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Floor Restoration, Buffing, and Burnishing

Select products for restoration that are water-based or low in VOCs (see Products Section and Appendices). Consult the finish manufacturer or janitorial supplier for product and procedural assistance. When applying the restorer from a spray bottle, use a stream or coarse spray. Do not use a fine mist as this increases the potential for fine particles to enter the breathing zone and to over-spray walls, furniture, carpets, and other objects.

Some floors do not require a separate finish applied by the owner or cleaning service. Check with your supplier to determine the maintenance requirements of the type of floor you have. Do not apply finish to a surface not intended for it.

Many options in finishes are available. Some newer coatings require very little maintenance. However, the cleaning and restoration process is a huge factor in the longevity of most coatings.

To maximise the life of finishes and floors, make sure there is a solid foundation of water-based finish (as applicable) on the floor. Dry buffing and burnishing is slightly abrasive and increases the appearance level by removing thin layers of finish to smooth out the surface—the smoother the surface, the shinier its appearance. However, if too much floor finish is removed, dry buffing and burnishing can damage floor tile and send flooring particles into the air, which may be harmful if inhaled. Important: Dry buffing on the asbestos tile should only be performed when there is an adequate coat of intact floor finish to prevent abrading the floor itself. Non-bluffable coatings (those that shine to a certain degree without buffing) may be a better choice for asbestos-containing tile.

Match the appropriate pad to the equipment and floor finish. Especially when using high-speed burnishers, it is important to use vacuum attachments to minimise particles in the air. If machine floor or pad pressure is adjustable, set the level to achieve appearance goals while minimising the amount of finish removed from the floor.

See Products Section and Appendices for more information about:

  • Floor finishes
  • Floor strippers
  • Wood floor finishes
  • Janitorial equipment
  • Action Items

Action Items

  • Make sure adequate finish is on the floor. Determine if it is time for a scrubbing and recoating. Consult the finish manufacturer or janitorial supplier for procedural assistance.
  • Select the appropriate restoration product. Water-based or low-VOC products are recommended (see Products Section and Appendices). Consult the finish manufacturer or janitorial supplier for assistance.
  • Select appropriate equipment (see Products Section and Appendices). If burnishing, use a vacuum attachment to prevent particles from becoming airborne where they can be inhaled. Use recommended buffing/burnishing pads (overly aggressive pads will abrade the finish and create more dust).

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