A reader writes: “I have several grocery stores with Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) which are doing well. I have one unit with Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and the customer wants a shine that I cannot achieve. Any ideas?”

Based on our conversation, you are trying to treat the LVT the same as VCT, which can have serious repercussions since they are not the same and should not be maintained the same as I understand the situation. The customer was sold this product a few years ago with the premise that it would be “low maintenance,” biodegradable (a common green term), anti-microbial and attractive. What they failed to understand is that this type flooring is designed to have a low luster and even with the correct finish, it will only be a “matte” finish.

After reading the manufacturer’s directions, I noted the following points that you need to take very seriously to maintain the warranty:
1. No scrubbing/stripping for at least two years to allow the mastic to “cure.” Although that seems like a long time, it is probably water based and environmentally friendly, it will NOT withstand harsh strippers or flooding without causing the tiles to come loose.
2. You probably must use the manufacturer’s approved products for “sealing” or “finishing” once it is allowed.
3. Although the literature is not clear, it may be that using regular floor finishes and strippers could damage the flooring since it will not “breathe” and may be impacted by the high pH chemicals.
4. This also means that you should use their recommended daily cleaning products as well, at least during the warranty period.
5. You are not supposed to use a buffer higher than 600 RPM which rules out burnishing.
6. Only red pads for buffing and green for scrubbing is allowed.
7. You may need to take the customer to the product web site to explain why they cannot get a “high gloss” from this floor.
8. Make sure that your floor techs understand the difference between the LVT and the VCT products and procedures.
I highly recommend you bring in a good distributor (or better still the manufacturer’s rep) to guide you before you are accused of damaging the floor.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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 CTCG50@comcast.net.