Vinyl composition tiles (VCT) are a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice for flooring, especially in schools. The surface is composed of layers of vinyl, inorganic fillers, resins, plasticizer and pigments, giving the surface a high resilience to heavy foot traffic and premature damage. Unlike wood and terrazzo floors, which can damage with impact, VCT is impact resistant. This makes it a prime candidate for application in school buildings where daily wear and tear is common. VCT floors are also highly customizable, offering an almost unlimited selection of patterns, styles, colors and finishes.
Despite VCT’s durability, it is crucial for facility maintenance workers to understand the unique challenges that this floor surface can pose and how to properly maintain it over the course of its life.
VCT Floor Challenges
While VCT is easy to install, the subfloor on which the product is laid must be checked thoroughly to ensure it is completely level. Subfloor irregularities reduce the aesthetic appeal of VCT and can cause the surface to become brittle and crack over time.
Despite its durability, VCT that has not been adequately sealed can gradually be worn down by temperature extremes, UV radiation and sidewalk salts that are frequently used by schools during harsh winter months. Under these circumstances, there is also a potential for mold buildup with the presence of moisture. Floors that have not been correctly maintained by facility maintenance staff for 5+ years will need complete replacement – a tedious process due to strong adhesives used during installation.
Best Practices for VCT Care
While damaged VCT cannot be repaired, you can extend the life of your floors with the right mix of products, machines and procedures:
- Build an appealing foundation: To select the right coating, look for a balance between the desired level of gloss and ongoing maintenance. It’s important to apply a protective sealer and finish that meets expectations in both gloss and durability. This results in a floor that is easier to clean and safer for building occupants.
- Conduct daily cleaning: Use a high-performance neutral floor cleaner that is designed to remove deep soils without dulling or altering the appearance of the floor. The cleaner should work well on all floor substrates so that it can be used on more than just VCT.
- Restore the floor: Look for a product that can easily remove existing coatings and floor soils in preparation for the rejuvenation phase.
- Replace damaged tiles and seal: As VCT cannot be repaired, remove and replace damaged or worn areas.
- Rejuvenate and protect: This phase is crucial for prolonging the lifespan of floors. Use a product that blends detergents, waxes and polymers to emulsify dirt, clean and protect.
When installed correctly and properly maintained, VCT flooring assets can last for upwards of 15 years. Contact our experts to learn how we can support your VCT maintenance needs.