What Is Floor Burnishing?

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to presentation. Floor burnishing helps businesses and homeowners create a good first impression by transforming dull, old looking floors into polished and shiny surfaces. Floor burnishers are machines with rotating pads that polish floor surfaces. Burnished floors brighten room areas and make them appear cleaner and larger. Floor burnishing saves money in two ways. First, it restores floors so they don’t have to be replaced; and second, burnishing reduces labor costs because it is a quicker and more efficient method of floor maintenance and restoration.


Floor burnishing adds visual appeal to floor surfaces.

Burnishers come in a variety of sizes and types. Some burnishers are appropriate for large areas while others are better suited for residential use. High-power machines with speeds of 2,000 rpm or more are cost effective for businesses with large areas of floor space, according to maintenance expert Alan S. Bigger. Burnishers that rotate the floor pad at speeds of 350 to 800 rpm are more appropriate for residential use.

Power Source

Some burnishers are battery operated while others are dependent on electricity or propane. There are benefits and limitations associated with each type. For example, with battery-operated burnishers, operators can work in areas without wall outlets; however, operation time is dependent on battery size. Electric burnishers require planning to ensure the worker can reach electrical outlets as needed along the cleaning path. Additionally, says Bigger, large burnishers may require wall outlets with higher amperage. The main drawback with propane burnishers involves building restrictions which limit usage.

Burnishing Pads

Like burnishing machines, burnishing pads are available in different sizes and types. Emulso, a manufacturer of industrial and janitorial supplies, recommends using UHS or ultra burnishing pads with soft fibers to achieve a high gloss, professional finish. Cutting pads made of wool are more abrasive and suitable for tougher cleaning jobs. Bigger notes the pad type and pad size will depend on the burnisher since pad pressures and consistency of pad pressures differ by machine type and size.


Achieving the desired results requires more than selecting the right burnisher and burnisher pad. According to Mrs. Clean's House Cleaning and Maid Service, there are several other factors to consider, such as burnishing technique and cleaning patterns. Mrs. Clean’s recommends working from the back to the front to prevent walking on freshly buffed areas. Another recommendation involves imitating the rotary direction of the burnisher pad by working from left to right and moving the burnisher slowly over each area. Floors should be clean before burnishing to prevent damage. Floor damage may also occur, says Bigger, if the speed of the machine is not suited to the floor type.

About the Author

Donna McFadden has been writing articles for business and consumer audiences for 14 years. Her first book was published in 2003. She currently writes for Demand Studios with expertise in business, crafts, society, and healthy living categories. She holds a Master of Business Degree in Business Administration from Amberton University.