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What’s The Best Floor Pad for VCT (Vinyl Composition Tile)?

When maintaining your VCT (vinyl composition tile) flooring, it’s important to know how to keep it looking its best for enhanced facility appearance, lower maintenance costs, and extended floor life.

As you have likely seen in your searches, there are several different floor pad colors, textures, and materials. Finding the right one to maintain your VCT can be confusing.

Choosing the right floor pad depends on the floor care procedure you’re trying to complete, the finish on the floor, and the machine the pad is being used on.

You’ll notice the floor type wasn’t on that list. The floor type, in this case, VCT, doesn’t determine the floor pad needed.

VCT, like other types of floors, is covered with a floor finish. The floor finish is what will be maintained rather than the actual VCT.

To maintain your facility’s VCT flooring, there are several different procedures, like scrubbing, stripping, buffing, and burnishing


Each of these procedures requires a different type of floor pad. Choosing the right floor pad for each procedure will ensure that your facility’s floors will not be damaged and that the procedure performed is effective.

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For example, if you use a black stripping pad for routine cleaning, you will end up removing layers of finish from your floors instead of just lifting away dirt. This leads to floor damage and unnecessary rework, costing you in product and labor costs.

In this article, we’ll outline the different floor pads you’ll need for maintaining your facility’s VCT flooring.

What is the Best Floor Pad To Clean a VCT Floor?

VCT floors should be cleaned daily and maintained through damp mopping or cleaning with a floor scrubber.

Cleaning your floors daily removes dirt, grease, and grime that has built up throughout the day.

Use a Red Floor Pad For Daily Cleaning

floor padTo complete daily floor cleaning, a red floor pad should be used on your VCT floors with a neutral cleaner.

Red floor pads are gentle enough to keep layers of finish intact but are still rough enough to effectively agitate soils for removal.

A red floor pad can be used on an autoscrubber or a floor buffer.

Before using an autoscrubber or swing machine, your floors should be dust mopped or swept thoroughly. Then, with the red pad attached to the machine, clean your facility’s VCT floor by running over the area with the floor cleaning machine.

What is the Best Floor Pad to Burnish a VCT Floor?

511000000 - CERTO Speed Pro 1500 BurnisherBurnishing is performed with a high-speed machine that creates heat to soften and even out your floor finish. This process removes scratches from the surface and produces a glossy shine.

High-speed machines typically operate between 1200 to 3000 RPMs.

Because of the speed and heat generated by burnishers, burnishing pads tend to be lighter in color than other floor pads so that the colors are not accidentally transferred to the floor finish.

There are many different burnishing pads and selecting the right one will depend on the floor finish on your floors. Floor finishes can be softer or harder, each requiring a certain pad to achieve maximum shine.

Harder floor finishes can resist scratches and scuffs better than softer finishes. Because of this softer finishes tend to be high maintenance and require more frequent upkeep than harder finishes to offset the presence of scratches.

In general, harder floor pads do a good job of shining softer floor finishes, and softer floor pads are recommended for hard floor finishes since they stick to the finish better than harder pads.

Use an Aqua or Tan Pad to Burnish Softer Floor Finishes

IAqua Padf you have a softer floor finish, you’ll likely want to use an aqua or tan pad.

Tan pads can have a mixture of both synthetic fibers and hog hair, which can do a good job of shining softer floor finishes.

Aqua floor pads are harder floor pads that work well to provide a high gloss to soft floor finishes.

Use a Stiffer Burnishing Pad for Harder Floor Finishes

If you have a harder floor finish, you should consider a hogs hair pad or stiffer burnishing pad.

These pads can produce a high gloss look on your harder floor finish.

Use a Hog’s Hair Pad to Remove Soils or Restore Deeply Scratched Finishes with Intense Burnishing

Natural Fiber Floor PadIf you have a deeply scratched floor, a hog’s hair pad will be the best choice because it is more aggressive in removing impurities like dirt.

Hog’s hair pads remove marks and scuffs while still polishing the floor. These are more aggressive burnishing pads that quickly remove scratches in your floor finish.

Use an Eraser Pad for Burnishing Unknown Floor Finish Types

If you don’t know what kind of floor finish is on your floor, the safest option is an eraser pad.

An eraser pad is great for removing scuff marks and is a very good all-around burnishing pad but it’s generally more expensive.

Eraser pads are light pink in color, like bubblegum, and will help achieve the desired glossy look on your floor.

What is the Best Floor Pad to Buff a VCT Floor?

Buffing is performed with a low-speed machine swing machine or floor buffer and is done to preserve and enhance the shine or glossiness of your floor finish.

Use a White Floor Pad for Buffing

When buffing your floors, you should use a white floor pad. White floor pads are the least aggressive and are designated for use on low-speed machines (floor buffers) operating up to 600 RPMs, which makes them good for use as polish pads.

VCT floors can be buffed as often as necessary to maintain your desired level of shine.

What is the Best Floor Pad to Spray Buff a VCT Floor?

Buffing and spray buffing are two different procedures. While spray buffing is not recommended, you can spray buff with a floor buffer to fill in small finish gaps and achieve an even shine.

Use a White or Red Floor Pad for Spray Buffing

A white or red pad should be used for spray buffing your floors. Using these pad types will create a gloss on the surface of your floor.

