When And How To Buff Your Commercial Floors
Do you want to renew the shine and gloss of your floors? Do you want your room to dazzle from the bottom up?
Buffing your commercial floors can help get rid of scratches and scuffs while renewing the glossy finish of your floors. Your floors will look brand new with each buff.
What is buffing, and how do you maintain a consistent buffing schedule?
What is buffing?
Buffing is like a deep clean for your floor. It “exfoliates” the top layer of the floor to reveal its original glossy beauty and shine. With the right tools, you can buff most floor types, like vinyl, concrete, wood, tile, and laminate.
There are two types of buffing: spray and dry.
Spray buffing uses a liquid to remove dirt from the floor and create a glossy look. It uses the polishing solution along with the mechanical action of the buffer pad to remove scuffs, level the surface, and enhance shine. This is the more common type of buffing, and it’s used with buffing machines that go up to 1000RPM.
Dry buffing is used with machines above 1000RPM. The mechanical action of the high-speed buffer is enough to smooth the finish and remove marks. This is usually recommended for professional floor care experts who know how to handle a buffer. Dry buffing is a great training opportunity for your janitorial team.
How often should you buff floors?
For commercial spaces with high foot traffic, you can buff floors monthly. This will keep your floors looking new and shiny, which your employees and clients will appreciate. The more often you buff, the better the floor will look.
Moreover, buffing helps maintain the longevity of the floor. Consistent buffing removes a buildup of gunk, debris, and scratches, which wear down your floor over time. Buffing can extend the lifespan of your floor, which helps save a significant cost over time.
In low traffic areas, you can buff every two or three months. We recommend creating a regular schedule of buffing to ensure your floors are always taken care of appropriately.
How do you choose the type of buffer?
There are three pieces of equipment you’ll need for buffing: the machine, the pad, and the spray liquid.
First, choose the machine that will work best with your space, flooring, and budget. If you’re looking for a handheld buffer for smaller spaces, we recommend the Bissell Easy Motion Floor Machine With Pad Holder. If you want a heavy-duty buffer for larger commercial spaces and easy maintenance, try the Onfloor DuraShine Pro Series 20. If you want something in between, try the Onfloor16S-H.
Then, choose the buffing pad based on the type and speed of the machine. You’ll want to consider the fiber type and structure of the pad as well. Look at Floorcare’s “frequently bought together” to find the right pads, parts, and spray liquid for your buffer machine.
Choosing the wrong pad can damage your floors. Bad pads can cause you to remove too much finish, “powdering” the surface. The pad can clog, which lowers productivity and causes faster wear-out (which means a greater expense of equipment). Moreover, using the wrong pad can scratch the floors and create an unsatisfactory appearance.
How do you buff the floors?
- Prepare the area.
Before you start working, corner off the area with wet floor signs and appropriate roping. You don’t want any foot traffic while buffing, as this can be a health and safety hazard.
You should also move all obstacles that could get in the way of buffing. Buffers are high-speed machines, so you’ll want to be careful about avoiding contact with furniture or walls.
- Clean the floors.
A few hours before buffing, you should thoroughly clean the floor to remove any gunk or debris. Any dirt left on the floor when you use the burnisher or buffer can be ground into the finish of the floor. This can cause the floor to turn yellow or gray over time, which you can’t fix without stripping the floors.
Scrub the floors thoroughly for a deep clean. Try the Mastercraft Scrubby 2-in-1. It’s a battery-powered, portable, hand-held scrubber and polisher that’s great for pre-buffing and daily maintenance.
After scrubbing, rinse with fresh, clean water. You’ll want to scrub the floors a few hours before buffing to leave adequate time to dry. Use a fan for faster dry times.
Immediately before you buff, you should dust mop the floor to pickup any additional dirt and soil. Check out the Fas-Trak Flop Mop Hi-Performance Folding Dust Mop System, which will quickly and easily trap the dirt from your floors so you can start buffing in minutes.
- Spray on the buffing solution.
If you’ll be using a spray buff technique with a buffer under 1000 RPM, you’ll need to apply the solution to the floor. Some people will use a mop to apply the solution, but we recommend applying with a professional spraying applicator. This makes sure that the solution is applied evenly and lightly.
Try the Fas-Trak Ultra-Spray Automated Spray System and Tool Kit, which is great for beginner and professional sprayers alike. It has an ergonomic design that’s great for an uniform application of any sort of solution.
You don’t want to spray in a solid stream directly on the floor or in a single area. This can lead to buildup that can damage your floors. A spray applicator creates a light mist that is easily spread throughout the floor. We recommend spraying in a back and forth motion in sections of about 2 feet long and a half a foot wide.
The first application of spray evenly spreads the solution on the floor for a clean look. After buffing the first application of spray, you can go through a second application for a glossier finish.
- Buff the floors.
With your buffer machine, move across the floor in sections of about 3 feet by 3 feet. As you buff, rotate the machine side to side in a pendulum-like motion. If you dip the handle down, the machine will move left; if you raise the handle, it will go right. For best control, the handle of the machine should rest slightly above the belt line. Hold the cord over your shoulder for additional control. Keep your body perpendicular to the machine for ease. You’ll also want to work backwards so you’re not walking on newly buffed floors, which can be slippery.
If there are scuff marks, you can linger the buffer over that area for a slightly longer period of time. You may need to buff stubborn marks away by hand later using a handheld pad.
Always buff with a clean pad for best results. When buffing, check the pad often. If the pad gets clogged with buffing solution, debris, or old wax, it won’t polish the floor well. You might be using too much spray solution if product is continuously building up on the pad. Clean the pad or change pads if they get clogged.
- Dry buff the floors.
After buffing once or twice with the spray solution, you’ll want to dry buff the area without applying any spray. This will help remove any excess spray to create a shiny, not tacky, finish.
Again, move the buffer as you did with the spray buff, gently moving back and forth in a pendulum motion. Dwell on scuff marks slightly longer. Be sure not to move the machine too fast; allow adequate buffing time.
- Apply a finish.
Buffing results in glossy—and slippery—floors. In some cases, you’ll want to apply a finish on top to make sure that the floor is slip-resistant and safe. You won’t need a finish every time you buff, but reapplying every few months can keep the floor safe and attractive.
Try the eco-friendly Focus ZF Sinc-Free Seal & Finish for a deep wet look finish. For easy application, check out the Fas-Trak Micro-Trak Detail Finish Mop with spray applicator and pivoted head design.
- Clean all materials.
After use, you should always clean materials thoroughly. This includes the machine, pads, mops, buckets, and spray bottles. You don’t want any buffing solution sitting on equipment and potentially growing bacteria.
Did you know that the cutout in the center of the floor pad is there to help you clean the pad? Remove the cutout, and rub it on the pad to remove any debris. Then, rinse the pad in a sink full of warm water to break loose any additional gunk. Set the pads upright to dry.
The Bottom Line
Buffing will add a like-new shine to your floors that everyone in the building will love. With monthly upkeep, you can maintain the look and life of floors for years to come.
Want to build a buffer set of tools and equipment for your business within your budget?