When it comes to floor care, caution should always be taken to use clean solution and clean mop heads to remove all soils, especially grit from the floor before any buffing or burnishing. Today’s floor finishes do not yellow; rather they become discolored due to incorrect maintenance especially applying finish over a soiled floor or using the wrong chemicals thereby damaging the finish and making it vulnerable to soil and traffic.  

Because the floor is not rinsed or stripped when using this kind of product, dirt builds up very easily.  The dirt becomes trapped in the film so that the floor becomes darker and darker.  One-step cleaners do not produce a finish as durable as regular floor finishes either.  Floors treated with this kind of product have a tendency to become slippery when the residue from the product becomes wet.  This approach leads to the necessity for frequent restorative strip outs.  It should be avoided due to increased labor and supply costs as well as impact on the environment.

The accepted difference between “buffing” and “burnishing” is the speed of the machine being used as well as the type pad.  Abrasive removal of the top, worn layer of the finish film leads to the repair or removal of scuffs and scratches on the floor.  Abrasive processes are, by their nature, processes which generate heat resulting in the finish losing the top layer (which has the soil in it) and producing a reflective gloss.  The heat generated is sufficient to drive off some of the residual coalescing solvents that are used in formulating the floor finish.  This solvent loss results in a harder, tighter floor polish film.  

This same degree of hardness will eventually be attained, but not as rapidly as with high speed burnishing, if the finish is simply allowed to age or cure.  This hardening with high speed burnishing results in a very modest improvement in soil resistance and scuff resistance after burnishing, relative to the un-burnished floor.

It is crucial that floor techs be trained properly in procedures to avoid costly rework that comes out of your bottom line. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome.  I hope to hear from you soon.  Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.