If you are not a construction whiz, you’ve probably never heard of VCT tile, but you have definitely seen it! In fact, it’s one of the most popular flooring options out there.
So, what is it?
VCT stands for “vinyl composition tile”, but it can also be called “vinyl composite tile” or even “variegated composite tile”.
So, what exactly does “composite” mean?
That’s a fancy way of saying that the tile is made out of a bunch of different things – like vinyl, fillers, and resins. Most of the time, these ingredients will be ground into tiny particles, then heated together with special tools to create a tile shape.
What do these tiles look like?
Typically, VCT tile is sold in 12-inch squares that are about 1/8” thick.
Just to look at them, though, you would not be able to tell that they are composites. In fact, you can use these tiles to design just about any room – big or small – because they come in virtually every color and pattern. Plus, they can even be specially embossed so that they have different textures to them. When you buy quality VCT tile, it’s hard to tell them apart from other, more expensive types of flooring!
And, you can use these tiles to create unique flooring designs – like using different-colored tiles to put your company’s logo on the floor of your office’s lobby.
So, how can VCT tile help you?
Like other types of vinyl, VCT is cheap. In fact, it is much cheaper than other types of flooring – and it is even cheaper than other types of vinyl! That’s because those fillers and resins help to keep costs lower than pure vinyl.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get new floors, VCT tile prices will make you smile. Generally, you can buy it for less than $1 per square foot. Then, you can expect to pay less than $1 per square foot to install it. If your existing floor needs some kind of prep work before the tiles can be laid down – like removing old paint, or evening out the subfloor – you can count on paying just over $2 per square foot for the entire project.
And, if you have a very large commercial area, you may be able to get even lower prices, simply based on bulk.
Aside from being cost-effective, VCT tile can also help you “go green”. These tiles are completely recyclable, so you will never have to worry about clogging up a landfill with them. In fact, lots of these tiles are made solely from recycled content.
As an added benefit, these tiles are durable. Because of their varied ingredients, these tiles can stand up to a lot. You can count on them to last for years. That’s why you find them in so many public places that get a lot of foot traffic.
But before you go running to a VCT tile manufacturer, there is one downside that you need to know about. VCT tile doesn’t do well against Mother Nature. Very cold temperatures can cause these tiles to become brittle or shrink, so if you live in a cold climate, they may not work for you. And, if they get exposed to a lot of sunlight, these tiles can fade over time.
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How easy are they to install?
VCT tile installation is definitely a project that you can take on yourself. Laying down these tiles is no different from laying down traditional vinyl; they simply adhere to the floor.
You will need a completely flat, clean, and dry surface underneath to make sure that your VCT tile looks as good as possible. Depending on what your old floors look like, you may need to remove them. Even old paint can prevent VCT tile from adhering properly.
Luckily, good manufacturers will give you detailed instructions on how to install their specific product.
So, who are the best VCT tile manufacturers?
There are plenty of good and bad ones out there. For the best results, stick to these 3:
Since 1886, Congoleum has been leading the way in vinyl. The company has invented many vinyl products like “no wax” vinyl floors and inlaid sheet vinyl.
Mannington’s VCT focuses on technology. The company has spent a lot of money to come up with equipment that could create very high percentages of recycled flooring.
Azrock’s VCT also comes from recycled content. Plus, the company has created an adhesive that sprays on – rather than being slathered on with special tools – for easier installation.
Where can you use VCT tile?
In addition to residential and commercial areas, lots of people use VCT tile for a garage because it looks a whole lot better than just plain ol’ concrete or even painted concrete. Because composite vinyl is so durable, it can hold its own against dripping oil or spilled chemicals.
However, if you do a lot of auto repairs in your garage, you may need to put a wood or steel plate under your jack stands to prevent your VCT tile from chipping or denting.
How do you clean it?
All VCT tile needs is some regular vacuuming and basic mopping. If you want that “squeaky clean” look, you can buff it to give it some extra shine.
It’s cheap to buy, easy to clean, and built to last for years… That’s what VCT tile can do for you!
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