Most of us remember vinyl composite tiles (VCT) from our high schools or the local shopping mall. But many homeowners wonder if VCT garage tiles are right for them.
VCT tiles are a great choice if you own a commercial building or business requiring inexpensive, durable flooring. However, we do not recommend VCT tiles for home garages. They’re harder to maintain and may crack or lift in cold, damp environments. They can also fade when exposed to direct sunlight.
This article will cover some of the benefits and drawbacks of installing vinyl composite tiles in your home. First, let’s get a little background on what VCT tiles are.
What Are Vinyl Composite Tiles?
Vinyl composite tiles, as the name suggests, are porous tiles made up of a composite of vinyl, limestone, and other filler materials. They’re usually found in high foot traffic locations, such as shopping malls, schools, universities, and various businesses.
Because of their construction, VCT tiles are inexpensive and durable, especially compared to other garage flooring options.
Since vinyl is the main ingredient in VCT tiles, they can be manufactured in numerous textures, colors, and patterns to mimic any décor. For those wanting a luxury aesthetic, vinyl composite tiles mimic most traditional tiling, even expensive options such as stone or wood.
Should You Use VCT Tiles On Your Garage Floor?
Despite being widely popular, inexpensive, and durable, I don’t recommend installing VCT tiles in your garage.
VCT tiles are specifically designed for heavy-duty commercial locations. Their flexibility and shiny appearance liven up large shopping centers, business parks, and even restaurants.
However, keeping that finish shiny takes a lot of work.
You’ve probably seen the janitors at your local school or shopping mall running a floor scrubber. That’s because it takes a lot of maintenance – including frequent scrubbing and waxing – to maintain that glossy finish on a vinyl-composite tile floor.
That said, if you don’t use your garage that often, VCT tiles can be an effective, low-cost option for garage tiling. They’re much cheaper than interlocking floor tiles and last longer than the DIY epoxy coatings you’ll find in Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Before installing VCT tiles in your house, consider what they might do to the resale value of your home. VCT tiles’ aesthetics may suit your needs, but most potential buyers will consider them a temporary solution at best.
Benefits Of VCT Tiles
So what makes vinyl-composite tiles so popular?
They’re the natural choice for any commercial space that experiences high foot traffic. It’s common for VCT flooring in malls or schools to last between 15 and 20 years. Additionally, single tiles can be repaired or replaced when damage occurs. This makes them very cost-effective.
Furthermore, VCT tiles are the safest option for consumers or businesses. VCT tiles have a reputation for being safe because they’re incredibly water resistant. That limits potential hazards such as slipping, falling, or other injuries.
Vinyl-composite tiles are also impact-resistant, which makes them a good option for garages with a light-to-medium workload.
Because of the way they’re constructed, traditional vinyl tiles can be noisy. However, the additives in vinyl composite tiles drastically lower the noise levels, enabling people to focus on socializing, meals, or shopping.
Drawbacks Of VCT Tiles
While vinyl-composite tiles have their advantages, there are better options for some.
VCT tiles have certain limitations with inclement weather, so it’s not an appropriate outdoor option. While VCT tiles are enormously resilient to most weather conditions, very cold or extremely hot weather may result in a vastly shortened lifespan for your tile floor.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause the color of your VCT tiles to fade. On the flip side, freezing weather may impact the tiles’ structural integrity, making them prone to cracking.
Installing Vinyl Composite Tiles
Another drawback of VCT tiling is the necessary and labor-intensive subfloor preparation. The entire floor must be properly leveled prior to installation. This can be challenging for most homeowners. If not done correctly, the tiles may become brittle and break, requiring the entire floor to be replaced.
One common problem is missing small bumps in the floor or hidden nails. This may cause irregularities once tiles are installed over them. This often shows up after the VCT tiles have been installed, reducing the floor’s desired aesthetic appeal and resulting in repairs that could have been avoided.
While individual VCT tiles are easy to replace, removing the entire floor is enormously challenging.
Strong adhesives are used throughout the installation to increase the tile floor’s longevity. Unfortunately, that makes removing the tile and its adhesive nearly impossible since the hardened glue creates a permanent solid bond with the subfloor.
This makes installing and removing VCT tiles a labor-intensive project.
Vinyl composite tiles are a modern alternative to traditional vinyl tiles. VCT tiles have become enormously popular over the last decade since they are durable, inexpensive, flexible, and sustainable. However, they are most commonly found in large commercial spaces, industrial areas, and institutional locations.
It’s rare to find VCT tiles in private homes since they’re less aesthetically appealing than other, more expensive, traditional flooring options. However, VCT tiles are a great option if you own a business because of their durability, design flexibility, and low maintenance requirements.