- Floor polishing in professional terms means using a very high speed machine (burnisher) to remove some of the finish layer & give a high gloss. On wood floors this is called floor screening.
- Floor buffing in professional terms means using a slower speed machine called a buffing machine to coat & shine the floor with a buffing solution, this is the most common method for shining floors in the flooring industry.
- Floor polishing & floor buffing with machines is for hardwood, tile, marble, stone, concrete, VCT & linoleum, not for vinyl, luxury vinyl or laminate which can be damaged by machines.
- Sanding & refinishing uses a sanding machine to remove the top layer of wood floors & expose new wood which can be stained & finished with urethane or instead can be waxed.
- Waxing (Strip & Wax) is another way to seal & shine a floor – it’s most commonly done on VCT but is also used for unglazed floor tiles like terracotta & wood floors that aren’t urethane finished. Existing layers of wax sometimes need to be stripped if it’s causing the floor to look dull.
- Concrete Polishing is done with a machine for concrete which grinds the concrete to a smooth, shiny finish. Concrete buffing is done routinely to keep the polished concrete shiny.
Floor Polishing & Buffing Machines
Professionals use machines for more reliable results. Floor polishing & buffing machines are used more often on commercial floors which are larger areas with higher traffic that need buffing or polishing more frequently. Commercial floors may need to be repolished or waxed every one to three months to keep them shiny.
Floor Polishing Methods for All Floor Types
Bamboo: Comes factory finished which generally lasts many years & keeps shine. The main recommendation is to use an appropriate floor cleaner regularly. Machines are not usually used on bamboo.
Cork: Like wood, either polyurethane finish or wax is used to seal, protect & give a cork floor shine. As such they can be machine sanded & refinished with polyurethane (urethane finish is completely removed & reapplied), screened to restore a urethane finish (urethane finish is just slightly sanded then buffed), polished with a wood floor polishing product or buffing machine (if finished with polyurethane), or waxed by hand or with machine (if without polyurethane).
Concrete: Concrete floors are ground & polished with machines, sealers & a variety of pads from coarse to fine until achieving a mirror like finish. Once a concrete floor is polished it can last a lifetime & maintenance buffing with a hair pad to maximize the shine is done about twice a year.
Engineered wood: comes with acrylic factory finish which is only recommended to damp mop & use a cleaner recommended for engineered wood. Engineered wood flooring is a thin veneer of hardwood attached to a backing. So it cannot be sanded & refinished like hardwood can many times, but possibly once or twice. A machine buffer may be used carefully, and wood polishing products applied with a flathead mop can be used such as Bona Hardwood Floor Polish.
Laminate: Has acrylic factory finish & machines are not used on laminate. If the wear layer is removed by a machine then the design layer could be ruined. The main recommendation for laminate is to clean it regularly with spray laminate floor cleaner & a microfiber pad/ lint free mop.
Linoleum: Machine buffing or polishing with a polishing product for linoleum can be done on linoleum after being cleaned with a linoleum floor cleaner.
Marble: May be machine buffed or polished with polishing product for marble. For machine polishing marble is first cleaned with pH neutral cleaner then sanded and polished with a microfiber pad & powder.
Stone Tile: Stone may be polished with a buffing machine or by hand with a flathead mop & floor polishing product for stone. Use a cleaner & sealer product for stone.
Tile (ceramic & porcelain): Tile is usually glazed or else sealed with wax. Machines can be used on tile or polished by hand with a product like Bona Hard Surface Floor Polish for non wax sealed tile like ceramic, Mexican & Quarry tile.
Vinyl: buffing machines are not used on vinyl as they can cause damage. Polish vinyl & luxury vinyl with a product like Bona Hard Surface Floor Polish or Quick shine. Liquid acrylic finish applied with a mop is another option to restore vinyl finish.
Wood: wood floors can be machine sanded & refinished, screened with a machine, buffed with a machine or polished by hand with a polishing product for wood & flathead mop. Sanding & refinishing is an intensive process of completely removing the finish & top layer of wood to expose a new fresh layer of untreated wood, which can then be stained & finished with polyurethane, or just stained & waxed. It removes deeper scratches than screening or buffing. Screening is done using a machine to slightly sand down & buff the polyurethane without completely removing it. It can remove scratches & scuffs which which don’t go into the wood & restore shine to the top layer of finish. Machine buffing is done using a buffing solution to fill in nicks & scratches in the polyurethane & shine it. Wood floors which are not urethane finished should be waxed regularly (6-18 months).
Floor care and maintenance requires expensive equipment & expertise that makes it a job much better left for professional cleaners. KD Janitorial Services is a clean and janitor company serving Oakland, Sacramento, Tracy and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Call to schedule a free visit and a free estimate.