The global workforce is in constant flux, in no small part, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in the U.S., there has been plenty of talk and concern regarding wage stagnation, mass resignation, and labor shortage. Indeed, many industries are currently experiencing a decline in labor participation. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, industries like food service and hospitality continue to struggle retaining workers. At the same time, however, higher-paying industries have remained relatively stable. It’s also worth noting that the transportation, construction, and mining industries are seeing a labor surplus, meaning there aren’t enough open positions for the number of experienced workers. Educational institutions, on the other hand, are suffering from the opposite problem, largely unable to fill the growing number of job openings for teachers, faculty, and staff.
If you’re in charge of an educational facility or another industry currently dealing with a labor shortage, it’s imperative to optimize efficiency to make up for the diminished workforce. Keeping up with school maintenance is of particular concern, especially over the summer when various renovations and deep cleaning projects must take place. With a smaller maintenance team on hand, certain projects can seem insurmountable in the necessary timeframe. Even something as seemingly simple as floor maintenance can extract resources from other important tasks such as disinfection, HVAC repair, maintenance painting, and so on. As such, investing in floors that require lower levels of maintenance can allow you to achieve your overall maintenance goals despite a lack of labor participation.
Both VCT and LVT floors help reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep them beautiful, safe, and durable. Let’s explore these two types of low-maintenance flooring and how they can help you manage the current labor shortage.
VCT and LVT Flooring
What Is VCT Flooring?
VCT flooring is the acronym for Vinyl Composite Tile flooring. Chances are you’ve seen VCT floors in various settings, such as hotels, hospitals, grocery stores, and other high-traffic areas. Composed of limestone, fillers, and thermoplastics, this type of flooring is inherently sturdy and flexible, withstanding high levels of foot traffic over long periods of time. They’re also highly customizable and glossy. Of course, it takes a fair deal of effort to maintain the appealing strength and shine of VCT flooring. Multiple layers of polish are required to protect the pores of VCT floors. As such, VCT isn’t usually regarded as a “low-maintenance” flooring option. That said, most modern VCT floors only require polishing every 6-12 months or so – between that time, these floors remain relatively easy to clean via vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping. With regular cleaning and proper periodic maintenance, VCT floors can last virtually forever, making them a solid investment that’s ultimately lower maintenance than many alternative floor types.
What Is LVT Flooring?
LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile, which doesn’t sound so different from VCT floors (we’ll discuss the similarities and differences next). Aesthetically, LVT floors can mimic the appearance of various other floor types (hardwood, especially) and adopt a range of colors. In terms of construction, LVT floors are designed to endure the conditions of high-traffic commercial and industrial environments. These floors are considered truly low maintenance. For one thing, they’re naturally resistant to scuffs and stains. Moreover, a basic two-bucket cleaning protocol is all that’s required to keep LVT floors clean. With proper installation and maintenance, your LVT floors can last up to 30 years before needing replacement.
The Similarities and Differences Between VCT and LVT Floors
People often lump VCT and LVT floors into the same category. While these vinyl commercial tile flooring options have some things in common, they’re distinct in some key ways. As for similarities, both floor types are commonly used in high-traffic settings for their high durability; they’re both relatively cheap compared to other flooring options, and they both help reduce maintenance costs over the long run.
The primary differences between VCT and LVT flooring come down to construction, appearance, specific application, maintenance details, and short-term vs. long-term cost. VCT flooring is customizable but offers a more limited set of aesthetic options when it comes to designs, patterns, and textures compared to LVT flooring; LVT floors are easier to clean and maintain than VCT floors due to their complete vinyl construction (VCT floors involve other materials and are porous, therefore requiring polishing and sealing); you’ll often find VCT floors used in educational facilities, whereas LVT floors are becoming more common across a range of industries for their strength and visual versatility; lastly, VCT floor installation is cheaper upfront at about $2 per square foot, whereas LVT flooring can range from $2-$5 per square foot – since LVT floors are lower-maintenance, however, they tend to be cheaper over the long run compared to VCT floors.
Advantages of VCT and LVT Floors
Differences aside, both VCT and LVT floors stand to reduce your facility’s commercial floor maintenance needs. After all, both VCT and LVT floors are built to withstand the chaotic conditions of a bustling school environment. Even if your VCT floors require polishing every 6-12 months, this can be accomplished during extended winter and summer breaks, so they’re ready to go when students, faculty, and staff return. As long as you’re able to keep up with this maintenance, your VCT floors will remain sturdy and easy to clean on a regular basis. LVT floors, on the other hand, don’t require any polishing or resurfacing – they retain their strength and appearance with the most basic cleaning regimen. Both floor types are relatively quick to install, too.
Minimizing Maintenance Amidst a Labor Shortage
When faced with a labor shortage such as this one, facility managers must find creative, cost-effective ways to keep up with necessary maintenance. Investing in low-maintenance flooring, such as VCT and LVT options, is a great start. Further investment in maintenance technology such as AI-powered commercial floor cleaning machines is another step schools, and other types of facilities are taking to fill the current gap in labor and boost long-term efficiency.
Here at The Budd Group, our commercial floor care programs are customized for every client’s unique needs. Whether your facility requires new low-maintenance flooring, staffing support, or access to state-of-the-art robotic cleaning technology, we have you covered. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!