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Proper Floor Pad Selection: It's in the colors.

Using the right floor pad is critical to achieve great-looking resilient floors. For simplicity, floor care steps that require floor pads can be broken down into the following processes:

  • Stripping – Totally removes finish from the floor surface.
  • Recoat Scrubbing – Deep scrub the floor to accept another coat of finish.
  • Cleaning – A routine cleaning, sometimes daily or weekly.
  • Burnishing – Using a high-speed floor machine to obtain a “wet look” on a hard finish.
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Each process requires a certain color floor pad. Pad colors range from black to white. In between the black and white pads is a range of colored pads. Black pads are the most aggressive and white pads are the least aggressive. Black pads have an open weave that “cuts” and removes emulsified finish without “clogging”. White pads have a very tight weave that aids in polishing instead of cutting and removal. The range of colored pads in between black and white is designed to perform different levels of scrubbing, cleaning, or burnishing.

Shapes and Sizes

Most scrubbing and stripping pads are round and will range from 10 to 21 inches in diameter. Some orbital scrubbers use rectangular pads that are typically 14 inches in one direction and between 20 and 32 inches in the other.

Burnishing pads are typically round and range from 17 inches to 27 inches in diameter.

In this article, we give examples of the 20-inch round size. Other sizes are available in our online store.

Stripping Pads

Stripping pads combine tough fibers and abrasives to make a very aggressive pad. They will have an open web construction to allow the stripping solution to pass through the pad without clogging.

Stripping pads are commonly found in brown, black, and maroon. Brown is the least aggressive of the three. Black is more aggressive and is the most commonly used construction. For even more performance, maroon stripping pads offer even more abrasion.

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Product Recommendations

Scrub and Recoat Pads

Multiple coats of floor finish create a smooth protective coating. The smooth coating reflects the light, creating a glossy appearance. Over time, soil and grit create pits and grooves in the coating. The pits and grooves trap dirt and soil, deflecting the light and lowering gloss levels, making the floor look dull and dirty. To extend the life of a floor coating, Hillyard recommends an interim process to revitalize the floor’s appearance. By scrubbing with a floor machine with an aggressive pad, custodians can remove one to two layers of floor finish, along with the embedded dirt and scratches in those layers. After the floor is clean and dry, apply a few new coats of floor finish, restoring the gloss level and protection.

Product Recommendations

Scrubbing Pads

Floor scrubbing pads come in various colors, each serving a specific purpose in floor maintenance. The color-coding of scrubbing pads helps users easily identify the level of abrasiveness and intended use. Typically, lighter colors like white or beige represent softer, less abrasive pads suitable for light cleaning and polishing tasks. Moving towards medium abrasiveness, colors like green or blue are often employed for general-purpose scrubbing, effectively removing dirt and scuff marks without causing damage to the floor. By adhering to the color-coded system, floor care professionals can select the appropriate scrubbing pad, ensuring efficient and safe maintenance tailored to the specific needs of the flooring material.

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Product Recommendations

SmartScrub: Scrub and Shine in One Step

As an alternative to traditional scrubbing pads, the SmartScrub is an innovative option. SmartScrub™ outperforms traditional floor pads by lasting five times longer. Its effectiveness is notable even with plain water, gradually enhancing floor shine with each application, potentially reducing or eliminating the need for burnishing. Designed for wet application with low-speed auto scrubbers, this innovative pad minimizes dust production, contributing to a healthier work environment. Additionally, SmartScrub™ holds Green Seal certification, underscoring its sustainable qualities and making it a favorable choice for everyone.

Melamine Pads

Melamine pads are made from an open-cell polymeric foam. When it cures, this foam has hard edges that act like a super-fine sandpaper. In many cases, they can scrub with just water. For higher soil loads, use a detergent as well. They can be used on LVT, VCT, terrazzo, tile, concrete, and epoxy floors and are ideal for restoring tile and grout without harsh chemicals.

Burnishing Pads

The burnishing process involves using a high-speed machine that rotates the pad rapidly, generating friction and heat. This heat helps to soften and smooth the floor finish, resulting in a shiny, polished surface. The burnishing pads are available in various grit levels, and the choice of pad depends on the type of floor finish and the level of gloss desired. Burnishing pads are typically made of synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, or a combination of fibers, and they are designed to be used with high-speed floor burnishers or polishers. Some pads also include natural fibers (hog hair) and are called "hair pads."

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Product Recommendations

Hillyard Can Help You Find The Best Floor Pad

Hillyard, a leading cleaning solutions provider, has a nationwide network of dedicated representatives strategically positioned throughout the United States to assist customers in sourcing the best cleaning supplies, including our top-of-the-line floor pads. Our knowledgeable representatives are well-equipped to guide you through an extensive inventory of cleaning products, ensuring that you find solutions tailored to your specific needs. Hillyard's representatives are committed to delivering personalized assistance and expertise. Use the "I'm Interested" form below, and one of our representatives will contact you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color pads to strip floors?

Typically, black or brown floor pads are used for stripping floors. These abrasive pads are designed to effectively remove old floor finish and prepare the surface for reapplication. Always check the specific recommendations of the floor stripping product and equipment manufacturer for the most suitable pad color and type based on the flooring material and condition.

Which pad to use to burnish a floor?

For burnishing floors, high-speed or ultra-high-speed burnishing pads are recommended. These pads are typically color-coded in shades of tan, beige, or natural hair colors. The specific color may vary between manufacturers, but they are designed for polishing and enhancing the shine of finished floors. Choose a pad with the appropriate level of aggressiveness based on the floor's condition and the desired gloss level. Always follow the equipment and product recommendations to achieve optimal results without causing damage to the floor finish.

How do you attach a pad to a floor buffer?


Attaching a pad to a floor buffer involves a simple process:

  1. Turn Off the Buffer: Ensure the floor buffer is turned off and unplugged for safety.
  2. Lift the Buffer: Tilt the buffer to raise the pad driver or disc from the floor.
  3. Align the Pad: Place the center of the pad over the driver or disc, ensuring it matches the size.
  4. Secure the Pad: Lower the buffer to the floor, allowing the pad to adhere to the driver or disc. Some buffers have a locking mechanism or fasteners to secure the pad.
  5. Adjust if Necessary: Make any necessary adjustments to center the pad on the driver.

Always refer to the specific buffer's manual for detailed instructions.

DISCLAIMER:  Specifications are subject to change without notice. Examples and recommendations in this article may not apply to every situation. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and does not supersede any other documentation. Always follow the instructions as written on the product label.

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