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Vinyl trend continues

07 March 2013

Keith Robertson, training director of the National Carpet Cleaning Association, offers some advice on keeping up with the latest in vinyl floor care

Keith Robertson, training director of the National Carpet Cleaning Association, offers some advice on keeping up with the latest in vinyl floor care

Vinyl flooring materials have advanced dramatically and significantly increased importation of vinyl flooring from the Far East has provided the market with a much greater range than was the case when most products were made in Europe.

As the second decade of the twenty-first century approaches, it is now true that the specifics of the cleaning and polishing products used on a vinyl floor should be chosen according to the nature of the flooring, and it is essential that people cleaning vinyl flooring have and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning. Some products that make one class of vinyl floor shine can make others dull.

Expensive vinyl flooring products are generally thicker, softer and springier to the tread and much more resistant to staining, scratches, gouging and tearing.The best vinyl flooring also usually carries a longer and more effective warranty with fewer get-out clauses.

The customer's impression of how well any given vinyl floor lasts is usually proportional to the quality of the topmost wear layer.The thickness and nature of the wear layer varies considerably and it is virtually always thicker and less vulnerable to damage in higher priced vinyl materials.Most of the loss of shine and colour consistency in an ageing vinyl floor occurs because of microscratching by grit, sand and dirt, to which the most recently developed urethane finishes used for the wear layer are much more resistant than those used in the 1980s and 1990s.

Take care
Unfortunately it is often assumed that daily, or even weekly brushing, wiping or washing and occasional buffing is all that is required to keep vinyl in good condition. Not so.

Some vinyl floors may require thorough deep scrubbing using a rotary machine and proprietary nylon pad or suitable brush head to properly clean the floor.

Other floors may benefit from having the remaining damaged seals and dressings removed to enable bright fresh coatings to be applied. Frequently, it is not fully understood that water based emulsion dressings are added not only to enhance the appearance but also to protect the floor surface.

Dust mats at every door opening on to vinyl flooring can help a lot by reducing scratching of the surface.They can also help minimise the high amount of staining that arises from the treading in of the sealants used for tarmac driveways.

Life is hard
At the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA) almost half of the association's 600 members now list Hard Floor Care among their floor cleaning specialties.The NCCA also runs a hard floor care training course to teach members new to the industry how best to approach the maintenance and repair of vinyl.

The extent of refurbishment needed for any particular floor relates to the actual damage, the type and location of the floor.What has also improved within the last 12 months is the ability to deal with surfaces that were previously considered beyond redemption. Instead of tearing these floors out, replacing the sub-floor and supplying and laying new vinyl, it is now possible to carry out 'Full Restoration'.

Should you want to learn more about this system or if you would like more information about vinyl and resilient floor care, feel free to call Keith Robertson direct on the number in the box.

Keith Robertson is currently the training director for the National Carpet Cleaners Association. In addition, he is an IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration Certification) trainer.

He writes extensively on floor care subjects while also having run his carpet cleaning and floor care company for the last 33 years.