VCT Questions

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drsiebling
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VCT Questions

Postby drsiebling » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:55 pm

I've recently started a few small restoration projects in my 1953 Dallas MCM and have finally found the time to tackle my horrible kitchen floors. Currently, I'm having to look at some dreary 1970s linoleum that is about as horrible and inappropriate as can be in the home. Luckily, I found a listing on Craigslist last week for some VCT tile, new in the box and dirt cheap! was able to purchase the VCT, enough for all 300 square feet, for about $40. So, here's the rub:

The VCT isn't the traditional "Classic Black" that is favored in MCM homes, but is the black and gray graphite varieties. Here are some photos for clarification:


Image

Image

Is this at all appropriate for a MCM home? In addition, I was thinking of creating a "T" shaped patten with the gray tile that connects the to kitchen entries and ties them in to the work area, surrounded by the black tile.

Any opinions on the direction that the tile should be laid? I've heard some state that a random turning of the tiles is preferred, while others prefer it to all flow in one direction.

Lastly, I've spoken to several installers who suggest that I install the VCT on top of the current linoleum. As long as it is stable and not peeling up, is this okay?

Thanks again for everyone's help!

Ben

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Postby Joe » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:33 pm

your question is really an interior design question. I really need to see your whole plan and the space before telling you yeah or neah. Not real fond of the gray, regardless.

VCT is real cheap new. You might consider a color that works well in your plan rather than forcing a bargain tile. But then it might work for you.

new VCT for 300 sqft is about $150 plus the stuff to stick it. More importantly, what kind of subflooring do you have?

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Postby drsiebling » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:57 pm

Thanks for your response.

I'll see if I can post some pictures up this evening, but in the interim, my color scheme is as follows:

In the rooms adjacent to the kitchen:
Orange and greenish blue walls
Dark wood beams
white tongue and groove ceiling (unfortunately)
Natural colored hardwood floors.
Some white walls / painted paneling.

In the kitchen itself:
Teak-colored cabinetry w/ white doors and white formica countertops
Stainless appliances
Same colors for beams and ceiling.

Sub-flooring is plywood.

I'll probably paint the kitchen walls at some point with a color or colors that work with the orange/blueish tones in the adjoining rooms.

I'm not entirely fond of the gray either... perhaps there's an alternating tile I can use that might look decent with the black I've already purchased?

Ultimately, I'm happy with the black, but am concerned if it is of a design that is too far too the left of what one would see in a MCM.

Thanks again.

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Postby markjudep » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:32 pm

Make sure you seal it BEFORE you use any polish on it, if you want that really glossy look. We sadly didn't do that, and now we have to strip all the polish.

Regardless of your interiors, I'd think twice about creating a pattern with tiles. I vote all black or all gray.

Good luck.

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Postby redneckmodern » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:49 pm

i'd also tend to vote for all one color and second joe's comments about relative cost -- why force a $40 solution when a $150 (or even a bit more) solution is at hand (keeping in mind that flooring is a major consideration in a house that's conceivably worth several hundred times the cost difference above).

basket-weaving tends to "hide" the seams by accentuating the tile pattern itself while laying "with the grain" tends to unify the floor. i tend to prefer to see it in a single direction. ours is installed in the same direction as the beams.

VCT "telescopes" like crazy and any inconsistency in the flooring will pop right through -- make sure your substrate is perfectly smooth. even the lines in the old tile can show through. if you're going to do it, do it right. lay a new subfloor over the old tile (1/4in luan) or rip up the old and begin with a fresh surface.

our whole house cost $4500 installed and looks much more expensive. it wears quite well and has taken little overall maintenance save sweeping. we installed black and in many instances, it simply looks like a beautifully smooth black floor, similar to concrete or terrazzo. imho, it's hard to go wrong with VCT, unless you goof the installation.

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Postby BAZ_MCM » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:22 am

Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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Postby drsiebling » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:15 pm

Well, I finally went ahead with the install yesterday - - not quite as simple as I had expected, but not too bad. Man, that adhesive sure is a pain in the neck, though! I've had enough mineral spirits to last me a lifetime now! :)


Everything should be set by this evening and I'll start with the Armstrong VCT polish followed by 4 coats of wax.

Anyone recommend a good wax? I bought several cans of Johnson paste wax, but if there is something else I should be using, I'll gladly switch. I've been trying to locate a small orbital polisher, but the only thing I can find are the big industrial ones... unfortunately, they are a little large for my space.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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Postby markjudep » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:23 pm

Again, make sure you seal it BEFORE you start with the Armstrong polish!

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Postby drsiebling » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:27 pm

Which sealant should I be using?

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Postby egads » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:07 pm

See the recommendations in this thread:

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=13519

"wax" is a generic term, what you really want to do is apply a "floor finnish"
In steps, many of them.

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Postby drsiebling » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:30 am


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Postby redneckmodern » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:59 am


egads
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Postby egads » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:41 am


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Postby drsiebling » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:23 pm

UPDATE:

Thanks again, everyone, for all the great advice. Unfortunately, I'm a stubborn idiot... I went ahead with my install and ran into a number of problems along the way. My primary issue was the high humidity that we experienced in Dallas around the time of the install combined with a less than ideal adhesive that was recommended to me by the folks at Home Depot. I spent the better part of a month watching the floor shift all over the place and constantly cleaning up oozing adhesive. You really haven't lived until you spend 10 minutes doing dishes and find that your foot is glued to the floor.

