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What Is The Difference Between Buffing And Polishing A Floor?


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No matter what type of flooring your company has, be it marble, concrete, tile, laminate, or terrazzo, bright floors make an excellent impression on your tenants, visitors, customers, or employees. 

Maintaining that shine can be difficult as commercial flooring is subjected to heavy traffic, unlike residential floors. If you don’t take good care of these types of floors, they can experience damage, lose their luster, and negatively impact your business. You can, however, employ cleaning services, even specialized terrazzo commercial cleaning services, to keep your bright floors beautiful and prolong their longevity.

Certain types of floors, such as terrazzo, require special care. Only a professional cleaning crew has the necessary supplies, equipment, and experience to restore it to its former glory. But what exactly is the difference between buffing and polishing a floor? Let’s find out!



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What Is Buffing?

Buffing is the deep-cleaning process of using a brush or a polishing pad to clean the floor. The brush or pad is attached to a device called a buffer. This buffer device rotates the brush or the pad at high speed, helping deep clean the floor. The rotation speed is between 175 and 30 RPM (revolutions per minute), depending on the type of buffer used — spray or dry.

You can do this buffing process by hand, using a brush or pad to buff your floor, but due to practical reasons, it is mainly used with a machine. The buffing technique is usually performed on hard floors such as stone, tile, and concrete. 

You may apply this technique on wooden floors, but it is rare. Hiring a professional floor cleaning service to buff your floors safely and efficiently will ensure you get rid of those scuffs or dirt marks. However, you will require polishing if you want to attain that ultra-glossy look for your floor.

To operate the buffer, you must move it from one side to another in a sweeping motion because you cannot move it vertically. These side-to-side movements eliminate the floor’s upper layer, removing the floor’s scratches, stubborn stains, and imperfections. This process will also freshen up your floor by giving it a subtle shine. Spray buffing uses liquids to eliminate scuffs and dirt. At the same time, a dry buff machine is several times faster and is used to smooth the floor, removing possible scuffs. 

Depending on your needs, a cleaning firm will use all the necessary equipment to make your floors shine again.

 

What Is Polishing?

Polishing — also known as burnishing — is used for the treatment procedure for floors, particularly those in industrial settings such as factories, warehouses, and others. Polishing is usually done after the buffing procedure for the floor to have a nice shiny finish.

The burnishers are heavy in size, have a higher pressure, and run at higher speeds between 1500-3000 RPM. Their operation is simple — driving straight, covering larger areas in less time. 

You can find different types of burnishers in categories based on the scale of cleaning you need. They come with many attachments, including multiple brushes, for extra efficiency. Cleaning firms often have the best burnisher machines and know exactly which ones to use based on your floor type, size, and the issues they must face.

Overall, their efficiency is based on larger areas to get your floor to the gloss you desire in less time. The polishing procedure keeps the floor cleaner for extended periods and minimizes dirt damage. Also, they close the floor’s pores, tightening them to repel water, soil, and dust. 

 

The Difference Between Buffing and Polishing

Buffing and polishing are processes that complement each other and make your floors shine. Extensive facilities use both methods because you want to achieve that maximum glossiness and protection that will not wear off that easily on high-traffic floors.

Buffers are versatile in their way of use. These low-speed machines are used on any type of flooring, commonly used primarily on stone, tile, and concrete. Buffers are used on floors from side to side. They clean the floors by giving them a deep scrub to remove any dirt, leaving them with a subtle shine. 

Burnishers, on the other hand, can restore the floor’s luster. They are large-scale machines designed for polishing and protecting larger facilities’ floors in a short period. To make a comparison, a buffer can take more than 24 hours to finish a 10,000-square-foot floor, and a burnisher can finish the job in about five hours. 

 

Benefits of Buffing and Polishing Floors

Knowing the proper ways to clean your facility’s hard floors will save your company money on labor and protect your employees from slip-and-fall accidents that may happen during work. Cleaning teams use high-quality products and advanced equipment for deep cleaning, and they will know exactly how to tackle any issue.

Your facility’s cleaning routine should include these two machines because appearances do matter, especially in business. In some cases, if you only want to strip the floor, you can use just the buffer machine.

However, if you want to achieve that luxurious shine and restore your floor’s luster, then you will need a burnisher. Abrasive grit is another distinction between buffing and polishing. Polishing requires a high-grit abrasive while buffing needs a low- or medium-grit abrasive. Routine cleaning is essential when it comes to flooring.

 

Contact a Cleaning Firm Today

Knowing how to operate a floor buffing or polishing machine requires a lot of practice. These types of services require the skill and experience of trained professionals. Consider contacting a cleaning firm if you want to restore your floors to their former brightness. 



A cleaning firm knows exactly how to take care of any floor type, which will ensure its durability. Both buffing and polishing can be used to treat your marble, terrazzo, laminate, tile, stone, or concrete floors. To learn more about these processes and how they can benefit your flooring, contact a professional cleaning firm today!