Should porcelain tile be sealed? In this article, we discuss both sides of this debate…
Customers call our office everyday with questions about cleaning, sealing and making their LVT floors safer against slip and fall accidents. To make things easier, we created this quick and easy set of answers on how you can care for your LVT surfaces. If we missed anything, please feel free to contact us for those answers. We’re here to help.
Details below. Click to go there now.
Section 1 - What Is LVT?
What Is Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring?
Essentially, LVT is a type of a vinyl tile that has a higher percentage of the vinyl resin in it – much higher than a standard vinyl composite tile (VCT). This higher percentage of vinyl allows the manufacturer to put much higher quality prints on the tile.
They can also emboss it and give it texture. This way, you end up with tiles that look like stone, wood or other types of hard floor material. The designs are very realistic, and you get the high-quality appearance at a much lower cost than the real hardwood or stone material itself.
LVT is also typically thicker than standard VCT, so it feels more luxurious under foot. The protective urethane layer on top makes maintenance much easier.
In fact, it helps LVT require much less maintenance than a standard VCT tile. So, if you’re looking for a stone-like floor finish, LVT is a good alternative floor tile with a lower cost.
If you like wood plank-like flooring, but don’t want the hardwood cost, you can use luxury vinyl plank. And if you want something that’s more waterproof, you can get luxury vinyl sheet, which has less seams.
You’ve got a wide selection of choices at your fingertips with LVT.
What Does A Property Owner Need To Know About LVT Maintenance?
LVT comes with a protective urethane layer, but it’s not indestructible. Eventually, you’ll need to protect it, or replace it when it is worn down. However, you shouldn’t put finishes like wax or acrylic on LVT, that require stripping down the road.
Those stripping chemicals and stripping pads will damage the following layers of LVT:
- The protective layer
- The print pattern.
Once the print layer has been damaged it impossible to recover ( get back to good). The only option is then to replace
So, even though you save money in floor maintenance by using LVT, understand that eventually the protective layer will need protection or replacement.
We also recommend you take steps to prevent scratching of the surface. Using floor-mats to trap dirt and sand at building entrances can minimize the impact of exterior debris present on shoe soles and wheels.
On furniture, it’s a smart practice to use chair glides and slides to reduce scratching while they are moved around.
Section 2 - Cleaning LVT
How Do You Clean Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring?
As stated above, even though LVT has a protective layer on top, you need to be careful about the chemicals you expose it to. At CoverTec, we recommend avoiding anything that will damage that protective layer, whether that’s:
- The cleaning solution
- Or the method used to clean the surface.
We recommend you avoid using:
- High pH, harsh chemicals
- Chlorine or Ammonia-based cleaners
- Acid based cleaners.
What Can I Use On Luxury Vinyl Tile To Clean It?
It’s important to not use any harsh chemicals on luxury vinyl flooring – whether alkaline or acidic. Either of those extreme solutions would damage the protective top layer, and possibly the printed pattern of the tile.
We recommend using pH neutral cleaners. Something like GlossClean Neutral Cleaner. It’s a neutral pH cleaner that’s excellent for day-to-day cleaning. If you prefer an eco-friendly cleaner, our Emerald Enzyme Cleaner is a microbial solution that’s perfect for vinyl floors.
If you have pets or babies, this is an especially good choice for removing food or grease stains from vinyl tile.
How to Clean Very Dirty Luxury Vinyl Tile?
As stated above, you should be using neutral cleaners to clean off stubborn stains and break down dirt on the surface.
The important thing to remember is that you must rinse the surface with clean water and extract that rinsing water as much as possible. You can use a wet vac or a damp mop to remove the residue on the tile surface.
Section 3 - Sealing LVT
Do I Need Vinyl Tile Sealer?
LVT comes with a protective urethane layer on its surface. So, you don’t need to seal the tile unless you’re trying to change the sheen or improve the slip resistance.
With that said, the protective layer of the tile will eventually wear down. Then you need to think about rejuvenating that or replacing it.
In such a case, water-based urethanes are an option, or using a nano-type protective coating.
You shouldn’t use a sealer that will require stripping and waxing of the surface. The stripping chemicals – or the pads used to strip with – will damage the LVT floor or the print.
What’s The Best Type of Sealer For Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Care?
We recommend using a water-based, urethane sealer, particularly for residential applications, where a little maintenance is required. Something like our VinylGuard Floor Sealer.
For higher traffic areas in commercial buildings, hospitals, malls, etc. we recommend our VinylDiamond Surface Protector.
It’s a heavy-duty sealer that can be maintained using buffers and burnishes, and doesn’t require a stripping and waxing to be applied on the surface.
Tips on Stripping Sealer From Vinyl Tile Floors?
It’s very important to be careful with the type of stripper you use on LVT. If you’re going to strip a sealer off Vinyl tile, use a stripper that doesn’t require machines.
Instead, use something like our FloorStrip HP Floor Stripper. You simply mop it on, let it do it’s job, then you mop it off.
with any product you use on your floors, we recommend testing it on a small area of your floor (out of plain sight) to make sure that the product concentration is not too harsh for your LVT tile.
Is there a Vinyl Floor Seam Sealer?
Typically with Vinyl tile, if you’re sealing the seams, you’ll be sealing the whole tile at the same time.
For residential applications like basements, kitchens, recreation areas, etc., you should use a water-based urethane. Something like our VinylGuard Floor Sealer.
If you’re working on more commercial, high traffic areas, we would recommend our VinylDiamond,
This product would cover both the tile and the seam, and it can be machine maintained by scrubbing and burnishing.
Do I Need To Seal Luxury Vinyl Plank Tile?
Luxury Vinyl Plank tile and LVT are basically the same product. It already comes with a protective top layer, which is applied at the factory.
As with LVT, the vinyl plank surface will eventually need to be replaced or rejuvenated. To do either of those things, follow the same guidelines above for protecting LVT.
If you want to increase the slip resistance of the luxury vinyl plank, consider using a nano coating product. Our VinylDiamond is ideal in such situations as it provides high traction, in both wet and dry conditions.
If you’re looking to increase the surface sheen, we recommend our VinylGuard. It will put a nice sheen on the floor, while making it easy to maintain… all without any stripping or waxing.
Section 4 - Slip Resistance For LVT
Is Luxury Vinyl Tile Slippery?
It depends on the surface itself. If you chose an LVT tile with a very smooth surface, then yes, it can be slippery. Some LVT tiles are embossed with a texture to simulate wood or stone surfaces. These tends to be less slippery.
How to Achieve Slip Resistant Luxury Vinyl Tiles?
If you have a smooth slippery surface, and want more traction, using VinylDiamond is a solution to consider. It’s a micro thin coating or capping that you can put on LVT to provide greater traction in both wet and dry conditions.
Stop “treading carefully” around LVT tile in your business or home. Caring for those floors can be simple. It’s all about finding the right products for the floor surface you are walking on.
As always, if you have any questions about which product is the best for your unique situation, call us at: 754-253-3401
Thanks for reading our blog post on how to care for luxury vinyl tile.