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Floor buffers: How to get the best results

Floor buffers: How to get the best results

Date posted: 12 August 2013

Floor buffers or scrubbers offer the quickest and easiest way of cleaning hard floor surfaces, producing superb results. Just one pass will leave floors clean, shiny, and ready to walk on within minutes – but if the machines are not handled properly, over time they can cause expensive damage to your floors.

Here we identify some of the potential pitfalls to be aware of when you are using a floor buffer – as well as offering a few practical tips to help you avoid them.

What are floor buffers used for?

  • Floor buffers, or hard floor cleaners, are fitted with a big, round scrubbing pad that spins in a circle in one direction to shift dirt and dust from non-carpeted floors such as hardwood, marble, tile or linoleum.
  • The smaller models of these machines look quite similar to an upright vacuum cleaner, but they are generally heavier.

What are the potential problems to be aware of when using a floor buffer?

  • The smaller machines weigh in at around 40kg, which may not sound too heavy, but bear in mind that, once you start using the machine, its force is generated from a combination of the machine's weight, and the friction that is created by the rotation of the pad or brush. If the pad or brush is too abrasive, a lot of heat is generated as it spins against the floor – and this could permanently change or damage the floor surface material.
  • Floor buffers can also cause wear over time with repeated use. No damage at all may be noticeable at first, but it usually shows up gradually, over time. Always avoid letting the pads get too dry, or they could seriously damage your floor, and change them frequently so that they don't become over-saturated with dirt and debris – otherwise the machine will be ineffective.
  • Over-use can also significantly alter the floor's slip rating, creating potential health and safety issues. Polymer-based flooring such as vinyl, rubber, and EPDM contains minute surface ridges which provide essential slip resistance, but floor buffers will gradually wear away these ridges, leaving a far slippier surface.
  • In some cases, you can apply a floor coating or polish to offer a layer of protection for your flooring each time you use the machine. However, once again, this will alter the original slip resistance rating of the floor itself, which could be hazardous in many environments
  • If you are cleaning a very smooth floor surface, such as one covered in metal or paint, be aware that they are particularly prone to surface damage as a result of the pressure and abrasiveness of floor buffers. Once the damage has been done, creating lots of very fine radial lines within the floor material, the only solution is to re-paint the floor or invest in specialist polishing.

In short...

Floor buffers are an incredibly handy bit of cleaning kit, and when they are well-maintained, and used correctly and sparingly, they produce excellent results. To get the best out of your floor buffer, work from the outside of the room inwards: starting at the outer edges of the area you are cleaning, and working towards the centre. If possible, use a polish that will offer an additional layer of protection for your floor – but remember that this may change its slip resistance rating.

>> View Floor Polishers & Scrubbers

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How to hire?

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