There’s nothing more satisfying than running across spotless floors in your socks and slipping all over the place. Achieving the sleek surface of hotels and malls is possible by hand but much, much easier with a floor buffer.
Do I need a Floor Buffer?
There are some who believe that the investment cost of floor buffers can only be justified for use in commercial settings. To these nay-sayers, we say nay, that is far from the truth. Floor buffers come in a wide range of sizes, and many modern floor buffer units are small enough to be used at home without overkill. So, whether you need a floor buffer for use in hotels, hospitals, or at home or in an apartment, there are floor buffers for everyone.
Advantages of a Floor Buffer
There are several reasons why every homeowner who’s struggling with maintaining spotless floors should rely on a floor buffer to do the dirty work for them.
The first advantage of owning and using a floor buffer is the reduced cleaning time it offers. Manually buffing a floor with a non-mechanical floor buffer and good only elbow grease will take you centuries, and you won’t have enough time to marvel over your sleek, spotless floors before it gets dirtied up again.
Modern buffers don’t just utilize speed to get the job done, but they’re also much more effective at making floors glossier. Higher buffing speeds won’t do much to leave a reflective finish, which is what makes models with a variable speed feature the go-to tool in hotels, hospitals, and other establishments.
Better for Sensitive Floor Types
Most, if not all, modern floor buffers come with or are compatible with a wide range of different types of cleaning pads. This helps in ensuring that the buffing process on all types of floors – from wood to marble – is done with extreme caution. After all, there’s no point in buffing your floors if it’ll leave unsightly scratch marks.
And one of the largest yet often overlooked benefits of floor buffers is their practically whisper-quiet operation. Newer models will not waken the dead with their loud, obnoxious humming. In hospitals and hotels which are open all day and night and where cleaning is often done in the evening to avoid bumping into guests, this is a definite plus. Also, a loud floor buffer may be as much of a nuisance to sleeping children or pets, and a quiet floor buffer can help you get the job done without disturbing everybody in your household.
Floor Buffer Buying Guides
Now that we understand how certain places could benefit from having a mechanical floor buffer, we’d like to go over the various specs and features that shoppers should pay close attention to before picking a unit up. This buying guide will be split into three different categories based on the type of floors you’re dealing with – hardwood, stone, and marble.
Floor Buffer for the Hardwood Floor Buying Guide
Hardwood floors are probably the most basic of floor types that a mechanical buffer works exceedingly well on. In the following guide, we’ll discuss what makes a floor buffer ideal for hardwood floors.
The speed of the buffing pad plays a huge role in how well the tool will leave a reflective surface in its wake. We’d recommend finding a tool that delivers at least 150 RPM for buffing and removing scratches. For polishing hardwood floors and with the appropriate buffing pad in place, you can crank the tool up to 500 RPM or more.
The clearing path refers to the width of the floor buffer and how much of the floor it touches with each pass. For larger rooms with wide floors, a floor buffer with a larger clearing path is ideal to make the job go by much more quickly. The clearing path of these tools typically ranges from 10 inches all the way up to 20 inches.
Home-use floor buffers are considerably smaller than those used in commercial settings mainly because there isn’t that much floor to clean. The tool should be lightweight enough that it won’t drag you down when maneuvering around rooms and lifting it up and down steps. The weight of floor buffers is within the 10- to 100-plus-pound range.
Extension Cord Length
In addition to being just lightweight, their power cords should be long enough for you to travel about your home comfortably. This means opting for a unit that comes with a long power cord as it’ll allow you to get more work done without having to unplug and plug the tool repeatedly. Power cords can be as long as 50 feet.
Floor buffing pads are similar to sanding pads in which they are abrasive and remove a very thin layer of material. Your floor buffer may come with standard buffing pads straight out of the box, but you may also want to purchase additional pads of various grit sizes depending on how deep you wish to prep your floors.
For the most part, you may want to stay within the 100- to 120-grit range in the coarseness spectrum. These pads are mainly for standard buffing and prepare your floors for finishing. Anything coarser is for removing deep scratches in hardwood floors.
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Floor Buffer for Stone Floors Buying Guide
Although stone is a tougher material than hardwood, this doesn’t mean they don’t require careful maintenance. However, when it comes to which floor buffer to get, there are considerably fewer things that you need to pay attention to. Let’s go over what these things are exactly.
Types of Stone
The first thing you’ll need to consider is what sort of stone your floors are made of. The most common natural stones used for flooring include granite, slate, and limestone, each of which has different properties and require different cleaning procedures. Don’t worry. Most floor buffers can handle more than one type of stone.
Some natural stone types are delicate and may chip when applying too much downward force on its surface, whereas others are tough enough to absorb blows from a hammer. Make sure you know what your floors are made and purchase the right floor buffer accordingly.