To spray buff your floor, you should apply spray buff in a light mist. Then, buff your floor to remove scuff marks and shine your floors.

Pro Tip: Only use a light mist when spray buffing. Spray buff is not intended to add a full coat of finish to the floor, rather a light covering.

What is the Best Floor Pad to Scrub a VCT Floor?

Scrubbing your VCT floor will remove the top layers of wax and allow your staff to get any dirt or scratches from deep in your floor finishes surface.

Depending on the level of traffic and soil brought into your facility, you might need to scrub your floors more or less often.

When daily scrubbing is no longer allowing your floor to maintain an optimal shine level, scrubbing and recoating are likely necessary.

Scrubbing your facility’s floors can be done with either an automatic floor scrubber or a floor buffer.

Use a Red Floor Pad for Daily Scrubbing 

Daily floor scrubbing is typically performed with an auto scrubber given the increased productivity, however, it can be done with a floor buffer.

Floor buffers typically aren’t used given the time and labor needed, with an autoscrubber the entire process is done with one machine. When using a floor buffer, you’d need a mop and bucket to apply cleaner to the floor and a wet vac to remove the slurry.

The best floor pad for scrubbing your VCT floor is a red floor pad. This pad type will not remove finish from your floors when paired with an automatic floor scrubber or buffer.

Use a Blue or Green Floor Pad for Periodic Scrubbing 

For more intense soil removal, you can use a blue or green pad. These can also be used for periodic scrubbing or when you are preparing your floors for a new coat of finish.

Periodic scrubbing is done when your floors are showing signs of wear and tear from daily food traffic.

The level of damage to the floor will determine whether you need a green or blue floor pad.

Blue pads are less aggressive than green pads. Blue pads may scrub off up to half of a coat of finish while a green pad will take off 1-1.5 coats of finish.

What is the Best Floor Pad to Strip a VCT Floor? 

After significant wear and tear, your floors will eventually need to be stripped and waxed to achieve a clean, shiny look.

Stripping your floors is a process by which all of the finish, sealer, and wax is removed from the surface of the floor.

An aggressive pad is needed for stripping the floor so all of the layers can properly be taken off of the floor.

Use a Black Floor Pad for Stripping

Black Stripping PadThe best floor pad for chemical stripping a VCT floor is a black floor pad.

Black floor pads have some variety in their aggressiveness, with some being more aggressive than others. Typically, the more aggressive a black floor pad is, the more expensive it will be.

There are some black stripping pads that feature an open-weave structure that keeps them from getting clogged or plugged up with slurry from the floor.

For more detailed instructions on how to strip your facility’s floors, read our article: How to Strip and Wax Commercial Hard Floors [+ Key Benefits]

What is the Best Floor Pad For Chemical-Free Finish Removal (Sometimes Called Chemical-free Floor Stripping) on a VCT Floor? 

I520411939 - 3m Surface Prep Padf you are looking for a more environmentally friendly way to remove finish from your floors, you can use an orbital scrubber and a Surface Preparation Pad for chemical-free finish removal. This procedure can be done with or without the addition of water.

Orbital scrubbers are automatic floor scrubbers that oscillate instead of rotating. They use tight, fast vibrations to scrub and strip floors at speeds between 1,500-3,500 RPM.

Use a Surface Preparation Pad (SPP) For Chemical-Free Finish Removal 

Surface Preparation Pads work best for chemical-free finish removal on orbital floor scrubbers. The fast circular movements paired with the surface preparation pads, which are extremely aggressive, are able to remove layers of finish without chemicals.

Soap and other cleaning solutions should not be used with surface preparation pads. If soap or other chemicals are used, the pad will not be able to effectively remove the floor finish.

Final Thoughts

When looking for the best type of floor pad to maintain your VCT floor, it’s important to remember that the right pad depends on the procedure being completed and the finish on the floor.

Selecting the appropriate floor pad needed to complete floor maintenance can reduce the chance of damaging your VCT floors. Using the wrong pad can cause damage to the floor or even injury to your employees and guests.

When cleaning your VCT floors during daily maintenance, you should use a red floor pad. This allows for proper floor cleaning without unnecessary stripping of finish. During periodic scrubbing, a more aggressive floor pad, like a blue or green pad, should be used to remove layers of finish from your floors.

Between scrubbing and stripping, you can retain the shine on your floors by burnishing and buffing your floors.

Burnishing your floors restores the shine. The type of floor pad you should use to burnish your floors depends on the finish you’re using. Softer finishes require an aqua or tan pad while harder finishes require stiffer burnishing pads.

Buffing your floors helps preserve the shine on your floors. Using a white floor pad, you can achieve a shiny look without posing any damage to your VCT flooring. If you spray buff your floors, a red or white pad will give you a shiny result.

To restore your floors, you should use a black floor pad to strip the finish from a VCT floor. Black floor pads are aggressive and make it easy to remove the finish, wax, and sealer from a floor so that it can be re-finished.

If you’re looking to strip your floor without the use of harsh chemicals, you can use a Surface Preparation Pad paired with an orbital scrubber. This combination allows you to strip your floors using only water.

Imperial Dade has been a leading provider of janitorial supplies and tools for over 100 years.

Whether you’re in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, or Canada, Imperial Dade can supply your janitorial needs. For more information on how to choose the right floor pad to maintain your floor, contact us to speak to a specialist today.

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