Long a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom floors, vinyl has been locked in a long fight to fend off the intrusion of ceramic tile and hardwood into its territory.
Vinyl does have technology on its side to help in the battle, and this is an important point in any review of vinyl floor care.
About the future of vinyl
Vinyl or resilient flooring has been pushed along on a path of rapid and continual improvement. So much so, the quality of these floors available to you on the market only 10 years ago does not compare to what the industry leaders are producing today.
There has been major upgrading of surface durability and resistance to staining.
The main attractions of vinyl remain the same. Vinyl or resilient flooring is an inexpensive floor covering. Its cushioned core makes it more comfortable for your feet and legs, and that same cushioning provides an insulating value that keeps your floor surface warmer to the touch.
If you think about it, these attractions also contribute most to the major detractions.
Where good vinyl care goes bad
When establishing a floor care program for your home, be sure you understand that vinyl is a floor covering. It does not form a part of the floor’s structure and strength as is the case for other flooring materials such as ceramic tile.
Your floor covering can stretch and begin to raise up from the sub-floor in blisters or bubbles. To avoid this problem, take particular care when moving appliances on your floor.
Put down a piece of Masonite hardboard to take the load. Lift, don’t drag your table. The vinyl is held in place by a perimeter adhesive. Periodically check the bond for failure.
Real Example on Mold Under Vinyl Floors
“We discovered some water damage in our master bathroom in front of the shower stall and tub. We’ve recruited a friend to do the tile work, but Darren got started tearing out the old floor on his own. It was a bit of a job, but it needs to be done… don’t want to leave mold under vinyl flooring too long… ”
Keep an eye open for any rolling or blistering because the sooner it can be dealt with, the easier the repair will be.
With sharp utility knife, put a slice in the blister just long enough to expose the sub-floor.
Using a medical syringe, inject some adhesive into the cut, cover the area with some waxed paper then apply weight for at least six hours until the blistered area adheres to the sub-floor.
Just as the manufacturer claims, the protective top layer of no-wax film is tough.
The problem is it lays over the cushion core that makes your floor so comfortable to walk on. Sharp objects can and do bend the protective film down into the cushioning until it pierces through.
Take care to keep the protective glides on chairs in good order, place throw rugs near the dishwasher and drawers where you store kitchen knives and utensils, and don’t allow the use of high heeled shoes on your vinyl floors.
Simple repairs you should learn to do
Any cuts that may occur should be repaired before wash water and dirt leaves a dark stain. Most small cuts can be quickly repaired with liquid seam sealer.
Just clean the repair area with acetone then fill it level with seam sealer. Leave it undisturbed until dry and you won’t even know it was there.
Dents from such things as falling cans can be repaired in a similar way. Just lightly sand away any loose pieces of the clear protective layer and fill with seam sealer in the same way you would for a cut.
Sometimes, the seam where two pieces have been joined, might fail. You’ll first notice it when the edges of each sheet begin curling up. To repair this situation, heat the seam and the adhesive beneath it with a hair dryer until the edges can be pulled back enough to expose the sub-floor.
Lay a coating of vinyl adhesive on to the sub-floor and then press the vinyl down and into place. With a putty knife or scraper, gently lift off any adhesive that pushes up out of the seam. Cover the seam with waxed paper, then apply weight for about six hours until the adhesive has set. After removing the covering, apply a bead of seam sealer along the line of the seam and allow it to set.
Routine floor care is a whole lot easier
This should take care of the extreme damage that can happen to your floor. Thanks to some of the more recent product improvements, routine floor care is easier than ever.
Some vinyl manufacturers have treated the surface with Teflon to make non-stick floor cleaning a reality while others offer 3M Stain Guard protection.
All have developed durable polyurethane clear layers that will keep under colors true and surface shine sparkling for years.
Keep your floor well swept and vacuumed. It is the one sure way to keep the abrasive action of dirt and grit from grinding away at your shinny finish.
For washing and mopping never use the one step clean and shine products on the market. Waxing your floor is not necessary to keep its shine. In fact, wax will build up and turn yellow, leading to lots of extra work stripping your floor of old wax.
Don’t use harsh or abrasive cleaners. They’ll only eat away at the finish. Modern finishes are designed to release soil. Use a sponge or cotton string mop and small amount of mild dish washing liquid mixed in warm water for regular washing.
With a regular vinyl floor care plan, your floors can keep looking good for years to come.
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