Hard stones like granite require more power to get them thoroughly cleaned and buffed. It’s fine to get a model that can work at a speed of more than 1,000 RPM for this type of stone.
Other more delicate types like limestone and travertine will most likely become dulled and require constant resealing when buffed with a high-speed unit. For these stone types, stick to a model that reaches a maximum speed of 200 RPM.
Diamond Buffing Pad
The most effective type of buffing pad for stone floors is one with diamond. This is simply because standard buffing pads won’t make even the tiniest dimple in stone.
But just like standard buffing pads, diamond pads come in various grit sizes for removing more or less material per rotation. If you haven’t touched your granite floors in over a decade, give them a thorough running over with a coarse, 50-grit diamond buffing pad before gradually switching to a finer grit size.
Diamond buffing pads are typically sold separately, so make sure that the ones you’re getting are compatible with your floor buffer.
In the previous guide, we spoke of how a wider clearing path is better for quickly buffing large floors by making more contact with the surface with each pass. However, for stone floors, wider is not always better.
A wider pad means a greater risk of imbalanced buffing. There may be certain edges of the buffing pad that make contact with your stone floors while others or even the center make hardly or no contact at all. For buffing stone floors, and especially when using a coarse, 50-grit diamond buffing pad, we recommend sticking to a floor buffer with a smaller head – 12 inches across at most.
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Floor Buffer for a Marble Floor Buying Guide
Even though marble is technically a type of stone, it deserves its own category simply due to the fact that it costs several times more than granite, limestone, slate, or travertine per square foot. It’s also a lot more delicate than many other types of stone, so if you’re planning on buffing your own marble floors, make sure that your buffer has the following features.
The strength of a floor buffer’s motor is measured in either HP or amps. A unit with a higher HP or amp rating is recommended for use on marble over weaker models simply because they can offer so much more than just buffing. A great place to start would be ¾ HP or 5 amps.
Speed can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to buffing marble floor tiles. Marble is a type of limestone and thus has a porous surface that absorbs water which weakens the stone’s structure.
A high-speed floor buffer could end up introducing more water into the marble’s pores which is something you definitely do not want. The best thing would be to use a floor buffer at a maximum speed of 200 RPM. This should prevent an excessive amount of water from leaking into any hidden cracks.
Diamond Buffing Pad
As a type of stone, the only way you can get a perfect sheen on your marble floors is by attaching a diamond buffing pad to your floor buffer. If this is your first time buffing your home’s marble floors in several years, then you’ll want to give the marble tiles’ surface a thorough scrubbing with a 50-grit pad. This will remove much of the deeper scratches and prepare it for buffing with a finer pad. Gradually move to a finer pad – 800- to 1,500-grit – to give your floors that sparkly-clean sheen of hotel and hospital floors.
In order for the entire surface of the buffing pad to make contact with marble floors, it’s a good idea to look for a heavier unit of at least 50 pounds or so. When the buffing pad is in complete contact with the marble tiles, it has a reduced risk of removing more material in one spot.
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What’s the Difference Between a Floor Polisher and a Floor Buffer?
Difference Between Polishing, Scrubbing, Buffing, and Burnishing a Floor
If you’re looking to give the floors in your home the same sparkly clean look that they have in hotels, hospitals, and other commercial establishments, then you seriously need to consider investing in an electric floor buffer. They not only ensure that your floors, whatever material they’re made from, are glossy after several rounds of buffing, but they’ll also help you clear wide rooms in a fraction of the time it’d take to do it by hand.
In this article, we’ve provided you with three different guides on how to find the right floor buffer for hardwood, stone, and marble flooring. There is plenty of overlap between the three different, so if your home’s flooring is made of different materials, a single floor buffer could probably be used on them all.
A hardwood floor buffer is the most basic of floor buffers available. Generally speaking, a floor buffer with a wide buffing head and delivers between 100 and at least 500 RPM would be ideal for giving hardwood floors a glossy finish.
For floors made of stage – including but not limited to slate, granite, and travertine – a floor buffer with a small buffing head (12 inches at most) and a 1,000-plus-RPM speed would be best. Stone is a lot more durable than hardwood, so the floor buffer needs to be a bit rougher in order to achieve a smooth, reflective surface.
As for marble floors, the most expensive flooring materials for living rooms and bathrooms, you need to pay careful attention to what sort of floor buffer and buffing pad you’re getting. A floor buffer with a motor of at least ¾ HP that delivers around 200 RPM is ideal for delicate marble.
Check out what sort of diamond buffing pads are available for the unit since these are the only ones that can remove thin layers of marble without leaving ugly scratch marks. Furthermore, the unit should weigh at least 50 pounds in order for the entire surface of the buffing pad to make contact with your marble floors. This will prevent the removal of too much material on one side of the pad.