Floor Finishing Advice For Aging Surfaces
A reader asks: "We have a relatively small building that has new ceramic tiles in the rest rooms, new VCT (vinyl composite tiles) in some areas, old crumbling VCT in one room and one room with the nine inch squares which appear to be VAT (vinyl asbestos tiles). The customer wants us to apply wax to all of the floors to give it a shiny look. Any suggestions?"
We have already dealt with the first two items, ceramic tiles and new VCT. The last two items are different enough for you to give special consideration, especially the VAT (vinyl asbestos tiles) that come under OSHA guidelines. Note that I can only deal with this topic in a general way and highly encourage you to go to www.osha.gov for clear, detailed guidance on treating VAT. There can be potential health and legal repercussions in failing to follow their guidance.
As to the old crumbling tiles, we noted that although they are old twelve inch VCT (vinyl composite tile) that are obviously beyond their design life, it would not be prudent to attempt to apply floor finish or seal, much less flood the floor which could cause the tiles to come up and crumble even more. The ultimate solution to this old, damaged floor is replacement with another surface. It would not be wise to attempt to lay carpet or put down tiles over it since it could be uneven and fail to adhere. I suggest you use a soft bristle broom or appropriate vacuum cleaner wand to remove grit and debris from the surface taking care not to cause more tiles to come loose. Either re-glue (not recommended) or remove any loose tiles to reduce the chance of anyone stumbling over the uneven surface. A warning cone or sign would certainly be in order.
Only mop when absolutely necessary and go easy on any moisture.
Your comments and questions are important. 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.