Need to Clean Tire Marks from Super Dirty VCT

Discussion in 'Cleaning, Maintenance & Restoration' started by Fnsh1st, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Fnsh1st

    Fnsh1st New Member


    I have a 30,000 ft warehouse that is covered it VCT Flooring, forklifts have been driving on the floor and have left tire rubber on the floor. now we would like to repurpose the area and clean it up, can the VCT be deep cleaned some how or do we need to replace the CVT to make it nice again.
    We have tried different cleaning products and it does not seem to touch the rubber, the dirt gets cleaned somewhat. it seems as if the only way would be to take a sander to the floor, and then polish it, then seal it.
    Suggestions would be appreciated
  2. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    It might be possible to do something with it. I'd try a red pad on a flooring machine with a good ammoniated stripper. Just be careful that the pH on the stripper doesn't get above a 9 or 10 and you should be ok. If the pH is too high it could cause the adhesive to soften and release and you'll have a much bigger problem to deal with. Try a small area first and see what you think. There is one step above a red pad and that's a black pad. If red doesn't work you could try black on a small area. Just be careful as the black is so aggressive it might leave permanent scratches in the flooring which would lead to further breakdown of the VCT.

    It may take a couple of times with a rinse in between to get it.

    The only problem you've got is that some of those marks may never come out because rubber and vinyl don't play well together chemically and staining may have already occurred. The staining is a result of the petroleum chemistry of the rubber and the esthers (oils) in the VCT that give it's resiliency or ability to "rebound". Once the staining occurs it cannot be reversed. It's similar to what happens with "asphalt tracking".

    If you're able to get it clean enough that you're satisfied with it, I'd strongly suggest looking at changing the tires on the lifts to the white, non-marking kind. Those are what we use in our warehouse where we roll out vinyl to be cut for customers. They're much cleaner and a different rubber compound.

    Good luck with it and hope it helps.
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  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Good question. What’s the new purpose? The vct is also gouged so the deep scratches will most likely not be scrubbed out with a pad, bristle scrubber may not either.

    There are diamond impregnated pads that can go on ride on scrubbers which when dirt is loosened it should be extracted. I see large ride on scrubbers the size of cars on auction.

    Why did the forklifts need vct to ride on?

    At a milk plant where the container and ink were applied some spilled on the vct staining it. I was sent to replace various areas. Some were under equipment, stainless legs on top etc. I decided to diamond grind the stains out which worked well. They dressed the place up for the selling of the corporation.
  4. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member


    what he said

    pretty sure you're going to need to go PAST the heavy grit abrasive cleaning pads and give actual sandpaper a chance

    I'd lay odds 20-50 to one against you being able to salvage that VCT for anything other than a greasy warehouse floor.
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Started to work on vacuum I looked at my vct in the utility room. Wanted to get the scrubber out to see how clean I could get it. When I replaced a few at the door that my ride on scraper broke loose you can see the color change new vs old. Wife said wow like I did a good job, no, wow was for the other tile I bought was beige but different brand/pattern she said the other doesn’t match better?

    They’re like 60-70 cent each? At Lowe’s, thought I remember in the 90’s they were like 15 cent.

    That crap will be coming out. Carpet tile or porcelain plank not sure.

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  6. Fnsh1st

    Fnsh1st New Member

    All great ideas, I will try a couple in small areas before replacing it all, I do not need it office clean as there will still be a need to run heavy materials into the room. the odds don't sound good though.
    The Area used to be a clean room with very light aerospace manufacturing, it was then converted to general warehouse storage space with racking, we just let it go not thinking we would never want to bring it back to looking OK.
    I never ever even considered that forklift tires could be purchased that are non marking. those could be in my future if I replace the floor.
    Than you all for chiming in.
  7. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    VCT over VCT is really an extremely cheap and easy installation solution that would most likely be faster, easier and cheaper than trying to refurbish that shitstain you've now got.

    12 grit sandpaper over that horrid mess for about 1 hour per thousand square feet and then a Kleensweep or vacuum up the dust will give you and ideal substrate-----ASSUMING your existing VCT is very well bonded. I'd do that before even considering trying to clean that up.

