floor pads

Brushing up on floor pads

Assessing the true cost of these cleaning discs
Thursday, October 8, 2020
David L. Smith

Budget planning time comes annually and along with it, the question: where can costs be reduced?

‘Padding’ the budget usually isn’t recommended but investing in the right floor pads can deliver long-term cost savings. It can also reduce wear and tear on flooring and the labour required to keep a facility looking its best.

An educated selection

A floor pad affixes to a floor scrubber or polisher and through mechanical action breaks up soil. Used with a neutral floor detergent, the pad agitates soil and keeps it in suspension so that it is not redeposited on the floor.

Floor pads are made from synthetic fibre impregnated with resin and abrasive minerals that work with the agitation of the machine to loosen and remove dirt and debris. They are also used to remove floor finishes when required.

The pads come in different thicknesses and colours, including white, red, blue and brown. The colours, in that order, indicate the degree of softness. White is best for light cleaning and spray buffing, while the others are used for progressively tougher jobs.

White and red floor pads should be used on an auto scrubber for day-to-day cleaning. Because white pads are the softest, they will not burnish the high points on the floor if the finish has become uneven. As a result, soil may be left in the lower areas of the finish, leaving a dingy overall appearance even after the floor has been cleaned. In this instance, a more abrasive red pad should be selected.

Blue pads are more aggressive. They can be utilized for heavy-duty cleaning but are generally used for scrub and recoat rather than complete stripping and refinishing. They should be employed with a deep-scrub chemical (a high-alkaline cleaning solution) diluted to manufacturers’ specifications for that explicit task.

Burnishing pads are soft pads designed to make floors shiny. They are used on either a propane or electric burnisher and spin at between 375 and 2,000 revolutions per minute. These pads micro abrade high points off the floor finish through a combination of mechanical action and heat, making the floor gleam. It is critical that they be perfectly round or they can cause vibration that affects machine and pad performance. This can cause undue wear on the machine and is also uncomfortable for the operator.

The cost of quality

Floor pads are available at a variety of price points providing consumers with great choice.  But are they created equal?

The less expensive products typically have a topical resin and mineral application that wears off more quickly than the resin and mineral that has been impregnated into higher-priced pads. As a result, they don’t last as long as the more expensive alternative.

This doesn’t mean a less expensive floor pad is never an option. Rather, it depends on the application. Smaller floor areas that are cleaned less frequently can offer the perfect opportunity to use a less expensive floor pad. Larger floor areas cleaned with greater frequency require a more durable pad, so in these applications, a less expensive pad can be a false economy in that considerably more will need to be used.

Choice and consequence

To reduce floor pad costs, be sure to select the proper type and quality of pad for the cleaning application. This will ensure only the appropriate number of pads are used to get great quality results. Operators should be encouraged to remove the pad holder and place it on top of the machine after each use. This allows the next operator to see the thickness of the pad to determine if it needs to be changed and to inspect the pad to ensure no debris has been caught in it that could damage the floor. Floor finish damaged by a worn-out floor pad is expensive, both in facility downtime and lost productivity. The right-quality pad matched to the task is the best way to avoid this costly (and all-too-frequent) situation.

David L. Smith is the director of cleaning, hygiene and sanitation at Bunzl Canada. With
more than 30 years’ experience in the cleaning and hygiene industry, David is a
recognized expert in facility maintenance for both aesthetics and health. He can
be reached at david.smith@bunzlcanada.ca

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