Part three of this three-part article examines the role of brushes in floor care.

Pads are the overwhelming first choice of most building service contractors for floor care, but brushes are still used in the industry. For most distributors, pads are nine times better sellers than brushes.

However, there are brushes to replace almost every type of pad on the market, so the choice between the two tools is sometimes simply a matter of personal preference. There are a few reasons, however, that contractors may want to use brushes.

A brush will last 100 times longer than a floor pad, at minimum, or as much as 300 times, says Terry Kukla, director of sales for distribution for The Malish Corporation, Willoughby, Ohio.

“Brushes are structurally sound and difficult to damage,” he says. “It’s like putting very good tires on your car versus very cheap ones.”

Although a brush may cost $200 and a pad only $10, the brush will be significantly less expensive on a cost-per-use comparison.

Also, nothing gets into the grooves of a grouted tile floor better than a brush. Although most floor pads will disintegrate on very rough or uneven floors, the vertical fibers of a brush are perfectly matched to those surfaces.

For BSCs with unsupervised crews, brushes can protect their investment in expensive machinery.

“If a pad rips and doesn’t get changed, it can cause damage,” says Kukla. “Brushes are very simple and uncomplicated, which is good when turnover and training are issues.”

Most often, contractors choose pads because of the lower upfront costs, says Kukla. Brushes are most popular among BSCs who work on a lot of grouted or gritty floors, or those who are cleaning very large facilities like grocery stores or airports, where they don’t want to constantly change a pad and where the machine sits all day at that location and has only one job.

“The ones who come in once every two weeks to scrub a floor will just throw a pad on,” says Kukla.

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.