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Unread 01-07-2014, 01:29 AM   #1
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VCT Tile help

Hello, its been a while.
Anyways I was contracted to install Armstrong VCT tile in a medical center.
The install went well and had it sealed and waxed 4 days after install.
The administrator is concerned about some cracks between the tiles 1/16 or less. I had another couple of coats of wax put on but little or no change.
Is there a process to fill these cracks so to avoid buildup of medical waste?
A floor guy told me to use a propane "burnasher" high speed buffer that will melt the wax and irrigate it into the joints better.
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
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Unread 01-07-2014, 07:09 AM   #2
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I don't know how much help you are going to receive here for VCT. We are in the hard tile trade here. Maybe one of the moderators can steer you in the right direction. I would not touch a soft good with a ten foot pole. Good luck. J.C.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 07:29 AM   #3
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use some caulk to fill the gaps.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 08:29 AM   #4
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Nick, I know it's no help now but next time you do vct clean off the edges on the whole stack with your hands.Peel the box edges back like a bananna and rub your hands up and down and across the sides. When they are made they get little residual micro beads on the edges and it will hinder you from getting them really tight. The only thing i know of at this point is a matching caulk.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 09:40 AM   #5
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Take one of the tiles and run your knife along the side.. Take the scrapings and smash into the joint. Its easier to do it while the vct glue is still wet. You may have to heat the joint up a bit to get the glue sticky.

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Unread 01-07-2014, 10:06 AM   #6
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cant you use some matching floor patch and kinda grout the small cracks?
I have seen some vct crews do that with white 12x12 vct to hide some steps & gaps.

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Unread 01-07-2014, 10:51 AM   #7
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I've used all of the tricks mentioned. Being vinyl, Vct can be very sensitive to temperature changes. Going forward, always let it sit in the rooms it will be installed in a couple days prior to installing to acclimate. Did the gaps appear after the installation? That happens when the temperature of the building/ slab is reduced. The last vct job I did was last December. Roughly 8000 ft. The temperature was pretty warm at the start of the job, but as the building got colder from there being no heat and the weather getting colder. gaps started appearing. The job super asked how I'd fix them and I told him he was going to, when he finished installing the heat. heat went on, gaps went away.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 09:06 PM   #8
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What Scott said. Be careful if you use a torch to heat it up. A hot hair dryer won't burn the tile. Just enough to goo up the glue some. Not sure if the wax being on it will hurt or not. Might want to strip the wax in those spots.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 10:35 PM   #9
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I have installed hundreds of thousands sq ft of VCT and there is nothing I know of you can do at this point if it is already installed and waxed... Also FYI all VCT shrinks with age and the gaps will be getting larger over time anyway. As said before be sure to clean edges of the Vct prior to installation. Also, product to product, the quality in dimension can vary and sometime the gaps are completely impossible to avoid. The geometry of the substrate as to being flat or wavy will also distort your layout and mess up the chances of getting real tight joints regardless of what you do.

There are some sealers and fillers you could use but they will fail with time since the product *WILL* shrink as the product ages.

I know this is not any help in closing the gaps but it is valuable information to for you to know before doing another job of VCT job, especially commercial where the problem in gapping amplifies when doing much larger areas.

BTW be careful if trying the heating method thinking the product will expand. Vinyl, Rubber and plastics shrink when heated unlike most other materials in this world. Ever have a tonneau cover on a pickup? They too will shrink and fit much tighter on the bed in a hot summer compared to being loose fitting in the winter...Many vinyl products do this and do not follow the same expanding and shrinking characteristics of the subfloor.

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Last edited by Bellsfloors; 01-07-2014 at 10:41 PM.
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