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Tuesday, October 13, 2015


My peers and I have had some debate as to the procedure for top scrubbing. One side claims that you should burnish your floors after top scrubbing because you need to burnish out the scratches before applying finish; the result they claim will be a higher gloss on the floor. The other side contends that you should first top scrub the floor and then lay the coats of finish after all of the proper prep work. What is the correct or, let’s say, the best way of the two that I have just described?


There is no truly correct procedure here because both will work.
However, most modern finishes are self-polishing, meaning that they dry to a high gloss without any mechanical help. This means that applying finish to a properly scrubbed, rinsed, and dried floor will result in an impressive high gloss as long as the recommended drying time between coats is followed so that the last coat doesn’t disturb the previous ones and cause a cloudy appearance.
Burnishing a floor after scrubbing probably is not much help in removing deep scratches from the tile. Those lesser marks in the finish itself will have been leveled by the top scrubbing, and covered or filled by the added finish coats.
The burnishing will remove light abrasion marks and smooth the tile surface, given that the floor is flat and even to start with. This may result in a more reflective surface to enhance the gloss of the finish coats, but the minor improvement has to be weighed against the time spent to burnish the tile and remove all the resulting dust so the finish is being applied to a truly clean floor, Add, also, the time needed to allow all fine dust to settle so it can be removed before placing the finish.
Overall, I would suggest that, while the burnishing operation certainly is not incorrect, it is more time consuming if done properly, and may not give you the dramatic result that might be expected.
Why not try both methods in your facility in small areas that will not require a lot of time and see which results in the most acceptable appearance? Then, compare the times you measured and recorded for each part of the operation to see if the extra time spent burnishing and re-cleaning the floor is worth the result? Can you even tell?

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor