Top Ways to Care for Your Luxury Vinyl Tile After Installation

Today we are examining top luxury vinyl tile (LVT) care and cleaning tips as this highly sought after flooring option offers the perfect combination of durability and affordability when properly maintained.

LVT is popular in healthcare settings, schools, and commercial spaces. It has gained traction over vinyl composite tile (VCT) because it is a much lower maintenance application that has a long lifespan.

According to Healthcare Facilities Today for one school, the switch from VCT to LVT saved them $77,941 within 10 years.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX

Why is LVT Popular for both Designers and Facility Managers?

Luxury vinyl floors can provide any space with the rich look of natural materials such as hardwood or stone.

“We encounter designers who like to regularly specify LVT on new construction and remodels due to the extensive design possibilities offered in addition to the finishes,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “As it is a low maintenance product, it also appeals to facilities owners and their maintenance management teams.”

LVT

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial

While it is a very forgiving flooring application, LVT does come with a few challenges. Proper maintenance is a key factor and it’s important that the designated care company or facilities team is educated about the application properties and what cleaning approaches are best to use.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips

LVT comes equipped with a wear layer, which can get damaged or scratched with regular wear. As a result, many manufacturers suggest simple protection such as pads under furniture and chairs to mitigate scratches and dents.

As LVT is often textured as it is designed to simulate real surfaces like hardwood or stone, it can be harder to clean. However, these patterns and ridges are helpful in terms of slipping, skidding and offer better slip-resistance over a smoother floor surface such as porcelain or ceramic.

LVT care

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX Headquarters

Most of the LVT manufactures recommend a regular dust mopping and wet cleaning to maintain the appearance and lifespan in addition to a cleaner that is near neutral pH for regular wet cleaning.

Caring for LVT – Maintenance Schedules

Newly installed LVT may look like it’s made from hardwood, but care and maintenance require a different approach. There are several different ways to care for LVT over the course of its lifespan.

Commercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – LVT Routine Maintenance

For routine maintenance, LVT simply requires a vacuum or dust mop. This will help to prevent debris from grinding into and marking LVT’s surface layer. If there are any liquids spilled, they should be mopped up or wiped away immediately using a cleaner specifically for LVT floors. Wet mopping can be applied daily or weekly depending on traffic levels and precipitation in the area.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, Layers of LVT

The wear layer varies in terms of thickness and it’s important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application at hand or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear.

Whenever cleaning LVT always start in dry mode, sweeping away the loose dirt and debris from your floors prevents it from getting stuck to your mop when it’s time for a deeper clean. A vacuum cleaner in place of a broom also works well if the bare floor setting is used.

Commercial Flooring TorontoCommercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Periodic Maintenance

This will again depend on traffic, however periodically your LVT should be cleaned using a neutral cleaner and auto scrubber and then rinsed with water.

If required, this can be followed by buffing to remove scuffs. This is one reason that routine maintenance is important as it will prevent the dirt from being ground into the flooring surface by the scrubber.

Following these steps will protect your LVT and keep the flooring properties intact. However, there are certain thing that should not be used when caring for LVT.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Chemical Use

According to Multi-Clean, traditional neutral floor cleaners are often recommended for cleaning LVT flooring. “Owing to their mild nature, these conventional products may not provide the cleaning horsepower needed to clean textured LVT surfaces. Dirt tends to collect in the low spots of the textured surface making it hard to clean while detracting from overall appearance.”

However, the company goes on to say that modern technology is allowing neutral cleaners to be strengthened using naturally occurring enzymes that help break down soils.  These bio-enzyme cleaners are still near neutral in pH but exhibit better overall cleaning performance.  Like neutral floor cleaners, the bio-enzyme cleaners don’t leave a significant residue and do not require rinsing. Owing to their better cleaning performance, these cleaners can be classified by UL for slip resistance.

LVT care and maintenance

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial LVT

In a recent Mannington Commercial article the company states “LVT does not need a floor finish therefore, we see a reduction of chemistry, water, and man-hours in maintaining these floors. In fact, we’ve found we can successfully reduce chemical and water use by 40 percent when the right products and processes are implemented.”

Mannington recommends a microfibre mop as it doesn’t absorb liquids, unlike flat mops or string mops which hold a lot more chemicals, which leads to over saturating the floor. This can leave a residue that the company states can attract more soil and creates a cyclical process, contaminating areas that don’t have foot traffic as dirty water is pushed around.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – What to Avoid

  • Never use any ammonia-based cleaners as it can end up damaging and cracking the vinyl flooring.
  • Never steam-clean vinyl flooring as the heat can cause LVT to warp
  • Never use anything that is abrasive such as steel wool or harsh scrubbers as it can permanently damage the tile beyond being able to be buffed out. This will also increase the lifespan of the flooring

Scratching of LVT flooring is a real possibility. Applying a rejuvenator to the flooring can hide existing scratches and other blemishes while protecting the floor from further scratching. Best of all, the rejuvenator makes floors easier to clean. The protector is an ultra-thin shield that doesn’t build up on LVT flooring.

