What Is VCT Tile (Vinyl Composite Tile)? Types, Uses, & FAQ
VCT in the tile and flooring industry represents vinyl composite tile. It’s made of color pigments, a thermoplastic binder, filler materials, and natural limestone. These tiles are available in many shapes and sizes. However, the standard VCT tile is 1/8-inch thick and measures 12 by 12 inches.
Even though it weighs approximately 1 pound, this tile is strong, durable, and resilient. These features are the result of the flexibility offered by the vinyl binders.
VCT manufacturers can make these tiles with similar appearance to stone, terrazzo, and wood, thanks to digital graphic layers. With this in mind, you can use them with the majority of design schemes. VCTs are easy to maintain and are inexpensive to install. Such a combination makes them an attractive option for various residential and commercial applications.
To help you understand everything about VCT tiles, we have gathered and laid out pertinent information for your perusal. This article tells you the types, uses, and everything you need to know about these tiles. Let’s start with how these tiles work.
How Do VCT Tiles Work?
VCT tiles are made by combining limestone filler with vinyl-colored chips. They are then heated and finally pressed into sheets. These tiles are usually 12-inch square in dimensions, but you can get them in other sizes. When glued to your floors and walls, they are fairly easy to clean, resilient to impact and chips, and extremely durable.
Once VCT tiles are waxed and sealed properly, they protect your surfaces from corrosion and stains. Additionally, they offer an aesthetic look that is appealing and matches your interior or exterior design.
For example, if you use VCT tiles instead of concrete on a garage floor, it resists the majority of vehicle chemicals and liquids. Take note that for such an application, strong solvents and gasoline need to be cleaned quickly. Otherwise, the wax dulls or softens fast.
In case you notice a stained VCT tile, bringing back the color is done by lightly sanding the tile. Damaged tiles are easy to replace.
These tiles are coated with several layers of wax once they are installed. This means they are good at protecting your floor against corrosion and damage from molds and similar infestations. Additionally, they have a glossy finish that makes for a brighter room/space.
The most common type of VCT tiles is the checkered motifs, usually in black and white. However, you can use various color options to design your tiles. For example, popular colors include mixed colors of blues, reds, and grays.
The price is the most attractive feature of VCT tiles. For example, the cost of tiling a room in your home using VCT tiles is more than 50% lower than if you use other tiles. This makes it one of the most affordable and sharpest looking tiles for residential and commercial uses.
The 2 Types of VCT Tiles
If you are looking for wall and floor tiles, you quickly discover that most tile stores offer a wide variety. However, the first question they ask is the application i.e. residential or commercial- the two main types of VCT tiles are commercial and residential.
It’s important to know the difference between the two if you are working on a build or remodeling your home. Understanding the differences between commercial and residential VCT tiles ensures you get the best tiles for your application. Let’s take a look at the two.
1. Residential VCT Tiles
Residential VCT tiles are designed for the home and similar low-traffic areas. The majority of these tiles are inviting, warm, and reflect the taste of the homeowner. Usually, homeowners go for new tiles when they are modernizing or changing the look of their home. New tiles are an affordable and convenient way to improve a home’s resale value and update its style.
If you are looking for residential tiles for your home, consider the following factors:
2. Commercial VCT Tiles
When it comes to commercial VCT tiles, the function of the space is the first thing to consider. How you use your commercial space determines the features of VCT tiles you need.
Commercial grade tiles are manufactured to cater for any unique scenarios your space faces. These tiles are more durable and handle more rugged conditions than their residential counterparts. They are also developed to be resistant to any damage caused by high foot traffic.
As a business owner, you need to go for commercial VCT tiles made for your industrial, commercial, or retail space. A smart investment ensures these tiles serve for years to come. Factors to consider when looking for commercial VCT tiles are:
Use and Installation of VCT Tiles
There are two uses of VCT tiles- they are used on either floors or walls. For floors, the tile is sturdier and thicker. Wall tiles are lighter than and not as thick as their floor counterparts. You can use these types on any type of residential or commercial floor and walls. However, bathrooms and kitchens are the best places to use VCT wall tiles.
