Buffing a wood floor to bring back its brilliance

Maintaining and caring for a wood floor can bring back its brilliance and increase its life span. Whether you’ve just moved into a new house or have an old floor in need of restoration, buffing a wood floor can revitalise the room, without having to replace the boards themselves.

Here is some of our expert advice to help you bring new life to your home and restore the brilliance of your floors, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

What does buffing do?

Where your wood floors are not damaged and don’t require sanding or repairing, wood floor buffing is one of the easiest ways to bring back the splendour of your floors and leave them shining like new.

The buffing process is part of the refinishing process and it works by controlling the peel of the polish, preparing it for a new finish. Buffing the floor creates the perfect surface for adding new a durable and long-lasting wood floor finish.

The buffing process

You can hire a buffing machine yourself and fit it with a buffing pad and screen. If you are using a professional to buff your wood floors, he or she will arrive with the right pads.

Before buffing can begin, the floor needs to be cleaned, swept and completely dry. When the floor is ready, the buffing machine is gently moved across the wood to slowly abrade the surface.

When you are close to the skirting board, the buffing machine should be replaced with a hand-held, fine-grade sanding pad. Gently work it along the edge of the room, lightly abrading the floor until you have an even finish across the room.

Now that buffing is completed, the floor should be completely vacuumed and wiped with a damp cloth ready for finishing.

A brilliant finish

There are a number of finishes to choose from and all of them give a different look to your newly-buffed floor, as well as providing different levels of durability.

Wood floor oil

Wood floor oil creates a natural finish quickly and easily. Environmentally friendly and lacking in odour, oil is a popular finish and can be applied using a floor trim pad. After 24 hours the wood floor oil is dry and leaves a reasonably durable seal on the wood. Oils will darken the wood slightly, but some grow darker with age.


Waxing creates a shine on any wood floor. Easy to apply, it leaves a soft finish on the wood without altering the colour. Wax is less durable than oil and will need two or three coats to create a durable surface. Floor wax can be applied easily with just a sponge or large floor applicator. Spread evenly across the floor, the wax will leave an even seal and dry in only twenty minutes.


Floor varnish leaves a glossy shine on a wood floor. Although the application is not quite as simple as waxing, the extra effort pays off with a finish that is extremely durable and suitable for high-traffic areas. Varnish also creates a shine on the wood which lasts longer than wax. To apply varnish to your floor, follow the wood grain with a paintbrush or a sponge.


Polish is a less durable finish but can be applied regularly to wood with minor wear. Polish creates an almost instant shine and doesn’t darken the wood underneath. The glossy finish can be applied easily with a cloth and is ready to use within 24 hours.

Using a soft buffing machine, you can now buff the polish to a brilliant sheen, revitalising your home and making your rooms shine like new again.

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