When choosing the right floor pad, building service contractors can first turn to the industry-standard color-coding system. As pads move from least coarse to most aggressive, they will get darker in color, from pink, white and beige to red, blue, green and black. But color is only one consideration when choosing a pad. BSCs also need to pick the proper composition type: either synthetic or natural fibers.

Synthetics such as nylon and polyester create softer pads, best used at low speeds for scrubbing or stripping with wet solutions. They can be used for burnishing applications, but they will take longer than natural fiber pads to remove black marks and scratches and give the floor its proper gloss. Synthetic pads can be manipulated to act like other fibers. For example, to act like heavy hair, the manufacturer can change fiber deniers and latex binders to make the pad heavier.

Composed of very fine fibers, microfiber pads are growing in popularity and are useful for daily cleaning and burnishing jobs. When burnishing, the microfiber absorbs the created dust, which helps improve indoor air quality. The pads can also absorb up to seven times their weight in soil and water.

Natural fiber pads use hog hair, coconut, walnut and other natural materials to create coarser, more aggressive pads. Natural fiber pads are best used for ultra high-speed burnishing jobs because they are so aggressive. These machines run at 1,000 to 3,000 rpm and apply more heat and pressure to the floor to remove wax. Hog bristle works best because it is hollow, which allows it to heat up and cool down easily. Heavy hair is able to generate a lot of heat, allowing BSCs to burnish hard waxes efficiently. However, users should be aware that high-hair content can create a burning hair odor when used with high-speed applications.

Since natural fiber pads use organic and biodegradable materials, such as hair, some view these products as “green,” but this is a controversial claim due to the processes involved to acquire the materials.

When choosing the proper pad, take into account both its color and composition to ensure the right amount of aggressiveness for the flooring application.

Excerpted from the November 2008 issue of Sanitary Maintenance.

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