Regardless of whether a cleaning department chooses budget or premium pads, distributors urge facilities to take proper care of their floor care products and match the pad to the task. This will prevent damage and address safety concerns.

“I’ve seen instances where using the wrong pad to abrade a wood floor has led to improper abrasion, thus leading to peeling,” says Allen. “Make sure you line up the proper pad for the job you’re doing.”

According to Griffin, the problem isn’t using the wrong pad; it’s using the pad wrong.
“Proper use and understanding of how these pads work — and proper training — is a critical factor and has far more to do with the pad’s success than the cost of the pad,” he says.

An improperly used pad could also cause wear and tear on the floor machine — as could a budget pad, even when it’s the right pad for the job.

“When you use a less expensive pad, you’ve got to run the machine more and use more product, because the abrasiveness of a budget pad isn’t the same as a premium pad,” explains Harris. “This puts more hours on the machine.”

Ultimately, it is more likely to be the condition of the pad and not the quality of the pad that can have a negative impact on the floor’s safety and appearance. McGarvey has a collection of used floor pads in his training room that exemplify poor pad care.

“The pads are in deplorable condition — and most of them came off a machine that was in operation,” he says. “They should have been replaced long before I came across them.”

While proper pad care is clear-cut, the choice between premium and budget often is not. Facilities may have periods of trial and error while they hone in on the best pad for their floor care needs.

“It’s all in how you wish to balance effectiveness and budget,” says Allen. “It’s up to us as reps to help the customer get to a place where they can best determine that.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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How Floor Pads Convert To Labor Dollars