While some facilities may apply a conventional floor finish to LVT this is considered an option and not recommended as there can be a build up over time on the finished floor which eventually will affect how it looks and performs.

Mannington also states using the same old chemicals, equipment and techniques aren’t an effective cleaning solution on newer hard surface floors like LVT or resilient sheet vinyl.

LVT

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, LVT looks like stone

Mannington offers Quantum Guard Elite and Quantum Guard HP, a proprietary technology that is naturally stain resistant and requires no-polish maintenance that significantly reduces overall life cycle cost and total cost of ownership. “If you’re a facilities manager struggling to see results after cleaning your floor with old techniques, consider switching to the right microfiber pad, water, and a bit of agitation to solve the problem with even heavily soiled flooring products,” states the company.

There are several options when it comes to LVT flooring maintenance depending on a many different factors including traffic. Your reputable flooring contractor will assist you with the best maintenance approach for your specific situation.

See our other news articles outlining how to protect your flooring investment as we profile different applications throughout the remainder of the year.

For a free consultation on your next LVT flooring installation please contact us here.

 

 

Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractors: 8 Critical Things to Look For

Finding a reputable commercial flooring contractor may seem like a daunting task, however, it’s not difficult if you know what to look for. It’s important to do your due diligence which extends beyond  a simple Google search.

There are many things to consider to ensure your final installation choice is a sound one. Reputable commercial flooring contractors have a proven track record in delivering a variety of solutions for distinct commercial spaces. Professionals with this expertise understand the challenges and demands of different types of projects spanning from renovations to new builds. They will be able to handle all aspects from design right through to installation.

A reputable commercial flooring contractor will be the one who will offer options, point out pitfalls and educate you so that your project is a success. Below we have outlined 8 key things to look for that will ensure your needs are met and that the project is a success – including the firm’s longevity, past history, product knowledge and overall service offering.

1. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Shows Project Work and Shares References

Finding a contractor is more than a Google search that offers options nearest you. A firm with a good reputation and references to share is a good first start.

Natural Stone Commercial Flooring Toronto

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring IMAX installation

You will want to ensure that they are adept at surveying the location in question and how that relates to the type of flooring to be installed. They will examine any possible flooring concerns through an initial onsite meeting.

2. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stays on Time and on Budget

Your contractor will help in evaluating product performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

reputable commercial flooring contractors

Make sure your contractor will ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

Proposals should provide line item budgets that capture the detail of site preparation and installation factors, post installation maintenance and the many details that make a job unique. This approach ensures the tracking of the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle which will be important for staying on time and within budget parameters.

3. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Manages Resources On Site

Ensure your reputable commercial flooring contractor uses qualified installers and will designate a project manager that will be on site to monitor the project as it unfolds. A seasoned team is required to work with other on-site trades to ensure efficient co-ordination of activities. There are complexities associated with scheduling when combined with working with a variety of different trades that can affect day to day outcomes.

Acoustic Flooring Toronto

Qualified installers are critical to project success.

When there are no gaps in communication it will help to alleviate problems before they occur and allow your contractor to suggest alternatives and recommendations. This ensures that your requirements are efficiently and effectively executed.

4. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has Good Product Knowledge

It’s important for commercial flooring contractors to have positive and long-standing relationships with the manufacturer’s brands they carry. True flooring specialists will have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. For example we deal with Mohawk Group, Mannington CommercialMilliken and Tarkett, amongst other manufacturers.

Understanding the challenges associated with life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance are issues that require consideration. Installing the wrong product can create many issues. Prior to installation, a good flooring contractor will help with providing product characteristic data which will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

5.  A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Minimizes Disruption and Downtime

Reputable commercial flooring contractors will look for ways to minimize or eliminate downtime and disruption.  Darwin Fisher offers technology called Levitate –  an Office Lifting System that allows carpet to be replaced with no downtime. Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are raised the carpet is quickly and easily installed without disruption to employee workstations.

6. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has A Warehouse to Help Lower Costs

Having a warehouse is also an important value add. The flexibility and functionality of a warehouse helps improve customer service, lower costs and offers the availability to have the right products delivered, at the right place and time. It can also be used to  store products that need longer lead times when being shipped from overseas. It is also helpful if there are several iterations of a larger project which require the phasing in of a variety of flooring materials, and longer-term storage is needed.

commercial flooring contractors toronto

Having a warehouse helps to reduce costs/logistical issues related to scheduling, while managing inventory.

7. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Understands Manufacturer Warranty

Inquire about after sales and installation service. Reputable contractors with good relationships with manufacturers will be registered and understand warranty information as an authorized dealer.

8. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stands Behind Completed Work

Your contractor should  be with you every step and long after the project is complete. If there are any issues after installation, a good contactor will stand behind their work and remedy the problem.

Go further than a simple Google search. Ensure your chosen contractor has  experience, longevity, is financially stable and can offer an array of past projects and references. This will ensure your satisfaction and project success.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

 

 

5 Critical Tips for Your Next Carpet Tile Installation

There are five critical tips for successful carpet tile installation. If you are planning a new office space or redesigning an existing one, your organization’s requirements will involve several considerations. Here’s how to make a more informed decision about your investment, ranging from moisture issues to employee health.

1.Carpet Tile and Moisture

The first factor to consider is whether the site in question is newly constructed or a renovation. This will determine the type of carpet tile required and what solutions make the most sense for that area.

For example, under ideal conditions a newly-poured four-inch concrete slab takes four to five months to be fully ready to accept flooring.

Commercial Carpet Tile Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher Entertainment One carpet tile installation

As construction schedules don’t allow for the time required for concrete to cure, the carpet tile installed is one that must be able to handle rising water vapour. It’s a good idea to install modular carpet tile products have been designed to manage subfloor moisture vapor through an open-cell cushion backing.

Unlike hard backed tiles, these types of systems allow for water vapour to travel through the open-cell cushion and up the seam. It is then able to naturally evapourate through the edges of the carpet tile as it surfaces. If the water vapour isn’t allowed to evaporate condensation occurs which can lead to various problems including, lifting carpet, mould and mildew and potentially poor office air quality.

If the project is a renovation, properly preparing the floor and removing the existing flooring to lay the new carpet tile is the first step. The job may require grinding the floor and removing existing adhesives.

Products available for various manufacturers can easily be installed over existing adhesives to  completely obscures any surface irregularities, whereas these types of surface issues may show through hardback carpet after installation.

2. Carpet Tile and Reduced Downtime

Carpet tiles can be easily installed and do not require the dismantling of office systems or employee workstations. When installing carpet tile there is no need to lift furniture in contrast to broadloom, ceramic or hardwood flooring.

carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher corporate office carpet installation

Darwin Fisher’s secret weapon is Levitate, an Office Lifting System that eliminates downtime and disruption while saving money. Levitate is a technology that allows carpet to be replaced with little or no downtime.

Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are lifted the carpet is easily installed.

Levitate office lifting system enables users to re-carpet occupied office areas providing significant savings in time, cost and eliminates employee disruption and relocation. There is no need for disconnection and reconnection of computers, cables, phone lines or other equipment.

The cost savings that Darwin Fisher provides its clients using this system is in excess of 50% as Levitate eliminates the need for computer technicians, staff relocation, furniture specialists and other budget intensive resources required with other types of flooring.

3. Carpet Tile and Durability

Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no attic stock available.

carpet tile maintenance Toronto

Carpet tile spot removal and cleaning

Once your carpet tile is installed it is easy to change out any specific areas wear and tear areas or to spot clean for spills. This will help promote the longevity of your investment.

4. Carpet Tile and Investment

Yes, you can take it with you when you go. After installation you can protect your investment long term. If there is a future requirement to move locations, carpet tile can be easily lifted, removed and re-installed at a new site. At Darwin Fisher, we’ve had clients move their tile and number the tile so that it can be re-installed the same way it came up it was lifted.

Carpet tile has a long lifespan and if it is well maintained well you can realize a return on your investment for many years to come. Colour matching technology also have gotten much more accurate with time so that if a certain colour of tile is purchased years before and a new space needs to be carpeted there is the opportunity to match the older installation to the newer area.

5. Carpet Tile and Employee Health

Independent research reveals  cushion backing in carpet tile decreases muscle fatigue for the people who stand for long periods.  This helps to ensure employees reap the benefits of  improved comfort and the cumulative benefit may have an impact on overall health.

Commercial carpet tile Toronto

Darwin Fisher IMAX carpet tile installation

More good news for your employees. Acoustically, cushioned carpet tiles are also quieter than hard floors or hardback carpet. As a result, sound is contained and a quieter office space can be realized making for a more relaxing workspace.

For more information about carpet tile installation and how to protect your investment, please contact info@darwinfisher.com