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?"

In a prior article we dealt with ceramic tile and grout lines. The next floor type you mention is new VCT (vinyl composite tiles) that should not be treated like the other surfaces in the list. Newly installed VCT should be allowed to cure after it has been rolled to flatten out the mastic underneath. Today's green mastics can be very sensitive and it is important that once the floor is ready that the "factory finish" be removed using a mild detergent and a red or blue scrubbing pad. There is no need for harsh strippers since the plastic factory finish coating is designed to protect the floor during shipping and installation. It must be removed before any seal/finish is applied since the coating prevents penetration into the pores for long term life.

One very important aspect of preparing and sealing new VCT is allowing sufficient time. Give the floor time to settle and off gas before touching it with any quantity of water or solution. When scrubbing off the factory finish, do not allow solution to sit for an extended period of time since seepage can damage the mastic underneath. Once the factory finish has been removed successfully, allow sufficient time for the floor to dry before applying seal or finish. I highly recommend allowing sufficient time for the first and second coats additional time since you want to avoid sealing in moisture.

This is a time when being in too big of a hurry can result in expensive rework.

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.