It is the cleaning professional's job to be the SME (Subject Matter Expert) in floor care and provide guidance in technical areas that the property manager may not understand. At times he/she will need to clarify requirements to avoid confusion in interpretation and application of cleaning requirements. 


The primary types of hard floors in many buildings are VCT (Vinyl Composite Tile), VAT (Vinyl Asbestos Tile in older buildings), Terrazzo (either Portland cement and marble chips or Epoxy with glass or synthetic chips), Quarry Tile (usually 6 or 12 inch squares with grout), ceramic tile (usually one inch square tiles in rest rooms with grout), marble, granite and slate.  In addition there may be rubber tiles, wood flooring, cork, bamboo, linoleum and other products that are coming on line in response to the green movement and sustainability requirements.  

The main point to consider is that each of these floors has different requirements due to composition and use. If the janitor can identify the types of floors in a given building prior to cleaning, he/she can develop specifications that avoid using the wrong processes on the wrong floors resulting in additional labor and reduced sustainability. Following are some examples to consider:

• Ceramic and quarry tiles are more expensive to install than VCT yet can pay for themselves over time due to reduced labor. They were not designed to be “glossy” and often a well-meaning manager or tenant will require them to be “waxed” which is usually a short term fix at best. 

• Ceramic and quarry tiles only need to be swept, mopped with clean equipment, and on occasion scrubbed to keep them looking clean and safe to walk on. Applying a water based seal to these low maintenance tiles with grout only increases labor for no justifiable reason and create future challenges in trying to restore the grout which can be permanently damaged. 

• Ceramic and quarry tile can last indefinitely if properly maintained.

If green friendly products (neutral detergents (7-9 pH) and green friendly processes (microfiber, cold water, quality walk off mats) are utilized, the grout in ceramic and quarry tiles should last much longer. 


I hope to hear from you soon.  Until then, keep it clean…..

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or