something might be wrong with the product. This will aid in determining what is really happening and why.

If, after testing as described and reviewing the information on this page, you do not have an answer and do not know what to do - contact us for assistance as something is certainly different than you think.

Before emailing for assistance - do the following tests so you can give us the results in the your email. If you contact us before doing the testing and reviewing the information, there will be delays in assisting you because we must still ask you for these test results. We cannot be of assistance by guessing.

(It is important to do all 3 tests and to do them per the label directions. Do not use a sponge, paper towel, rag, or anything else absorbent to spread the puddle. Just pour a little on the surface and allow it to spread and self level without touching it.)

  1. Apply a small amount to a piece of flat, clean glass per the label directions. The glass gives you a clear view of what the product looks like when dry. With sealers or coatings, this will show you the degree of toughness and adhesion. With cleaners and other products, this will show you the what it looks like when dry.

  2. Apply a small amount to an uninstalled piece of the same surfacing per the label directions. Use the same sealer if there is one. The uninstalled piece of the same surfacing takes away anything that occurred during and after installation.

  3. Apply a small amount per the label directions to a different type of surfacing with a similar absorption. Use the same sealer if there is one. This takes the surfacing itself out of the equation to show if there is something unusual about that particular batch of surfacing.
Now that you see what the product does and how it looks - let's examine the job conditions and determine what is different. The conclusion to be verified is that something has occurred during the installation, or in the time span after installation, to interfere with performance. You do not want to do anything else (reapply product, strip, etc.) that will complicate identifying the issues.

If applied per label directions, this product functions as described. This includes effects of sprinkler and rain water if outdoors, mopping if indoors. The tests above show you what should exist. The things below are some things to think about in diagnosis and prevention.

Here are the things to look for:

  • White appearing areas?.
    • This can be either water deposits on the surface (easily cleaned - see web site)
    • Or an underlying sealer is peeling and both the sealer and the coating are coming off.
    • Or the coating itself could be losing bond (peeling, flaking). Scratch with a coin to see if it scratches off, but leaves the sealer in place.
      • This can be from enough dust on the floor that the liquid bonded to the dust, not the floor.
      • Or the surface has spots that did not receive enough sealer and those spots are still absorbent enough to absorb the water out of the new coating before it can form its film. In this case, the spot will darken from a water drop indicating absorbency. This only requires removing the white coating and applying more sealer in those spots.

If white areas or areas of peeling/flaking, It could be that the application was simply not uniformly thick enough to flow out to a film. Streakiness is an indicator that it has been painted on and not flowed on. A coating that is too thin can also degrade prematurely from aggressive cleaners like our "Insta-Clean" or adverse environmental conditions. Remove a small test area and test another application that is allowed to go on thicker.

A coating that is non-uniform and/or too thin in places, could be caused by applying with a tool or technique not suggested on the label. For instance, a tool or technique that pulls the puddle apart to an insufficient and uneven liquid layer. This product is a "film-former" and the wrong tool or technique can impair that film forming action. See label for removing and reapplying correctly. The sun heating the surface of a structure (i.e. patio slab) by day causes expansion followed by cooling at night causes contraction of the whole mass.  That movement over time can break the bond of a film forming product if the product is not well applied as described on the label.

  • It could be from water deposits. See  "Problem Solving"  for that issue. This can be minerals (or chemicals) from mop water, rain run-off from: a roof, planter, flower pot, etc.

  • If the whiteness only appears when it is wet and then disappears when it is dry, please review the product label for this reference. It is only the temporary haziness that appears when standing water penetrates slightly into the finish and then takes a little longer to dry from slightly below the surface. This is common with any coatings of this type.

  • Coating is not lasting for more than a month or two:
    It is not a sealer, therefore, it is not meant to last for a long time. The product is a "sacrificial" coating that prevents traffic wear to a glossy sealer or creates a thin film on a non-absorbent surface.  The product is periodically replenished as it wears. It is far easier to keep this coating refreshed than any sealer. The things that will not make it last as long are:
    • It was applied to an unsealed or absorbent surface because it was not understood that this is not a sealer.
    • It has been periodically cleaned with a machine of some kind.  A machine is not needed.  Just clean as needed with Aldon "Maintain" and "Dust Whiz".
    • Aggressive cleaners were used. Ammonia, acidic liquids, petroleum based, citric based, wax strippers are examples of cleaners that are too aggressive and, in any case, not necessary.

  • Finish is streaky.
    It may have been applied like a wax, instead of a flowing, self-leveling film former. The liquid flows out to form a tough film. Do not paint or rub it on. Follow the directions for application because there is almost no way to create streaks if thin coating of liquid is allowed to flow out, instead of being painted out with the applicator.

    A mop that is too dry could cause streaking. The label recommendation to rinse out lint would automatically take care of that.

    You can try applying more over the top on a test patch to see how that works. If the steaks still show, remove per the label directions. If you do not have the recommended remover product, try an "ammoniated wax stripper" from the supermarket or janitorial supply.

