How Soon Can You Buff A Floor After Waxing?

Hardwood floors can be a beautiful but costly addition to your home. Real wood needs to be treated properly, so you’re probably interested in both waxing and buffing the floor. There are many advantages to each process, but they are mainly used to make the floor shine. You’ll have to make sure that you wax and buff your floor correctly. We have researched how long you should take between waxing and buffing any kind of floor.

It is most important to let floor wax completely cure on the floor before buffing it to a shine. This duration can change from one brand to the next, so you should follow the individual manufacturer’s directions. Generally, the drying time for a typical floor wax can range from half an hour to over a few hours. But the safest curing time can range between eight and seventy-two hours.

It’s always gorgeous to make your floor shine, and waxing can even smooth out imperfections. But remember that hardwood floors will always require special treatment. Keep reading to learn exactly what it means to buff or polish a floor and the correct way to do so by hand or with a machine.

A worker cleaning and buffing floor, How Soon Can You Buff A Floor After Waxing?

How long do you wait to buff a floor after waxing?

Floor wax is simply a natural finish for wood and is also meant to offer protection for hardwood floors. This is why the finishing process should not be interrupted too quickly. You can leave damage or foreign objects in the wax before it’s ready for contact.

Buffing a floor is a deep cleaning process that will only ruin all of the hard work you put into applying the wax. An early buff will simply remove wax that hasn’t hardened into place yet. This will create an uneven, incomplete waxing job.

Therefore, it is best to follow the specific instructions that are associated with your individual floor wax. The manufacturer will explain how long you should wait before the floor wax has hardened enough for any kind of contact. Ideally, the wax should no longer feel cool.

Keep in mind that the drying time is not the same as the curing time. Drying time is just how long it takes before you can add another coat to something. This would allow you to add multiple coats of wax after each layer dries. Plan on waiting around an hour between each new coat of wax.

“Curing” time refers to when the product is completely hardened and ready for everyday use. As a general rule, you can feel certain the waxed floor is ready for a buff after waiting overnight, or even a full day. Sometimes a full seventy-two hours may be necessary to let the wax settle into place. But if you wait too long, the wax can actually become too hard. This will make it tougher to buff the final results.

Cleaning floor with buffing machine

How do you buff a newly waxed floor?

There are two methods of buffing a waxed floor. This would include buffing the area by hand or by machine. A floor buffer is an unusually powerful tool, and it can be somewhat expensive. However, you can still try to rent or purchase a floor buffer if you have a lot of room to cover.

Click here to find this floor buffer on Amazon.

Scrubbing the entire square footage of your living room might sound like a little too much time and effort. In that case, you might opt for a floor buffer. This is an electrically powered piece of equipment that uses rotary brushes and a special “buffer pad” to completely cleanse the floor.

A floor buffer is so strong, it’s actually used to deliberately remove entire layers of wax. So, you need to make sure it is used correctly. Otherwise, you could end up stripping the wax you just applied to the floor.

Step One

Clean and clear out the entire floor. This is a necessary step for the floor buffer to successfully complete its job. To begin with, the machine has a very clunky method of moving around. You won’t be able to smoothly slide the machine in between obstacles. So, remove all of the furniture and anything similar.

Also, some of the unwanted residues may cause problems, too. Remember that a floor buffer is used to level out an area. This is what fixes noticeable scrapes and damage. That process can be interrupted by unusually large debris.

You can use something like a power washer to really wash out the existing materials that might get in the way of an even buff. It will also make it easier to wash an entire floor. You can read this post to learn if you should mop the floor with hot or cold water.

Step Two

Attach the buffing pad and apply any buffing or polishing solution. The buffing pad is an essential piece of the floor buffer. It evenly distributes the solution and helps trap all of the dirt you want to clean up.

You should choose the right material for your buffing pad. A wool buffing pad will be too coarse and totally eliminate the floor wax. Instead, it would be ideal to use a foam buffing pad. That’s because the foam is available in many different strengths. This would allow you to buff the floor without fearing you will remove the wax finish.

You may also add a buffing or polishing solution here. These substances help complete the cleaning process. They are usually just applied to the area that will be buffed. However, if you need to buff an entire floor, it’s best to apply the solution to your buffing pad instead. Remember that using too much of the solution can result in an uneven floor.

Step Three

Now it’s time to operate the machine itself. This can be a little challenging since you have to evenly balance and distribute the floor buffer’s weight. The proper way to do this is by raising and lowering the handle. This manipulates the weight of the tool, allowing it to sweep from side to side. There is no other way to control a machine this strong.

Begin buffing in the back corner, so that you don’t end up walking across your own work as you continue. Move forward with overlapping rows to create an even buff across the floor. Make sure to walk slowly, completing one small section of the room at a time. You may need to unplug the machine and use different outlets in order to reach all corners of the room.

What is the difference between buffing and polishing a floor?

Cleaning black granite floor with machine and chemical

Buffing and polishing are generally used interchangeably. Both processes imply that you are making the floor shine by scrubbing it with something. However, buffing a floor strictly means that you are both leveling and cleaning it. Polishing a floor may also refer to burnishing the floor.

Burnishing has a very slight difference. It involves using a different machine, which is naturally called a burnisher. A floor burnisher operates at significantly higher speeds. This means that the job will be completed faster, and will also result in an even brighter shine than an ordinary floor buffer. You can read this post to find out how often you should burnish a floor.

How do you buff a floor without a buffer?

Operating a floor buffer can be intimidating. But it can also be a pricey machine to rent or purchase. It’s possible that you don’t actually need to wax or buff an entire floor. Sometimes there’s just an area or two that have suffered dings or wear on the wax.

Or, your room may be small enough that you don’t feel the need to invest in heavy equipment. The worst-case scenario is that the type of floor you want to buff wouldn’t be able to withstand the might of the floor buffer machine.

You can use steel or brass wool to hand scrub the floor by hand. You would begin in the back corner like you would with the machine. Keep in mind that steel wool is much rougher than brass. So, brass wool is more ideal for sensitive floors.

Click here to see this brass wool scrubbing pad on Amazon.

Additionally, it’s actually possible to simply apply commercial cleaners to a buffing pad and use it by hand, without attaching it to the machine. This would allow you to select a buffing pad that is specially designed for the floor you’re working with.


Whether you’ve just installed a new floor, or you decided to breathe some new life into an existing floor, waxing and buffing are important. It helps protect your floor and extend its lifespan. Making sure the floor wax is dry enough can be very tricky, so each manufacturer should be consulted. But now you know just how to operate a floor buffer, too. In no time, your floor will be shining like new!

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