How to Buff Finished Hardwood Floors


Buffing a hardwood floor is the final step in a professional refinishing job, and it's also a great way to restore an existing finish that has dulled or faded. Don't worry, you won't have to get down on your knees. You can rent a floor buffer that is easy and fun to use and will do most of the work for you. Before you start, be sure to clean the floor to remove old wax, or it will clog the buffer.

Things You'll Need

  • Mop
  • Hardwood floor cleaner
  • Floor buffer
  • Lambswool buffing attachment
  • Wrench
  • Polishing compound (optional)
  • Floor wax (optional)
  • Clean wax off the floor with a high-quality hardwood floor cleaner. Mix the cleaner with warm water according to the manufacturer's directions and spread it with a mop. Let the floor dry completely before you begin buffing.

  • Set the handle of the floor buffer flat on the floor so you can attach a lambswool buffing attachment. Do this by loosening the nut in the middle of the pad on the bottom of the machine with a wrench and removing it. Set the attachment in place and tighten the screw. Then lift the handle and set the tool upright on the floor.

  • Plug in the buffer and hold the handle securely while you turn it on. It will swivel away from you, but if you keep a steady grip, you will quickly learn to control and steer it by exerting gentle pressure on the handle.

  • Start buffing in the middle of the floor, and let the machine do the work for you. Steer it gently from side to side, and walk forward until you reach the wall, then turn around and go the other way. Finally, buff along the side walls.

  • Hold the handle securely when you turn off the buffer, and don't let go until it has stopped completely.

  • Spread floor polishing compound on the floor and use the buffer to polish this up for an extra shiny finish. Or, if you prefer, spread a new coat of floor wax on the floor after you have buffed it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you press the buffer too hard into the floor, or try too hard to control it, it will be more difficult to use. Let the machine glide along the floor while you exert minimal effort to steer it. The weight of the machine itself will provide the friction necessary for it to be effective.
  • Don't let the buffer crash into the walls or baseboards or it will scuff and possibly crack them.

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