If you plan on installing the tiles yourself, there are some factors you need to consider. The guide below gives you step-by-step instructions you can use to install VCT tiles on floors and walls.
Advantages of VCT Tiles
Frequently Asked Questions About VCT Tiles
What is the difference between VCT and vinyl tile?
Vinyl tiles are made using vinyl and small amounts of other ingredients. VCT tiles are made using natural limestone, vinyl binders, and other ingredients. This means vinyl tiles cost more than VCT tiles. They are also thicker than their VCT counterparts.
Is VCT tile durable?
Vinyl composite tile is durable, sustainable, and resilient. This is why it’s a great choice for areas with high traffic. It’s also one of the most flexible and beautiful tile options for floors and walls. The sturdiness and durability of VCT make it a popular choice for industrial, commercial, and residential applications.
It uses up-to-date technology to combine vinyl with other ingredients. The result is a two-in-one solution. It’s not only durable but also a more affordable tile option for walls and floors.
Is there a difference between LVT and VCT tiles?
Yes, there is. LVT is the type of tile known as luxury vinyl tile and is shortened to the acronym LVT. Unlike VCT (vinyl composite tile), it’s made using the hot press method. This is a rigorous and highly technical tile making process that produces a natural, authentic material look and the durability common in LVT flooring.
To get a better understanding, you can say VCT is the most affordable tiling option for residential and commercial use. LVT is the more refined option in the same uses where the cost of installation is not a determining factor.
The hot press method used to make LVT tiles is a hands-on construction that is heat infused. It fuses each layer of vinyl together through a refined baking process.
Can VCT tiles be used on walls?
Yes, if you want to provide accent, color, or texture to your walls, you can use VCT tiles. Apart from improving the durability of your wall, you also get a wide range of options and styles. You can also use the tiles on kitchen and bathroom walls as backsplash. However, you should consider heat and moisture before you do this.
For commercial purposes, you can use VCT on walls in areas requiring rigorous cleaning. For example, manufacturers of cleaning and healthcare products can use VCT tiles on their walls. This is used to protect the wall from harsh products or chemicals used to scrub the walls.
Quick Reference Guide
|Maintenance Difficulty||Medium||Low||Fairly High|
|Versatility of Design||Low||High||Medium|
|Pros||● Limited upfront costs
● Resistance to heavy traffic, sunlight, and abrasions
|● Lower upfront costs
● Resistance to heavy traffic, sunlight, and abrasions
|● Heat-welded joints true seamless flooring
● Best for aseptic medical applications
|Cons||● Limited design and texture options
● Higher maintenance costs
|● More seams compared to sheet vinyl
● Higher starting costs than VCT
|● Difficult to replace than LVT or VCT
● Labor-intensive installation process
|Common Applications||Break rooms, cafeterias, warehouses, schools||Retail stores, apartment complexes, hotels, restaurants, corporate offices
|Laboratories, doctor’s offices, ambulatory care facilities, hospitals, medical centers|
VCT tiles are a great option for anyone who wants to tile their floors or walls. Apart from being durable, they are resistant to corrosion and abrasions. They are also good noise absorbers, and this makes them a great commercial option, especially in applications where heavy objects are constantly being moved.
These tiles are also a great option if you want to add value to your property and improve its interior appearance. Their naturally looking refined finishes ensure you get the right aesthetics for your residential or commercial space.
If you plan on doing a custom design on your floor and walls, go for this type of tile. The majority of manufacturers offer custom designs to their buyers. You can go with ready-made designs or come up with your unique design. Keep in mind custom designs may cost more than ready-made designs.
Lastly, make sure you consult with a tile installation professional if you aren’t sure of the installation process. Improper installation may result in losses incurred by removing and re-installing VCT tile.
Featured Image Credit: Alex Verrone, Shutterstock