A Guide for Cleaning and Maintaining LVT [COVID-19 Approved]
One of the primary benefits of installing LVT in your interior design project is its user friendly properties; it is incredibly easy to clean and maintain, prolonging the life of your design and your investment. This is especially important in commercial settings, as it improves not only the durability and stability of your flooring selection, but also its long-lasting look and feel.
But figuring out the proper tools and techniques needed to clean vinyl flooring to ensure it lasts well beyond its warranty can feel complicated. Thankfully, we are experts in all things LVT, and have compiled an easy-to-use guide on how to clean and maintain your LVT.
How to Clean LVT
Let’s start with the basics — what exactly is LVT?
There are many flooring options out there that claim to be the premier, top-of-the-line, commercial flooring option. But there is only one true LVT. LVT, which encompasses tile, plank, and other LVT options, is a hard surface flooring material more resilient than other hard surface options available in the commercial flooring industry today. LVT is comprised of a resilient vinyl backing, photographic film layer, emboss layer and protective coating or wear layer.
This is one of the primary reasons LVT is so easy to clean and maintain; the wear layer doesn’t require floor wax. It does, however, benefit from the use of an acrylic finish. And there’s a big difference between the two. Floor wax, which is generally derived from carnauba wax, requires special buffing equipment per application. Wax must be applied to vinyl composition tile (VCT) when first installed, which puts a finish on the VCT. VCT does not come from the factory with a finish like LVT. That finish must be stripped and rewaxed on a routine basis. This shine gives a false impression of being clean. VCT floors are widely used in schools and hospitals, with false sense that shiny means it must be clean.
Acrylic finish are typically liquids and are applied using a mop and bucket, unlike wax which is more solid and buffed onto the flooring surface. Use a finish recommended by the manufacturer for areas prone to scuffing or scratching. While it is not a requirement by any means, when applied correctly acrylic finish provides a protective barrier that can add shine and longevity to the floor.
Everyday Cleaning of LVT
Though naturally scratch, scuff, stain, and water resistant, LVT does require basic cleaning methods to best maintain. Most standard flooring cleaning tools are great for LVT — brooms, vacuums and mops all do the trick.
On a regular basis, it is best to dry sweep LVT and always tend to spills as soon as possible. By keeping debris and dirt off the floor, you can prevent scratches or scuffs. When it comes time to do a little more thorough cleaning, the best method is mopping using a two-bucket system.
A two-bucket system allows you to wash the floor with one bucket filled with a neutral cleaner and another bucket filled with clean water, thereby limiting cross contamination and ensuring you’re not spreading around dirt.
Deep Cleaning of LVT
Accidents happen, especially in a commercial setting like restaurants, hospitals, or multi-family settings. If this happens and your flooring is marked with a stain or a scratch, there are deep-cleaning methods that can help return your flooring back to its original state.
For stains, we recommend a heavy-duty flooring cleaner.
For scratches and scuffs, there are a few options at your disposal. Depending on the depth of the mark, a little buffing can sometimes do the trick. Your secondary options include applying a finish or vinyl flooring sealer after you’ve cleaned the area, as this will most likely hide any small or medium scratches. For larger scuffs, there are also spot-repair kits that can fix the problem.
How to Prevent Damage to LVT
Commercial flooring is exposed to heavy traffic and can definitely be subject to excess spills and dirt. Now that you know how to clean LVT, it’s also helpful to know how to prevent damage to your LVT. One way is to add floor castors at the bottom of chairs and tables. As chairs slide back and forth repeatedly over a floor, the floor can become worn down, but castors help prevent additional damage. Another recommendation is to use walk off mats in entryways to help with weather-related moisture, dirt and debris that would otherwise be tracked in.
How to Perform Deep Scratch and Scuff Repair
If it’s a deep scratch — like a gouge, cut, or dent — it is best to replace the piece tile-by-tile, which is a relatively easy process. When initially ordering LVT, it’s best to order an extra 5-10% of the square footage to have on hand for potential repairs. If you don’t have extra planks or tiles, it shouldn’t be a problem to order replacement pieces from the manufacturer.
Other solutions include learned tricks such as rubbing the scuff mark with a tennis ball attached to a stick or using a red pad to rub the scuff away. Deep scuff marks that damage the wear layer can be treated using an acrylic finish, which when applied correctly can help minimize the visual damage.
Frequently Asked Questions About LVT Maintenance
Whenever you have a question about the LVT used in your project or space, always consult your manufacturer’s technical specifications. Each has its own unique properties and best practices, and you don’t want to void a warranty by using damaging cleaning products. These are a few frequently asked questions about how to clean and maintain LVT.
1. Should I Use a High-Speed Burnisher on My Acrylic Finish to Bring Out the Gloss?
No. A high-speed burnisher will penetrate the wear layer into the film of your flooring and destroy it. High-speed buffing can also cause the layers to separate, causing what is known as delamination. It is recommended you buff the acrylic finish on your LVT at a slow speed in order to bring out the shine.
2. Do Certain Flooring Designs Help Hide Dirt or Wear?
With LVT, there are many design options that aid in hiding imperfections. Using LVT that has either multiple colors, shades or textures in its pattern is a great way to help visibly hide traffic lines, scratches or dust. Of course, with a light or dark-colored LVT product you’re bound to run into some staining or dirt-mark issues — however, the difference is that spills and dirt on LVT can be wiped up with ease.
An important thing to remember is that LVT, like all other hard flooring products, is susceptible to the normal wear — especially in areas of high traffic. However, unlike the many other flooring products out there today, LVT is easy to clean — no matter if it’s spills, stains, scuffs, or scratches. The key is to find ways of minimizing the damage by relying on quality finishes to protect your flooring and follow routine maintenance recommendations.
3. What products does Parterre suggest for prepping the surface?
- Rubbermaid Commercial Hygen Quick-Connect Frame
- Rubbermaid Commercial Hygen Quick-Connect Handle
- 3M Easy Trap Sweep & Dust Sheets
4. What products does Parterre suggest for disinfecting the surface?
Contact us today to learn more about why we’re an industry leader in crafting plank and tile flooring with a strong focus on clarity, durability and stability. Samples of our flooring and surface products are also available upon request.
Note: Prior to performing any of the techniques listed above, refer to your flooring manufacturer’s technical manual. For Parterre maintenance instructions, review our General Maintenance Manual.