VCT - finishing

Discussion in 'Cleaning, Maintenance & Restoration' started by sccobb, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    Built our house 7 years ago and had VCT tile laid. It was never finished. (Literally laid to the floor and the left). We decided to finally finish one of the floors due to some other renovation projects. We rented an orbital buffer (?) and buffed the floor with cleaner using both a coarse and fine grit pad (black abs white). We have mopped the floor with clean water. The floor has dried at there is still yellow staining between all the tiles. Is this normal? Should I try to remove the yellowing prior to applying the finisher? If so, how?

    I have added pictures showing the floor before we cleaned and after the buffing process (both faraway and up close).
     

    Attached Files:

  2. JayP

    JayP Pro Member

    To me that looks like glue that seeped up through the joints due to improper installation. You might try some mineral spirits on a rag to clean that up.
     
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  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    When I zoomed in on the 2nd picture the vct looks pitted throughout entire tile. You may need stripper and a fine scrub brush followed by plenty rinse.

    Then usually a “sealer” which will seal everything that’s already there, followed by wax coats, 5-7
     
  4. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    The finisher we purchased is an all in one product. Would you recommend a separate sealer? If so, is there a specific product?

    Thank you. I would not be surprised at all to learn the tile was improperly installed. The company that installed it also installed our LVP which was installed so poorly we received a full refund. I will try mineral spirits and see if that helps. Thank you.
     
  5. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    Before and after mineral spirits
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    That came out much better. When you seal it that’s going to prevent it from becoming any cleaner. So if it can get cleaner, now is the time.

    I only know of the ZEP products at Home Depot, not familiar with Janitorial supply house sealers just finishes and solids #’s higher solids, higher quality.
     
  7. Incognito

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

    Generally three coats of finish are applied with a mop. They recommend a light buffing between coats but I've never seen the pros do that. In the supermarkets and department stores there are more than 3 coats and it is constantly being buffed. They strip and recoat as needed. Schools do it every summer..........supposedly.
     
  8. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    I rinsed the floor with water after using spirits. Do I need to clean it further before applying finisher?
     
  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    In your first photos, the tile seemed to have a lot of small gaps. Even without gappage, you still have to be careful using products like mineral spirits that it doesn't get sucked into the gaps and contaminate the adhesive. That could cause all kinds of problems. Even water could be problematic, given that the tile adhesive was likely water-based.
     
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  10. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    For 7 years you lived on a floor that was not protected in any way. Seams never were sealed from having it waxed or coated. Very time you clean the water with what ever product you used got down into the glue. Yes it sure looks like the glue has come up in seam area. I will not blame an installer for doing it wrong when what was to be done, was not. Sorry so harsh, but I can not point any blame on installation. You are going to have a hard time getting the yellow glue cleaned off.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    It surely is our mistake to assume the floors would be installed correctly with the proper finish (we paid for sealing/finishing as a line item on our bill). We have certainly learned our lesson when selecting contractors in the future. Should we have gone behind the contractor and completed the job we paid him to do 7 years ago? Certainly. However, at the time we did not realize that the tiles were installed upside down (the waxed side of the VCT was glued down and the porous side facing up) without any type of protective finish. We were young and naive and assumed the contractor was reputable. He and his crew were not so we are now left to fix their mistakes to the best of our ability because we could not get a refund 7 years ago and can’t afford to replace the floors now.

    So rather than criticize what we should have done it would be helpful to provide guidance on how we can make the floors look as good as possible with their current condition.
     
  12. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    You never mentioned that the tile was laid upside down until now. How can you tell after 7 years? If you got a refund for the LVP based on poor workmanship, why wasn't the VCT called into question? Why wasn't something done to finish (or have finished) the VCT before 7 years had passed?

    Not all of your replies have been critical of you. There have been suggestions. But you also didn't provide complete information either. VCT installed upside down will have the factory applied finish going against it when it comes to a proper bond to the adhesive.

    You may have done all you can do to remove the staining without causing more damage. We don't know how you used the mineral spirits or the water, so we've got no idea if that will work or not. But the photo makes it look better. Now all you can do, short of complete replacement, is a proper VCT sealer and VCT floor finish on top of that. No all-in-one product has ever been the best solution to any serious problem. Cheaper, yes; less labor intensive, yes; best procedure, absolutely not.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Once that glue comes up in the seams it will forever. Now you put paint thinner in the joints so it will be happening for sure. It needs replaced to get it right, everthing else is fruitless. You would need to neutralize the thinner with some stripper of some kind to start sealing it or it might not take. Talk to a local cleaning company in your area that sells that kind of product and knows how to use it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    It wasn’t my intention to withhold information. I just didn’t think the entire flooring debacle story was necessary to get feedback on what to do next. I see now that it would have been helpful. We did reach out to other local contractors about having the floor repaired but anyone who is willing to touch it wants $700+ and, unfortunately, we just can’t afford that for a 12x14 room. So, we have opted to do the best we can ourselves until we can do a full replacement in a few more years.

    Is there a sealer that you recommend? We don’t mind having to purchase 2 products but we don’t know what to buy.

    The LVP was refunded because the manufacturer is local and came to our home and verified it was faulty due to improper install and not the product. The VCT was not a local product and the manufacturer and dealer refused to correct the issue despite our complaints. We know the tile was laid upside down because each room had 1-2 tiles that were laid right side up and you can see the difference. See the attached picture of the tile in another room.

    In regards to cleaning, I dust the floor weekly and use a steam mop. Monthly I use a neutral floor cleaner with a dampened sponge (not a mop) to avoid over saturating the tile. These were the instructions given when we bought the tile so hopefully the cleaning hasn’t caused more issues.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    I am sorry I was harsh on my first post. But with the info you gave at that time, it was not an installation issue. Now with the new information it would be. My question is , you said they refunded your money, why did you not change it then instead of waiting 7 years? To try and make what you have look better, you will need to get a commercial wax and put at lest 3 coats on it. The first coat will soak into the tile.
     
  16. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    We definitely should have addressed it when the refund check came. Unfortunately it took almost a year of fighting to have it refunded and by that time we had moved in and had other life events happening. Thanks for the info on a commercial wax. I will make sure we finish the floor with a stronger, more durable product!
     
  17. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Maybe @Elmer Fudd would chime in. Many years ago Ray Thompson, then with Armstrong, told a story of a big job (in the 10's of thousands of feet) installed upside down. Armstrong guided them through a process to apply finish to the flooring surface.
     
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  18. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    It’s not an aesthetically pleasing floor, you could put a floating floor over it.

    My utility room has it for 5 years now, decided yesterday we’ll follow through entire house with porcelain plank.
     

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  19. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    That steam mop could have contributed to your problem. It's only purpose is to provide profits to the manufacturer and retailer. It only looks like it cleans your floor. What it actually does is force water vapor into places it should never be.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  20. sccobb

    sccobb Member

    Good to know! Thank you.
     
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