  • The floor is too cold (less than 50 degrees F.) This can keep the film from flowing and forming, resulting in a white patchy residue.

  • The applicator tool may be wrong for the floor type.
    A sponge applicator can be used if you understand that:
    • Pressure on the sponge can create bubbles
    • It can leave puddles in depressions (surface texture or grout joints) and remove film from high points of textured materials like slate.

    A stiff bar type applicator will drag liquid from high points and that defeats the liquid flow out and self leveling features of this product that create its film coating and good bond.

    This is why a string mop works best, plus it drags puddles out of grout joints.

  • The floor is not sealed and is absorbent.
    Test with water drops. This coating product needs a non-absorbent surface so the water is not sucked out of the liquid before it flows to a film.

  • During application, the product beads up and does not form a smooth film on top of an Aldon Sealer (See below if not an Aldon sealer).
    Typically, this is because the floor previously had a wax, a wax type sealer, a fluorochemical type sealer, or oil treatment. Sometimes unknown to the owner. When stripping, you are stripping everything on the surface, but not what is below the surface. Wax type products and sealers will sink into an absorbent surface and still be there after stripping. When the sealer penetrates into the surface, it can displace the wax or sealer, and the wax/sealer ends up on top of the sealer but is not noticable. This is not a problem for the Aldon sealer, but the wax/sealer interferes with the coating product's flowing action and causes beading. Feel the floor and determine if it has a "waxy" or "oily" touch as compared to the test piece. All you need to do is remove the wax with Aldon "Insta-Clean" or an "ammoniated wax stripper" from the supermarket or janitorial supply. "Mineral Spirits" or "Paint thinner" also removes waxes and oils in more extreme situations.

    Note: This same situation can occur when sealing stones (like some slates) with natural oil in the stone. The oils can be displaced by the sealer and rise to the top. This is handled exactly the same as the wax above.

    If this occurs and there is no suspecion of wax or oil, the it can be a fluorochemical type sealer - see the next bullet point item.

  • During application, the product beads up and does not form a smooth film on a sealer from another manufacturer that might be a fluorochemical type .
    There is at least one type of sealer formulation (not Aldon's) that makes coatings bead up and run off. If you encounter this situation one way to overcome it is to lightly rub the sealer surface with #0000 steel wool . This is a very fine steel wool available at paint and hardware stores. It should not dull the gloss and the floor then should accept the product's coating film.

  • The floor has a contaminant on it.
    A cleaner that leaves an oily type residue can interfere with the spread and flow of this kind of film forming product. Cleaning may have occurred without your knowledge by painters, sheet rockers, cleaning help, etc. Thoroughly remove residue before re applying the product.

  • "Fuzz" in the finish.
    An old mop can leave fibers in the finish. So can a new mop unless it is thoroughly rinsed out before use.

  • Gloss "dulled" (or cracks, peels, etc.) after using a supermarket or janitorial cleaner.
    Some of these cleaners use "terpenes" from pine, lemon, or orange peels as the main active ingredient. Others use "butyl" components. A harsh floor cleaner made for other types of flooring ( wood, vinyl, etc) can prematurely weaken a coating like this product. That is another reason we make "Maintain". However, this coating is easy to touch up if needed.

  • Finish seems to scratch easily?
    No, per the tests above you will see it does not scratch easily. What you might be experiencing is that the coating is on a relatively soft surfacing. The soft surfacing is allowing scratching that would not be occurring on a harder surface. You can make this surface harder with the use of the appropriate Aldon sealer. See this page: Surface Type
    Another potential reason for scratching is the build up of too much sealer solids on the surface in attempting to get a very high gloss. The sealers have to be a little "giving" and not brittle, therefore a heavy application would be a little softer than a less thick application. Then dragging a chair across the surface could result in a scratch that otherwise would not occur. The easiest solution is to just apply the felt pads made for chair or table legs that are found at all hardware stores.

    Note: Like all water based coatings, standing water can weaken the film. This means it can soften with long term (hours) of standing water. When softened, it can scratch off.

  • Removing (stripping) this product:
    Other than a really bad burn or deep scratch, there should never be a reason to remove it. If you do find it necessary to remove all, or a section, as the label states - use Aldon  Insta-Clean. Apply full strength, allow a long dwell time but do not let dry, wipe up with rags. Do not rinse. Repeat if necessary as this is a tough film.

  • Used "Tile Cover" and the film is lifting because of standing water?
      If your project will go beyond normal wet mopping to times of standing water, the "Tile Cover" film is so thin that it might prematurely soften and lift from the surface. In that case, switch to Lifeguard. The thicker film of "Lifeguard" will create some gloss, but is thicker and therefore, more forgiving of standing water issues.

  • Finish was scratched moving furniture or something else unusual.
    Try taking that small section off with Aldon Insta-Clean.  It will break down this finish, but not the underlying sealer. If the sealer is also scratched, see the sealer label for patching information.  Then add back the top coating and let it self-level to a smooth finish.

If this does not answer your situation - something is very different and unusual. You should be able to discover why by looking for the issue in  "Problem Solving"