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What Color Floor Pad Should I use on My Floor?

We have about 15 different colors of floor pads on our site and they are all designed for various tasks.  Let's learn about floor pads.  The simplest thing you need to understand about floor pads is there is a lot of over lapping in the pads functions.  It is very true that a black pad should never be used in the place of a white pad, but you could most likely use red and white interchangeably for example.  So if you are confused about what seem like minor differences between pads, it is more than likely that both will work.

Let go over some pad basics first.  All pads need to be thought of like sand paper.  They ALL have abrasives of some nature in them.  The level of abrasive and the designed rotational speed is what separates many pads from one another.  There are two major divisions of pads: low speed (less than 1,000 RPM), and high speed (over 1,000 RPM).  High speed pads are designed to deal with rotational forces that would otherwise rip the pad apart or deform while spinning at high RPMs.  High speed pads can be used on low speed machines, but not the other way around.

When to change a pad is really not all that complicated.  Just as the effectiveness of sand paper diminishes as it is being used, so does the value of your floor pad.  The difficulty some people express is discarding the pad when it "looks" perfectly fine.  However, the abrasive materials are no longer there and the effectiveness of the pad is nearly zero.  Flip the pad or change it when the pad's effectiveness is gone, it is more than likely diminished way before it "looks" like it needs replacing.

Pads cannot be effectively cleaned and re-used.  "Cleaning pads" keeps popping up from the 80's and 90's when chemical manufacturers wanted to sell "pad rejuvenation", but chemical cleaning cannot replace the abrasives in the pads.  Removing "gunk" from the weave of the pad does allow the pad to work better if abrasives are still viable.  There is merit in rinsing pads clean at the end of a maintenance task.

Pad thickness is generally 3/4" with the exception of some highly aggressive stripping pads at 1/2" thick.  Most pads are packaged 5 per case, except pads over 25" that are packaged 2 per case.  Maroon dry stripping/surface prep pads are generally packaged 10/case.  Most pads have a 3.5" center hole knock out for use with a pad centering device.  Some high speed propane manufacturer used a 1/2" center hole, we do not have any of those pads on our website at this time, but are available as special phone order.

If you have selected the correct pad for your floor, they generally do not scratch the floor, put swirl marks, or grind off the floor finish film coating.  Most scratches from floor pad rotation come from the pad collecting debris and trapping it under the surface of the pad as it rotates on the floor.  Dust mopping before use greatly reduces the chance of swirl marks from cleaning tasks.

Colors of Pads:

Black, Purple, Brown -- These are all classified as stripping pads, the colors tend to designate the aggressiveness of the abrasive and the level of "open weave" of the pad.  There isn't any standard among manufacturers as to color to aggressiveness.  Black is your basic stripping pad and is used for removal of finishes and other difficult issues on floors.  They cannot be used for removal of mastic glues. These pads are designed for low speed only.
You can visit our selection of standard stripping floor pads at this link.
You can visit our selection of heavy duty aggressive stripping floor pads at this link.
You can visit our selection of Maroon Surface Preparation (dry stripping) pads at this link.

Green & Standard Blue -- These are all classifies as scrubbing pads.  These are designed to be as aggressive as possible without removing much finish from the surface of a VCT style floor.  They will definitely dull a floor's finish.  They work well in automotive shops, and unfinished concrete floors.  They tend to be too aggressive for epoxy coated floors as a daily pad.  Blue is generally considered more aggressive than green.  Do not confuse this blue pad for blue high speed pads.  These pads are designed for low speed only.
You can visit our selection of green scrubbing floor pads at this link.

Red & Tan -- These are general buffing pads and are suitable for most daily cleaning tasks.  They generally have a slight abrasive to them, but not enough to damage most floors or their coatings.  They are used in low speed polishing applications like spray buffing to help snap the floors back to a clean shine.  They are designed for low speed machines only.  We do not stock any tan pads since most of the high speed pads are more suitable as a direct replacement.
You can visit our selection of red buffing floor pads at this link.

White -- These are the softest of the low speed pads.  They can be used on any surface.  However they will not last when used on textured surfaces or raw concrete.  They are not designed for high speed applications.
You can visit our selection of white floor pads at this link.

High Speed Pads --
High speed pads are typically 20" or greater in size.  There is no standard to color regarding the function of the pads.  In general I like to recommend clients try multiple colors and pick the color that produces the best results.  High speed pads very in the composition of the materials that preform the buffing process.  Typical variations are Poly vs. nylon, and b lends of natural fibers like hog's hair and abrasives.  In general high speed pads have a range of aggressiveness from mild to high.  Many users really like pads with a light level of hog's hair in an aggressive  combination of abrasives.  This pad does a great job of knocking down the bulk of the burnishing process and generally yields a great looking floor.  However, a higher gloss can be achieved under some conditions my using a lower "grit" pad.  The concept here is just like car re-finishing, you start with a lo grit number like 400 and work up to a high grit number like 3000.  The higher the grit number, the higher the gloss, but the more time it requires to get there.  Not everyone wants to spend that level of time, so choose a middle point that looks great.  You can visit our selection of high speed pads at this link.

BOOST rectangle pads -- We also have a complete selection of Clarke BOOST machine pads in various colors.  We've made it easy by locating all rectangle pads for all makes and models of these popular machines in our BOOST Pad Section.

Got more questions, please use the contact page to send us an email.  We'll be glad to help you out.