How to Use a Floor Buffer: Buff and Scrub for Best Results

While not a household item, floor buffers are extremely popular to give your floor its old beauty back. 

Most people don’t know what floor buffing is while others confuse it with floor polishing. No worries as in this article we will answer how to use a floor buffer and what the main difference between buffing and polishing really is.

Floor buffing is used to remove tough stains and dirt from the floor that won’t be removed in any other way. These are mostly used on non-carpeted flooring and especially concrete floors. 

Larger public places such as schools and auditoriums often have concrete floors. Not only are these floors extremely durable, but there is also a texture so nobody slips on them. 

The downside of a textured floor is, dirt tends to stick around. When the dirt has been accumulating for years, you need something like a floor buffer to get rid of it. 

How to Use a Floor Buffer

how to use a floor buffer

To use a floor buffer, you need a few tools to do the task properly. Here’s our easy guide to cleaning a floor with floor buffers. 

Things You’ll Need:

  • High-Speed Floor Buffer
  • Buffing Floor Pads
  • Buffing Solution
  • Polishing Cream 
  • Vacuum Cleaner 

Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to use a floor buffer:

01. Selecting a Floor Pad:

The first thing to do before you get into floor buffing is to examine your floor and select the right floor pad. 

Different types of floor finish require a different floor pad for buffing. There is a wide range of floor pads from soft to highly aggressive. As buffers are used to clean, scrub and polish your floor, the higher the texture the aggressive the pad needs to be. 

02. Installing the Floor Pad:

Before you start working on the room, make sure to check whether your floor pad actually is compatible with your buffer machine. Install the floor pad by unplugging it first. 

Then lock the buffer machine handle in place. Tilt the machine sideways and center the pad on the pad driver. After that, you have to install it. 

If you don’t do this part properly, your machine might feel wobbly. If it moves or vibrates in an unnatural manner, unplug it and install the [apd correctly. 

A wobbly machine can damage the floor or scratch it severely. This happens due to the uneven weight distribution. So make sure to do this part right. 

03. Locking the Handlebar:

This is important. You need to unlock the handlebar then adjust the height according to your height preference and then lock it in place. This helps to make sure the pressure level will be even all over the floor.

Adjust the height based on where your leg bends at the hip. If the handle is somehow higher or lower than the ideal level, you will feel back pain and it will be difficult to control the machine. 

04. Clear the Room:

Now that your floor buffer is ready for some action, it’s time to prepare the room. Empty the room and remove all furniture and floor rugs. 

Clean the floor the best way possible using a vacuum cleaner and then a mop. The buffer is going to remove dirt and stains but it’s better to give it an empty space to give its maximum performance. 

Wondering what’s a good vacuum cleaner to buy? Read our review of the Dyson V6 Slim

If you remove most of the surface-level dirt from the room, the floor buffer will have more freedom to go deep into the concrete and remove tough stains. So it’s much more energy-efficient to give a light cleaning before using the floor buffer.

05. Pick the Back Corner:

It might feel a  bit overwhelming to start a room. To make the task easier and more palatable, start from the back corner of the room and come slowly to the front. 

If you do it the other way around, you have to walk all over the room and spend more time. 

Back to front method also helps to not step on the freshly buffed floor. There should be an electric outlet close to the machine, preferably in the room. This eliminates the hassle of working with too many chords. 

06. Apply Buffing Solution:

You need to apply your preferred buffing solution to the floor. This helps the machine to glide down smoother and not scratch the floor in any way. This solution also helps to remove tough stains and grimes that have been building up for years.

There are many different brands of buffing solutions. We like the Lundmark Floor Maintenance Spray Buff Compound for its efficient performance. 

07. Turn It On:

Now that we have done all the prep work for this, it’s time to actually get on with the floor buffer. To use your floor buffer, find the “on” switch and turn it on, this button is right beside the control panel so you won’t have to look for it too hard.

Usually, floor buffers come in multiple buffing settings that help you to pick whichever one is appropriate. Certain floors require a certain amount of force.

So choose a setting that removes the dirt from your floor the seat way. If your floor is textured, you can pick a higher setting. Smoother floors usually require less effort to clean.

08. Side-to-Side Motion:

When you are trying to buff your floor, use a side-to-side motion instead of a back and forth one. It’s ideal to start from the right and slowly go to the left and then come back. This helps to smoothen the floor and not cause any scratching. 

The fact the floor buffers are locked in place, you can not move them freely all around. So using this side-to-side motion comes in handy and makes the task easier to do.

You can overlap 1//3 of each row to make sure not a single spot is missed in the process. 

09. Check the Pad:

While you are buffing your floor, take small intervals to make sure the pad is not too dirty. You might need to replace your pad 2-3 times depending on how much work needs to be done on the floor.

If your room is very dirty, the pad might become excessively grimy and unable to use. So replace the pads when this happens.  

Buffing vs. Polishing: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people tend to confuse floor buffing with floor polishing. Even though the procedure for both look similar, each has its own functions and goals. 

Floor buffing is done by using a floor buffer with rotating pads. These pads help to remove any tough stains or dirt from the floor. If your house has a concrete floor, you might consider doing this once. 