    Go all around with a hammer or golf ball tapping or bouncing to HEAR if the existing VCT is "down like iron" or just barely laying there with gravity as the main bonding force.
  8. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’m kinda disgusted with black tire marks. My truck in customers driveways, my hand trucks which I converted to non marking, they’re still black though and I called the American made manufacturer if they have them in grey which I recently found. Got a set of blues for a cart I’m having made. It’s just not acceptable. This driveway was today, I’d be ok if customer called me yelling their driveway is marked up and they want it cleaned. I’d say give it a few weeks and I’ll be by if it doesn’t fade away.

    Most tires I buy now are Urethane non flat non marking. Mower, carts, whatever possible.

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  9. epoxyman

    epoxyman Pro Member

    Yea on our epoxy floors the Plasticizers
    In some of the cheaper tires leave marks all over our floors.
  10. Tom Potter

    Tom Potter I Support TFP

    People crack me up about their damn driveways. I know a couple people like that, my neighbor being one. During a snowstorm I seen him out there snow blowing & went over to offer to hit it with my plow. He politely declined saying he wouldn't want a plow to touch his driveway. I said ok, just wanted to offer & not be the ass that waves at someone shoveling or snow blowing when they drive by with a plow.
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  11. flrguy89

    flrguy89 Pro Member

    Really good suggestions here. I think you may want to do some math here. Hypothetically VCT can get installed in open areas for between .35 to .50 soft and cost less than .40. You can probably get down a new floor for about $1 to $1.50 depending on how you structure the deal. Labor only or labor and material. To deep clean scrub, wet vac dirty water, rinse and Re finish you’re probably close to the same cost, that’s if your lucky to get that clean first go around. From the looks of that floor, you won’t be that lucky. If you are going to try the cleaning route I don’t think the red pad is going to do it. But first we need to know what red pad and who’s because different manufacturers use different colors. For the sake of simplisity let’s say 3m pads, who do have a red pad which is considered a 5100. This is for light soil so I’d say that option is out. Next up would be a greenish 5000 pad for heavier soil and reasonably abrasive. This may be a good start with a heavy duty cleaner and as mentioned less than 10 on ph. Be sure to let the solution sit on surface to allow penetration and release soil, maybe 7 to 10 minutes. Then scrub with your low speed buffer, not high speed burnished, really critical to remove dirty water and solution with extractor to remove dirt. May have to repeat. Next is to bump abrasion and use Blue cleaner pad 5300 and repeat as above. This would be least abrasive and chemical harsh option. Then once cleaned and dried you have to Re coat with finish. See how this can get costly. All else fails, yes you can sand but you’ll have to use a liquid like cleaner or water to keep down dust and still extract as above. Looks like that 2nd layer of VCT may be worth considering, or depending on repurpose of area, a floating floor.
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  12. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Something that we haven't really addressed if it's going to be replaced is the fact this is a warehouse space. I would bet money that there is no intact vapor retarder under this slab. It's simply not done for warehouse type spaces as the thought of installing flooring in those areas is not typically on the radar. I deal with this scenario quite often where a warehouse is purchased and someone now wants to put offices in or convert the space to something besides warehouse space and they want to install flooring.

    What I'm getting at is installing over this particular installation could come back to bite you.

    Do you know if the current installation is installed with black adhesive?

    Here's where my head is - if the current installation is installed with solvent based cutback (typically black adhesive) then that adhesive is most likely tolerating - to a certain extent - the moisture issue that is potentially lurking below. Since you can no longer purchase cutback adhesive due to the air quality regulations we have today, you're now going to install over this product with a latex / acrylic based adhesive which is much more sensitive to moisture emissions from the slab. You may cause / compromise that existing installation and or end up with a dis-bondment as the vapor emissions accumulate between the two floors at the layer of the new latex acrylic adhesive. This moisture will then possibly re-emulsify this new water based layer of glue and the new tile could potentially begin to release.

    I have had experiences where this near exact scenario has occurred. A local hospital that I do quite a bit of business with purchased an existing warehouse facility several years ago and decided to install flooring - 3 months later it all had to be removed because there was no vapor retarder under the slab. The floor had to be abated and then new flooring installed.

    I had another one in a factory where a new addition warehouse was added. They changed some things around and a couple of training rooms were installed in this new addition and they put rubber tile down, again about 3 months later the flooring had to be removed and replaced due to moisture related failure.

    Not trying to scare you, just want you to be aware of the potential issues. I would highly recommend BEFORE you do any installation of new product that the floor be properly tested for Rh to see where things stand. My gut is telling me - looking at the pictures - that the installation is installed with old solvent based cutback. The old adhesive will work as a sort of quasi vapor retarder - but it's not really designed for that and there is no way of knowing to what extent it will continue to do so if covered with another layer of flooring. Kind of like putting the lid on a bucket of adhesive you stop the evaporation process and now things begin to build up and whamo! big problem.

