Chemical Science Blog

Janitorial Products | 2019 | Finishing Right

For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on VCT floor finish and divide it into two general categories: Low Maintenance No Buff (or no burnish) &  Burnish-able .  There’s really more but I won’t get into details in this article due to time restrictions.  Today the main equipment type used for floor maintenance are burnishers for repair/shine maintenance.  Buffers are now primarily used for stripping and partial stripping.

No Buff (No Burnish)

No buff floor finishes dry to a brilliant shine withouth the need of a burnisher.  In reality most floor finishes do this whether they are classified as “no buff” or not.  Most “No buff” floor finishes are classified as Dry-Bright.  No buff floor finishes have the following advantages:

  • Can be burnished sparingly – as little as once a month in low traffic areas and once a week in high traffic – without ruining the floor resiliency and ability to “recover.”
  • Are, in many cases, harder and more durable – resistant to scratches and scuffs

No buff has a few disadvantages as well:

  • No buff never gets the mirror like finish that “burnishable” floor finishes do
  • No buff has to be completely stripped / re-finished more often because it lacks long term repairability and doesn’t recover well


Burnish-able floor finishes can also be dry-bright but are generally just called “burnish-able.” They have some advantages over no buff floor finishes and are used primarily in higher traffic areas:

  • They hold up better in high traffic environments that would eat no buff floor finish alive
  • The are very resilient as in repairable by simply burnishing
  • Higher-end versions can be very resistant to scuffs/scratches
  • They burnish to a brilliant mirror finish
  • They can go longer between stripping and refinishing

Of course their are a few disadvantages:

  • They must be burnished multiple times per week in high traffic environments and once a week in lower traffic areas
  • They cost more to buy and to maintain as far as labor and pads go

A Final Note

Floor "finish" or "wax"

Seriously.  The 1950’s are over and their is no such thing as “waxing” VCT (wood is another story) floors.  Unfortunately the janitorial and cleaning industry in general is far behind other industries in both technology and lacks basic competence with understanding how things actually work such as those who use a groundhog for weather forecasts.

All VCT finishes are synthetic polymer / acrylic based.  So [sic]strippin’ -n- waxin’ is just a phrase used in janitor folklore.  Just call it floor finish or finishing and re-finishing!