Is No Maintenance VCT “Really” a Thing?
It’s decision time. Whether you’re replacing the flooring in your facility or deciding on flooring materials for a new building, the time for contemplation is over, and it’s time to pull the trigger.
As you analyzed your budget and attempted to wring every last “efficiency” from it, you could have fallen into a familiar trap: living in hope.
VCT Expectations vs. Reality
VCT is familiar, durable, and will in most instances be among the lowest cost options for new floors. With proper cleaning, you “could” shave a few dollars off maintenance and “may” be able to allocate those dollars to some of your other dozens of concerns. If the stars align properly, you “might” even extend the life of the floor.
The reality, however, is that the best-case scenarios we often theorize when budgeting rarely (if ever) become a reality.
This is because the best-case scenario doesn’t take into account the other items on your whiteboard that will have equal or higher priority at any given time. Your budget must expect the unexpected.
Will you have time to follow the manufacturers’ instructions for maintaining the floor?
Will your new employee remember to “two bucket mop” or will he/she spread potential sickness all over the facility and require a “do-over”?
Will rolling chairs and furniture drag, dent, and scratch your floor and require repair?
Will you run into a problem that requires cleaning with harsh chemicals, further exacerbating the problem and most likely voiding your warranty?
Five Facts About VCT
VCT is popular for a reason. It’s resilient, has an initial low cost, and comes in a reasonable amount of designs.
VCT looks great after that initial coat of wax. (Take a picture, because it will immediately begin to dull with traffic).
VCT is porous and soft and needs constant protection to retain its appearance and to keep from permanently damaging. Making matters worse, the materials used to protect the surface of the VCT often trap particles of “grit” that act as a kind of “foot-powered sandpaper” on your floor.
VCT will require a constant cycle of daily cleaning, buffing, burnishing, stripping, and re-coating. It is not uncommon for a VCT floor to require stripping and waxing twice a year!
VCT will become the most expensive cheap flooring you can buy.
The labor hours required to maintain this single element of your facility can quickly become unbalanced when compared with the other needs of your building. Consider the average hospital; dirty floors are not an option. With an average square footage of 74,600 feet, bi-annual stripping and waxing will be a tremendous expenditure of labor hours, and this cost does not factor in the necessity of taking patient rooms “out of service” during the maintenance hours.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to allocate the labor and resources required to maintain a VCT floor to another need; if neglected, the floor will become extremely dirty and damaged and will have a reduced serviceable lifespan.
Better Options for Maintaining Your VCT Floor
The reality is, Xtreme Coating Solutions is not a fan of VCT flooring. We would recommend you look at other options. For example, for a moderate increase in upfront investment, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) sometimes called Solid Vinyl Tile (SVT) has a clear protective overlay that can resist scratches and stains and provides appearances that can mimic wood planks, stone, slate, or glass without the need for waxes and harsh chemicals. Concrete, rubber, wood, cork, and carpeting are also options that have stood the test of time.
However, if VCT flooring is right for you, there are options for achieving a lower cost of ownership. Firstly, specialized VCT coating products exist that will protect and enhance your floors. These specially formulated coatings will repair minor cracks and chips, improve traction, safety and shine. The coatings will protect your floors from dust, dirt, chemicals, and traffic. VCT coatings are extremely durable, eliminate the need for waxing and burnishing, and can last up to 5 years or longer.
Additionally, a scheduled, professional maintenance plan can provide savings when measured against the cost of pulling internal resources from other necessary maintenance projects. Professional service providers will know the exact specifications of your flooring product and will not use chemicals, abrasives, or burnishing techniques that are harmful to your environment. An experienced service provider can make an incredible difference in the appearance and lifespan of your VCT floor.
VCT is here to stay, and our goal is to ensure that you achieve many years of satisfaction with your flooring choice.