    Just would hate to see you have an issue when all your trying to do is get a clean floor!
  13. flrguy89

    flrguy89 Pro Member

    Very valid points and was probably just done without any testing because as we know at a couple pennies on the dollar the risk reward factor lends itself to the VCT install. Same here, certainly would benefit to look at numbers to clean properly, not just from cost of goods but also time of labor. That’s why the second install may be cheaper than an actual full on cleaning regimen. Then you’re back where you started from a long term maintenance situation. Not saying to bypass testing as that’s always the proper way to go. But, if it is high is someone really going to put up $$$$$$ for a complete mitigation system with self leveling for an acceptable substrate. Lots of options , at least you can go into this knowing all the options to be weighed.
  14. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

  15. flrguy89

    flrguy89 Pro Member

    I’d have to dedicate some time to look into that adhesive and as always best to call their tech dept. As for the existing adhesive, if during the maintenance an extractor was used as I mentioned I wouldn’t be overly concerned as that’s was done at every school around the country when kids are out for the summer and the flooring gets stripped and finished for the new school year. Extraction would remove a great deal of the water. As for moisture from beneath,(RH). I’d say, again say, because it’s not testing, it may be a safe calculated risk to not be overly concerned. Again, testing is always best because you have a difinative answer. I’d ask more about how long it’s been down and the ambient conditions because the problem with high rh is more relevant to the emmisions or (MVER) moisture vapor emmisions rate which is what you are actually measuring with the CC test. As moisture gets carried out it actually brings with it the alkalis which over time increase resulting in high PH which is what will actually begin to break down adhesive, ultimately leading to complete failure. Now in my limited knowledge, if ambient is under control, MVER is also stable over a long period of time, hence how long has this been down, the substrate could be at an equilibrium where all should be good. Above is all theoretical and is what I would explain to the end user. Of course, the conversation would end with the, right thing to do is test the floor and according to those results you can determine if mitigation is necessary and offer solutions. Best practice is xyz, begin least expensive and move toward proper full proof installation. Then you hear the famous last words. “Yeah but, we don’t have that in our budget”. At this point I’ve done my job. Assessed, educated, offered recommendations, and my customer is making an educated decision. All I can do and sleep good at night.
  16. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Hi Mike, hope you had a great Turkey Day!

    I would still have concerns. If you notice it is latex modified and only has a max Rh of 80%. This is lower Rh tolerance than most of the clear thin spreads available. Henry's has a similar product called 130 that is a "black emulsion" type of adhesive. They don't have the solvent's that made the old cut-back adhesives stand up to moisture and more importantly the pH that comes along with the moisture. If they did, trust me, everybody and their brother would be using them.

    Just to be clear I'm not saying that installing VCT over VCT will not work in this situation, just that there are some unknowns that could be significant and that given the size of the job rolling the dice without doing the proper testing would / could be a bit dangerous.

    Also, to address flrguy89's question about cost of abatement; doing an epoxy system with self leveling and shot blasting is not the only way to assure that you can cover 100% Rh. There are adhesive systems - Aquaflex for example, Baseking's Envirostix is another - that offer 100% Rh coverage with a full warranty at much less cost and without adding several additional layers to the subfloor that are potential points of failure. While epoxy systems are tried and true, the adhesive technologies out there are slowly catching up and offer a much simpler solution to the problem.

    I'm a firm believer that generally the simplest solution is usually the best as long as it works.

    Several others that warrant 99% such as WF Taylor and SprayLock could also be possible solutions at an even lower price point. These aren't fly by night companies, but companies with long track records who stand behind their products. The key is to do the testing so you know what your up against. It would also be advisable to do a core of the slab to determine if there is a vapor retarder in place. I sincerely doubt it, but removing guesses on a job this size helps remove potential risk for everybody involved.
  17. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published


    I'll share something with you on that adhesive and it holds true for the Henry's 130 as well. If you notice they term it in their literature a "value" adhesive. The reason they have these two adhesives is because it has a wider margin for success of not staining if you're going over old cutback residue due to the chemistry being more compatible with cutback.

