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11/11/2008 12:00:00 AM

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Understanding The Life Cycle Cost Of A VCT Floor

Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

A VCT floor (also known as vinyl composition tile) is among the most familiar to facility managers. Millions of square feet of VCT floors have been installed in retail stores, supermarkets, hospitals and schools.

Resilient flooring has been a popular choice for decades. And VCT floors account for more square footage than any other type of resilient flooring. That's because a VCT floor is still about the least expensive floor to install, and it wears well in a variety of traffic areas.

There are some downsides to choosing a VCT floor. They include a lack of design options — plain or marbleized, 12-inch squares only — and the high cost of maintenance, due to its porous nature.

Therefore, the cost to maintain a VCT floor needs to be balanced with first costs. Projected maintenance costs are often the most important factor in life-cycle cost. The reason? The cost to maintain a floor over its life can exceed the purchase price.

Regarding new facilities, in high-traffic areas where appearance is important, facility managers may want to consider flooring that is more expensive but requires less maintenance.

In existing facilities, it generally costs less to maintain an existing floor than to install a new floor. There comes a point, however, when new flooring with fewer routine maintenance needs would be more cost-effective. For example, 20-year old VCT floor in a high traffic area might require stripping and waxing twice a month.

The age of the product coupled with continued high maintenance costs could mean a new, lower maintenance floor — carpeting or high-pressure laminate, for example — would actually save the facility money long term.

Related Articles:

Flooring Considerations: Facts Under Foot

Specifying Flooring for High Traffic Applications 

Sources:

Flooring: Expanding Alternatives by Christopher Capobianco

Considering the Life-Cycle Cost of Flooring

Flooring: One Step Ahead by Christopher Capobianco