How To Coat New Vinyl Flooring

You’re planning to lay a new vinyl floor – what do you need to do?
Here is our definitive guide to getting the best results when coating new vinyl flooring.

Perma's Fast Answer

1.  Use a stripper to remove residual chemicals left by the manufacturing process
2.  Use a pH neutral cleaner for a pristine surface
3.  Apply your floor finish.

Avoiding Problems: What can go wrong?

New vinyl and vinyl composition tile installations often present some special considerations. Some common issues include:

  • finish separation or crawling
  • fisheyes
  • leveling issues
  • adhesion problems
  • hazing
  • mop marks

What Causes These Problems?

These issues are the result of an interaction between the floor finish that is being applied and residual chemicals left in the tile from the manufacturing process. In addition, installation and environmental issues can sometimes present themselves – often in conjunction.

The severity of the impact that these residual chemicals and environmental conditions can have on the coating process vary depending on the tile composition, the quality of the tile, and the manufacturing process used to make the tile.

A Detailed Understanding:
Residual Chemicals on the Vinyl
vs the First Floor Finish.

Virtually all the adhesives used in new tile installations are now low VOC, water-based latex or acrylic polymer compounds. These adhesives are applied to the sub-flooring surface, often concrete, and are allowed to dry until they are tacky and then the tile is applied over them.

Although the adhesive is partially dry, residual water, co-solvents and plasticizers are still present and have to migrate out through the tile to complete the curing process. Heavy applications of tile adhesive and/or circumstances in which the tile is installed over concrete which hasn’t fully cured and is retaining moisture, can inhibit the adhesive from curing and can result in an extended period of out-gassing through the tile.

Floor finishes applied over tile that is out-gassing can result in finish separation and crawling – most often along the seams of the tile where it is easiest for the vapors to escape, but also in center areas as the vapors work their way up through the tile.

How To Get A Great Finish:
Prepare the Vinyl Before Applying A Coating

In most circumstances, issues relating to residual chemicals from the manufacturing process can be avoided by scrubbing/stripping the new tile to remove the chemicals from the surface.

Step 1: Stripper

Use a moderate concentration (6-8 ounces/gallon) of an alkaline type stripper such as Perma’s #117 Brut, or our odorless stripper #116 N.O.S.E. Adding the mechanical scrubbing action of a low-speed buffer, which can be equipped with a heavy duty (green) scrubbing pad or stripping (brown or black) pad.

For smaller areas: use a low speed (175-350 Rpm) buffing machine and a wet vacuum to pick up the soiled solution.

For large areas: use an automatic scrubber.

NOTE: Please be careful – although no-rinse strippers such as Perma’s #118 Eliminator are very effective at removing residual chemicals, the composition of these strippers can dissolve partially cured tile adhesive and result in the tile lifting at the edges, so they are not recommended for this procedure.

Step 2: Neutral Ph Cleaner

Stripping should be followed by scrubbing the treated areas using a low concentration (1 ounce/gallon) of a high quality neutral pH cleaner such as Perma’s #127 Tops Neutral Cleaner.

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