    When guys don't want to scrape all the way down to that brownish yellow nicotine stain of the old cut back, they can do a more cursory removal, leaving more of the old glue down. Leaving more of the old glue down means a greater risk of staining occurring due to the incompatibility of the old cut back and the newer clear thin spread adhesives. In other words, less steps so less labor = "value".

    I can tell you with certainty though that these adhesives, while similar looking to cut back, do not offer the same moisture and pH resistance that cutback did. When the last pail of S-89 was sold, that was the end of an era! :)
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  18. flrguy89

    flrguy89 Pro Member

    I’m familiar with the systems you are. Talking about and each has a pro and con that’s would be debatable and have to be addressed with cost. Yes there are other ways of dealing with high rh but you have to recognize the application and potential risks of the systems you bring. Please don’t take this as a challenge as I am not looking to turn this into a debate. Again All have pros and cons. Aquaflex is basically still and adhesive with a price tag and needs a proper substrate to bond to and open and working times demand attention. Not just going to gue up,a giant area and come back after lunch oe in the morning and blast out a huge area. That cost money. Envirostix is a double face membrane that requires a primer. Ok, but what’s the cost of a double install and primer before VCT install? Spray lock is kind of like a or a sealant that would be applied to the substrate so you’d have to remove the existing flooring and provide a porous surface probably say a SP of at least 2 or 3. That’s goin to take some work, and spray lockmwould create a non porous substrate which may or may not be ideal for production work.
    Again, I’m just sharing some thoughts and things to consider. Tons of options and best to educate ourselves on all the variables.
  19. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Turkey day was good Chuck, wife’s friend brought over couple of dishes. I pressure washed the outside for paint but it’s chalky and I need to call a tech line.

    So we were doing a school repair with moisture issues and I have issues. Breach of barrier means RH test is irrelevant no? The test is concrete within an envelope. If moisture comes from underneath it then becomes a volume issue no? When you build on a swamp it doesn’t disappear if you put a retainage ditch nearby.

    And the RH issue. 99% means once it turns into water (100%)the warranty is over? I see kickin and scratchin until some people relent to incognitos world. Remove,shotblast,koster,skimcoat
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  20. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Flrguy89, great information as well!

    Believe me when I say that I know what your saying is absolutely 100% true and what happens more often than not in the real world.

    To offer some perspective on my trepidation or erring towards the side of caution. Many more times than I would ever wish on my worst enemy I have found myself sitting in a room full of suits with legal teams (yes I'm being literal) after a job that one of my customers has had go sideways trying to defend them and keep them from a huge financial loss and in some cases from even losing their businesses because they skipped some simple thing to try and save a trifling amount of money in the overall scheme of things has made me take that approach.

    I have literally been involved with claims well into 6+ figures because somewhere along the line somebody decided to skip a few hundred dollars worth of testing or use a different adhesive than what the manufacturer recommended because of a $5.00 per bucket difference. I can tell you that in every one of those situations that flooring contractor would gladly give double what they saved to get themselves out of that predicament. It's the evil nature that our commercial - low bid paradigm forces on us daily. :)

    I certainly don't take what you're saying as a challenge in any way. Everyone's opinion is welcome here. We all learn from each other. That's why Jim built this place.

    With regards to the SprayLock, I wasn't referring to their SprayLock CP (Concrete Protection), I was referring to their spray adhesives which would drop the costs (adhesive cost would be approximately .15 to .18 per sf) significantly and still provide Rh protection up to 98%. No surface profiling would be necessary. I know that Envirostix which is typically going to cost the dealer between $1.25 and $2.00 per sf is going to probably be an unrealistic option for this particular application for the same reason.

    Where my concern really stems from for this particular job is that this is a warehouse, as I previously sited they don't traditionally build warehouses with the thought that they may some day put floor covering in them. They are generally intended to be bare or sealed concrete. In looking at the OP's pic what concerns me is the "picture framing" around the tile. While you would certainly expect to see darkening from dirt around the tile, when you look at the picture closely it appears that there has been some "glue ooze" that occurred at the tile joints. You can see little spots along the joints where the glue appears to be blobbed up and holding dirt and then it's been spread out slightly from the forklift traffic This is indicative of a moisture problem. Now the two things that could cause that would be either flooding and letting the cleaning solution dwell too long and/or too high of a pH cleaning solution when doing maintenance or slab moisture. Given the state this floor is in, I would doubt they are over maintenancing the floor, so my assumption is slab moisture. Seeing that, I felt obligated to mention it. Hopefully that helps explain my thinking. And again, no issues on my side.
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