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It Takes Two: Floor Finish and Equipment Compatibility

Mar 15, 2023

Floor finish and equipment are the dynamic duo when it comes to floor maintenance. Depending on the type of floor finish that is applied, you’ll want to make sure you have the right kind of equipment to ensure the floor looks the best it can. Continue reading to learn more about which finishes complement different types of equipment.

High Maintenance Finish

High maintenance finishes, also known as ultra high speed (UHS) finishes, are formulated with softer, repairable polymers and waxes that wear more but have a better depth of gloss. Because of this, UHS finishes require more burnishing to keep them looking their best and as shiny as possible. It’s recommended to use a high-speed burnisher—electrical, propane, or battery-powered—with this type of finish. Once the floor is burnished, the jump in gloss is higher.

A floor burnisher is a piece of power equipment that polishes or burnishes a floor to bring out its original shine. A high-speed burnisher, depending on the type, spins at 1,000 to 3,000 RPMs at a fast rotation, which increases the number of times a floor is agitated. The friction of the burnishing pad on the floor produces the desirable “wet look” shine in fewer passes by repairing abrasion marks and slight scratches. There are different sizes ranging from smaller, more maneuverable to those that tend to cover more square footage in less time to increase efficiency and productivity. Betco® offers the following high-speed burnishing machines:

  • The Crewman 1600 and 2000 High Speed Burnishers are electrical and cover up to 16,000 square feet per hour. The precise balance and flexible pad driver offer an even burnishing path of 20” wide.
  • Optima XR Series High Speed Burnishers are propane-powered and are offered in 21”, 27”, and 27” with dust control and burnish up to 34,000 square feet per hour. Thanks to an exclusive high-efficiency fuel delivery system, the Optima XR saves up to 27% on propane versus leading competitors.

High-traffic facilities that care for their floor often, like retail and grocery stores, often use UHS finishes. Floors are a major factor in store cleanliness to customers, and the robust shine produced from burnishing signifies that. Additionally, UHS finishes should be used for high traffic, or else the finish will be walked off the floor. They are also recommended for floors that are worn quickly and need to be burnished more than 3 times a week. Betco suggests the following UHS finishes:

  • Photon Max with SRT Floor Finish is designed for ultra high speed routine maintenance programs in high-profile, high-traffic areas by providing a dramatic gloss response when burnished.
  • Hi-Tech® Floor Finish produces an excellent wet look shine after burnishing, and prevents powdering, scuffing, and black marks.
  • Hybrid® Floor Finish uses a new polymer system formulated with XBF technology to provide the longest-lasting finish ever by retaining film integrity and outstanding gloss even after repeated burnishing.

Low Maintenance Finish

Conversely, low maintenance finishes are formulated with harder polymers and waxes that are designed to stand up to high-traffic patterns and wear without losing much gloss. A floor scrubber or floor machine should be used on low maintenance finishes because, as the category name suggests, they don’t need as much maintenance to keep the glossy look.

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A mop and bucket do not burnish a floor but is the traditional way to clean it in order restore gloss. Instead, a floor machine can be used to burnish for ease, convenience, and better gloss results. Floor machines generally run at 175 RPM, but dual speed floor machines have an additional speed of 300 RPM. These RPMs are significantly lower than high speed burnishers to protect the low maintenance floor finish.

If using a high speed burnisher on low maintenance finish, the increase of gloss will not be as high as a UHS finish. Additionally, if the low maintenance finish does not respond well to the high speed burnisher, powdering, swirling, or hazing of the floor can occur. Refer to the floor finish label before use.

Betco has equipment that can scrub low maintenance finishes:

  • Crewman™ 17HD and 20HD has precise balance to reduce operator fatigue and comes in a 17” pad size and 20” pad size.
  • Foreman® 20DS has dual speeds at 175 RPM or 330 RPM and an hour meter to manage maintenance and usage, available in 20” pad size.

Click here to learn more about our Floor Machines and Floor Scrubbers.

Low maintenance finishes are used in facilities that cannot prioritize floor care. For example, schools typically use low maintenance finishes because burnishing every day is nearly impossible due to classroom furniture. For facilities concerned about cost, some have made the switch from high maintenance finishes to low maintenance finishes, pulling back on burnishing cycles. With high maintenance finishes, cost is associated with mostly labor, and more burnishing means more labor is required. For those looking to make the switch or looking to use a low maintenance finish, Betco recommends the following:

  • Hard as Nails® utilizes a highly durable internally cross-linked polymers blended to achieve a harder floor finish film, resulting in a high gloss, long wearing finish.
  • Untouchable® Floor Finish with SRT is a low odor, black heel mark resistant floor finish that is an exceptional choice for those who want the highest gloss and wear with the least amount of labor.
  • Glare® is a high gloss floor finish that provides the optimum in durability and wear.

Floor Cleaning

No matter the finish a facility has, the floor needs to be cleaned as part of daily maintenance. An auto scrubber can be used to clean all types of finishes. If only a mop and a bucket is available for cleaning, it should be used on a low maintenance finish. A mop and bucket can be used to clean UHS finishes, but they are not as durable. Dirt and wear will affect them to a greater extent, so poor cleaning practices will degrade the finish.

Betco recommends the following products for floor cleaning:

  • pH7 Floor Cleaner emulsifies and suspends dirt and grime, leaving floors film-free and full of shine.
  • Daily Scrub SC Floor Cleaner is designed for frequently burnished floors and quickly removes deeply embedded soils.
  • Betco One Step Floor Restorer is a cleaner and restorer for high-speed floor maintenance programs and effectively cleans the floor while restoring the top layer of the finish after burnishing. This can be applied with a mop and bucket or an auto scrubber prior to burnishing to help improve repair and burnish results.

In terms of auto scrubbers, the GeneSys Auto Scrubber series cleans floors faster with less effort with the best performance specifications in its class. Click here to learn more about what makes GeneSys Auto Scrubbers stand out from the rest.

Floor Finish Selector Guide

Every floor is different, and our tool helps take out the guessing when it comes to floor maintenance. The Floor Finish Selector Guide asks a series of questions about equipment for floor maintenance, sheen desire, sustainability, floor type, time constraints, and budget. Based on the answers, the Floor Finish Selector Guide spits out the best Betco floor finish. Click here to use it.

To view all our floor finishes, floor cleaning products, and more, click here. To learn more about our equipment offerings, click here. For any questions and to speak with a Betco representative, click here to fill out an online form.