Anyway, I finally had enough last week and made some changes. I picked up all the Classic Black I'd need for the install, did some more research on adhesives and found a great installer in Dallas who was willing to clean up the mess from my failed attempt. He did a bang up job and went to the trouble of leveling my floor, sanding the subfloor and making sure that the installation was perfect. 2 days and $300 later, my new classic black VCT floor looks perfect. I went with the 90 degree placement method and the kitchen looks better than ever.

So, it's going to be a cold day in hell before I follow the advice of a home depot employee ever again. For those of you contemplating buying your adhesive there; don't. Call Armstrong and make sure you are using what they recommend. It makes all the difference in the world!

Thanks!

Oh yes, those of you who recommended I chuck the cheap VCT in favor of Classic Black were right on the money. It looks beautiful and anything else would have been constantly disappointing... it really was worth spending the extra cash to do things the right way from a design perspective. :)

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Postby Joe » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:34 pm

make sure you throw down a few coats of wax and buff the heck out of it (per manufacturer specs) my friend!

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Postby markjudep » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:03 pm

But seal it first!

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Postby STLModern » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:33 pm

pics please!

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Postby egads » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:06 pm

I used Henry 430 Clear Pro. It was amazing. One screeds it down using a very small notched trowel. Then you wait for it to dry. It then has a 24 hour working time. It dries clear so snapped caulk lines show through. The only downside for us amateur installers is that the tiles stick immediately. That means that in order to reposition a tile, you have to destroy the one you put down wrong. good thing they are cheap.

While you can just add a few coats of wax on top of the wax they ship with, once you strip, seal and re-wax, it will be killer shinny. I am really excited as I just scored a professional, small (13") floor buffer off Craig's list. Now I can finally re-finish the other half of my house and renew the shine on the half I've already done. Without looking at a rented buffer sitting unused as the coats dry.

For a kitchen only, I'd look into one of these:

http://www.koblenz-electric.com/floor_cleaners1.htm

I scored one of these:

http://www.powrflite.com/istore/floorel ... dept=10083

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Postby redneckmodern » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:33 pm

i've got one of the small buffers i'll sell you (seriously)... but my hope to sell it might tell you how well it worked for us (it didn't). when we finish sealing and lightly coating all of the floors (some are not yet sealed/waxed for a variety of reasons), we'll likely rent a big buffer or get a commercial crew in here to buff it...

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Postby drsiebling » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:44 am

Apologies in advance for the low-rez iPhone photos. :)

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I guess the last thing I'm still curious about is the proper sealing process. Is there a certain product I should be using for that step? Other than that, I'll be tackling that part of the equation once the tile has been on the floor for 2 weeks. Given the hardwoods that run throughout the entirety of the house, it's nice to have something a bit different in the kitchen. :)

And yes, the kitchen cabinets are next on the list. ***

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Postby redneckmodern » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:14 am

we used this (from home depot):

http://www.home-improvement-superstore. ... ealer.html

then this:

http://www.home-improvement-superstore. ... inish.html

seems to be working fine... to be honest, i can't tell a huge difference between the sealer and the finish, but since the costs are similar, i figure it's the same cost/per/coat so the sealer can't hurt.

i applied both with one of those micro-hairy deck painting pads. worked well for me. with too much "action" the stuff gets foamy, so simmer down.

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Postby egads » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:07 am

See this thread:

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=13519

Cleaning and adding wax is what you probably want to do short term. The sealing step is done after stripping the existing wax. The Armstrong tiles are shipped with some wax on them.

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Postby redneckmodern » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:12 pm

Last edited by redneckmodern on Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby egads » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:51 pm

OK, prime coating then. But I would strip it before using someone else's sealer and wax. And these days it's not even wax, but "floor finish" or "floor polish" I was very disappointed with the Armstrong floor finish I added on top of the "Fast Start Factory Finish" It did not hold up well to this sloppy family with doors outside everywhere. Water spilled caused white spots that would last hours. I also made the mistake of using cleaners on it. (probably Simple Green) That is a no no. You must clean with either plain water (a very under rated cleaner) or a "neutral floor cleaner" But we really don't need another VCT floor care thread. I linked a pretty good one with many opinions above.

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Postby Joe » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:37 pm

VCT:
sealer
3-4 coats of wax
buff with floor buffer

ask your local commercial flooring pro for alternative products for polishing/sealing

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Postby Slim and Gabby » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:59 pm

Wheeeez! I just got some asbestos tiles for our 1959 Field & Stream trailer, yeah, just call me cancer-boy; what would be a good sealer, etc. for them? They're the 9x9-inch tiles that look way better than VCT: I'm not foolish enough to put them in my house even though I'd love to. I seriously doubt I could find enough, hack, hack, cough, WHEEEEZ, got a smoke I can borrow?
Slim
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Postby egads » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:40 pm

You would use the same program as VCT. About the only difference between the two is the fibers used in the tile.


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