Choosing the correct attachment (brushes or pads) for a floor machine makes the difference in a well kept floor or a sub-par clean and even possibly, a horribly scratched-up floor.
First, know that certain floor machines can use either pads or scrub brushes. For instance, a floor scrubber will hold either and power both very well. It can be used to scrub the finish from a floor and then buff it until it gleams when a pad driver is attached to the deck. Conversely, a buffer will not be effective with scrub brushes attached (even possible?) The type of floor surface being cleaned and the type of debris on the surface is the basis for the decision.
Pads are used with burnishers (buffers) or scrubbers. They are typically color coded to make choices easier, i.e. white for cleaning, red for scrubbing, green or blue for deep scrubbing and black for stripping. Those colors aren’t written in a rule book somewhere for manufacturers, however nearly all manufacturers use the same color-coding criteria.
Pads come in all different sizes to fit all machines and intensities.
White pads are soft and are used to clean and polish delicate surfaces. Red pads are mildly aggressive used for general purpose cleaning. Both will wash the floor, break away any loose dirt and not damage the finish if used properly.
Green or blue pads are more coarse, are used for deep cleaning, and will remove the top layer of a floor’s finish along with any dirt/debris in that layer. Black pads are the most aggressive and is used for stripping or cleaning heavily soiled floors. They will strip the finish from the floor completely. This type of pad is further broken down into a regular or a high productivity choice. While the high productivity is more expensive, it can be worth it providing a more efficient use saving time and labor.
Polishing pads come are typically lighter colors, tan, light pink, or light blue. These are also known as burnishing pads and are designed to put a brilliant shine on the floor.
While a green or blue pad can be used to strip a floor, it will take more time and effort than using the black pad designed for the job. The black pad is a very coarse one that is tailor made for the job of handling floor stripping duties.
Only a polishing pad can be used for polishing a floor or there will be scuffs and streaks left behind if a white or red is used. There are also specialty pads available. Purple ones with essentially coated with diamond bits clean and polish marble, terrazzo, slate, and polished concrete flooring. There are also ones now that remove scuff marks and combat the buildup that occurs in grout lines on tile floors.
Brushes are made for grittier situations like grouted tile, carpet, and other uneven and textured surfaces. The bristles will dig into the uneven surfaces where a pad will glide over the top. The two most popular materials used to make them are nylon and polypropylene. Standard poly brushes are the most popular due to their affordability. Brushes are also made for a variety of uses. Soft nylon brushes are the softest and are for light duty cleaning, not scratching delicate surfaces if used correctly. Soft poly brushes are a bit more harsh than the nylon and are ideal for light to medium duty cleaning. It the least expensive and a great general purpose brush. They can be used on resilient tile and other coated floors. A light grit poly brush has silicon carbide grit and is used for aggressive cleaning purposes, removing heavy buildup or staining. Heavy grit poly brushes are slightly more aggressive than light grit and are better at removing thick buildup. They are great for cleaning grease off concrete floors and stripping finishes off tile floors.
Brushes outlast pads but require cleaning after use. See the following post on proper care and cleaning of brushes and pads. And give us a call to help you determine the correct attachment for your floor machine: 501-844-1811.