Most old houses have really dark stained floors that have lost their colors throughout the years due to heavy layers of dirt on them. The only way to remove this dirt is by using a floor buffer. You’ll be surprised to see the transformation. 

Floor buffered are also used for the patio or outdoor flooring to remove molds and fungus. These types of fungus are born from constant exposure to moisture and humidity.

They can be almost impossible to remove by hand. This is where the floor buffer comes into the frame. 

Floor polishing on the other hand is exactly how it sounds. Floor polishing basically takes the top layer of your floor to make it feel smoother and shinier

While the floor buffer brings out the real look of your floor, floor polishing changes how it looks altogether. It also evens out the floor and adds a subtle shine to it. 

Floor polishing is a great way to make your flooring look more expensive and sleek. It’s a one-time thing which means you only have to smoothen your floor once and it stays that way as long as the floor exists. 

How to Choose the Right Floor Buffer

floor buffer on hardwood floors

If you want your floor buffer to do an effective job, choosing the right buffer is the most important task. If you accidentally pick the wrong one, the whole thing can go upside down with no way of recovering. 

Here’s how to pick the right floor buffer:

  • The size of the brush or floor pad should be the first thing to look into. If you are planning to off a large surface, pick a buffer that is compatible with larger buffing pads. For smaller areas, a larger machine wouldn’t be as useful.

    The sizes vary from 13-20 inches. If you are unsure of which one to go for, pick sizes 17-18 as they are the most common size for floor buffers. The Microtron Pads come in a great 20” size in red. 
  • Make sure to check the horsepower of the machine. For larger areas, you need higher horsepower. Lower horsepower is not ideal to use on highly textured floors.

    Smaller household machines usually have less than 1 horsepower which is not ideal for commercial buffing. A high-torque motor can handle a lot and they last much longer if you get your money’s worth.
  • The speed of the floor buffer is another thing to check. You don’t want something too slow as it won’t be able to clean the surfaces as deeply as you’d want.

    The RPM is very important for a highly efficient floor buffing machine. Most floor buffers come with an RPM of 170-200. Some even go as high as 300 RPM. pick one that suits your needs the most. 

Frequently Asked Questions

01. How Does a Floor Buffer Work?

A food buffer uses low-speed rotation to gently remove the outer layer of dust, grimes, and stains from any source. It is also famously known as a swing machine.

The mane comes from its side-to-side cleaning motion. As these machines can spin around 150 RPMS per minute, they can be extremely powerful at removing tough stains from any type of floor surface. 

Buffer machines are great at scrubbing concrete floors. As concrete floors are porous, they gather a lot of dust.

If it’s an old house, the dust can be so thick that the actual color of the floor can hide beneath it. Floor buffer uses circular rotation motion to gently bring out the impurities from all the hidden pores of the floor. 

02. How Can I Buff My Floor without a Machine?

If you don’t have a floor buffer but still want to buff your floor, keep in mind that it’s going to be a time-consuming john. You will need some serious elbow grease for this. 

First, you have to vacuum the entire floor and mop it properly to remove any surface-level dust and dirt. 

Then use a soft buffing pad or a buffing brush to gently buff the surface with your hands. Use a circular motion and go slowly to cover the whole area. It will take some time to buff the whole floor so be patient. 

You can find buffing brushes or pads from any local hardware store. You can also buy them on amazon for easy access. 

03. How Often Should Floors Be Buffed?

If you have access to a floor buffer at home, it is ideal to buff the floors at least three times per year. But if you can’t do that, try buffing the floors once every six months to keep them hygienic and super clean. 

Buffing not only removes gunk from the floor surface but also adds a lot of shine to it. So your floor looks polished and sleek. We think creating a regular cleaning schedule is a smart idea. 

04. What Color Pad Do You Use to Buff Floors?

There are many different colors of buffing pads out there and each has a specific purpose. If you are trying to shine your floors to remove stains, heel marks, and dark scuffs, using a floor buffer is an excellent idea.

Orange, white and red are the three most common colors to use on floors. Orange buffing pads are great at removing light to moderate stains, scratches, and oxidation. 

White pads are good for restoring the shine and gloss of the floor. This is great if your floors do not have a lot of visible stains. Red is a super soft pad that is great for spreading wax and other glazes. 

05. What is the Best Way to Apply a Floor Wax?

Ideally, you are supposed to apply floor wax right after buffing the floors. wax can not be applied on unclean, unbuffed dirty surfaces. To apply wax, first, you have to dampen a mop head.

Make sure the mop is super clean. Then pour the polish into the mop and directly on the floor. 

Use the mop to spread the polish all around. Do this carefully to avoid any bubbles. Spread the wax evenly and let it properly dry. After it’s dry, use an electric polisher to buff the floor. You can use a clean towel to do this step too. 

06. How Do You Buff a Wooden Floor?

Wooden floors are quite delicate so you can use your hands to buff them. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle, just rent a buffing machine and follow our usual instructions to buff your wooden floor.

Make sure to not use a super abrasive pad as it can damage or scratch your wood. Take your time with the buffing machine and make sure the wax reaches all the crevices properly. 

Final Thoughts  

Now that you have a clear idea of how to use a floor buffer, hopefully, you’ll be able to use it to the best potential. Floor buffing can totally change the way your floor looks and feels. It makes the floor super clean and shiny. 

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section down below.

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