Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) are ever-increasing in popularity; in fact, LVT is the fastest growing type of flooring worldwide.
However, it is often confused with Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) and laminate flooring, which means there are lots of common misconceptions about how Luxury Vinyl Tiles should be maintained. Improper maintenance can have a significant impact on how long your Luxury Vinyl flooring lasts, and can dramatically increase the total cost of ownership.
How to Plan Your Flooring Maintenance Schedule
Your new flooring is a significant investment, and you want to keep it looking great for as long as possible. Without a proper maintenance schedule in place, you run the risk of appearance degradation, caused by dust and dirt, foot traffic, and staining.
To plan your maintenance schedule, you first need to map out your office or building, showing the different levels of foot traffic. The more foot traffic in a particular area, the more regular cleaning it will require.
All types of flooring will have regular, ongoing maintenance requirements, to remove spills and prevent staining, as well as to prevent the build-up of dirt and dust. For Luxury Vinyl Tile, regular maintenance involves sweeping and mopping, to remove dust and dirt.
Some guidelines for how often you should clean different areas (depending on levels of foot traffic) are below, but be sure to tailor them to your organization’s needs.
- High traffic areas – sweep daily.
- Medium traffic areas – sweep two or three times a week.
- Low traffic areas – sweep once or twice a week.
Exact maintenance requirements will vary from organization to organization. You may also find that your maintenance schedule varies according to the season: in winter, bad weather may mean there’s more dirt and moisture being brought into the building on people’s shoes, in which case you will need to clean more regularly than in summer (and invest in a tiered entryway system).
Luxury Vinyl Tiles have a clear, protective wear layer and are finished with a polyurethane coating which is sometimes reinforced with ceramic bead, silica bead or aluminum oxide. This protects the tiles from scuffs and stains that occur under normal usage.
Most wear layers are 20-22 mil thick, and will offer protection from foot traffic for about 5 to 7 years. Thicker wear layers (28-30 mil) can provide up to 10 years of protection, and are recommended for most high-traffic commercial spaces.
Because LVT has a protective wear layer, it doesn’t need regular waxing and polishing like Vinyl Composite Tile does. However, wear layers don’t last forever, and prolonged exposure to foot traffic will mean that it’s eventually necessary to arrange for the reapplication of a protective coating for your LVT.
The maintenance requirements for Luxury Vinyl Tiles are much less labor-intensive than Vinyl Composite Tiles and many other types of hard-surface flooring. While LVT often has a more expensive purchase price than VCT, its maintenance requirements are much lower-cost, and it will normally have a lower total cost of ownership than VCT flooring.
However, maintenance costs of hard-surface flooring will normally be more expensive to maintain compared with carpet tiles, as it’s more labor-intensive. Whenever you purchase new flooring, it’s important to consider the ongoing maintenance costs, as well as the initial purchase price.