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Polishing up for a shinier floor

27 September 2016

To get the best value from a floor, polishing equipment and products have to fit the purpose, says Justin Binks, director of SEBO UK

There are many machines that can perform maintenance and cleaning. Those with a speed of up to 200 rpm perform a scrubbing task, and those between 200 and 400 rpm both scrub and polish. These models are full head-weight machines, meaning that the weight lies directly on the cleaning pad. The main disadvantage of these options, however, is the need for operative training. The ultra high-speed (UHS) models operate from 500 rpm upwards and these differ in design, being wheels-down in operation with the weight on the wheels. Ranging in size from 11 to 21 inches, these machines require no operative training. The colour of the cleaning pad is the key to the performance levels – the darker the pad, the more aggressive the cleaning power. 

A question of polish

The question of which polish to use is subjective and every manufacturer of cleaning chemicals has its own version of floor maintenance products, or floor maintainers. These range in price and quality and can be used in a variety of different ways to achieve the desired effect. Some can be used in neat form to form a seal on the floor, requiring mechanical action to harden the product. A good rule of thumb is that the more mechanical action, the better and harder the seal.

Floor maintainers used in diluted form are best for maintaining the floor with the product used as a detergent to clean first then buff up using a machine. There is also the spray clean option, suitable for cleaner floors. For a shinier floor, maintainers with a higher level of solids are the most effective although these tend to be more expensive. Combining a high solids maintainer with a high speed machine will bring about a maximum gloss effect. However, SEBO uses the polisher with an HTC diamond pad that requires no product to produce a shine. 

It is worth noting that all machines from 400 rpm upwards can be vacuumated and there are two types of vacuum – passive dust collection systems, where the draught caused by the spinning pad directs dust into a collection bag; and positive dust collection systems where the vacuum motor sucks up the dust. The latter is generally regarded as more effective. All UHS machines should have a skirt to seal the machines to the floor to prevent excess dust. 

Different floors have different needs

It is important to remember that different floors have different needs – for instance, a polisher should not be used on a safety floor as they are abrasive by nature and tend to be detrimental to polisher pads. Specialist pads are made to clean these floors but are only used at slow scrubbing speed (200rpm) and a shine is not really possible with most. Floors that are suitable for cleaning and maintenance with machines and floor maintenance products include sealed wood, thermoplastics, linoleum, non-porous and sealed stones, tiles, sealed concrete and painted floors. 

SEBO has its own ultra-high speed cleaner, designed for smaller, high quality areas that require cleaning and maintenance, such as nursing homes, offices, lobbies, hotels and shops. The 2000 rpm SEBO Dart with UHS, both vacuums and polishes providing a gloss surface and, when used with an appropriate floor maintainer, will create a protective coating for the floor. 

Floor cleaning and maintenance can be straightforward and cost effective when the correct equipment and materials are used together and can help to extend the life of a floor through initial careful specification.