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Old 06-28-2011, 07:31 AM
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Default Polishing VCT Chess Boards

OK I know there are some vinyl tile polishing experts around here.

I have some to do. Checked out the stuff in stores and don't know which way to go because of the vast aray of products.

I want to achieve a satin to semi-gloss look, not a full gloss. This is new tile. Do I just buff it? Seal it? Polish? Wax?

Planning to use the Rotex150. Which pads etc?

This is not going to be a large area, not even a floor actually.

Seth
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Last edited by SRSemenza; 06-30-2011 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:10 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

You can put the Rotex away (unless you really WANT to do that). For VCT you do not need to do anything to the surface of the tile itself unless the tile is stained or damaged.

Just go to a home center and pick up a good floor wax to seal the floor. If it's virgin tile, apply a couple coats to get some buildup. The wax should be a commercial type wax and will look white with a slightly sweet smell. Apply it with a standard rope-like mop and more or less flood the floor.

I did just recently abrade part of my new floor because it was stained and I wanted a newer appearance. I used a 180 grit disk in my Dynabrade sander and wet sanded the floor while it was flooded with water (and some ammonia to strip the old wax). Not fun, but it was a small area and I got good results.

If you have a large area to do and want to do it properly, you could rent a burnisher. The pad on the bottom looks like a scotchpad, but just a bit stiffer. I wish I had one of these. There are several pads to choose from, including just a cleaning pad versus a stripping/burnishing pad.



Back in college I used to do the floors for a large grocery store. I was spoiled and had a self-propelled walk behind machine that was also a floor scrubber. The one I used was 40 years old and looked like a stainless steel box on wheels, but it was the predecessor to this one. I can't say why, but I might actually get to play with one of these machines soon.

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Old 06-29-2011, 06:12 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

OK, so mop on a couple coats of commercial floor wax.

Then burnish with...... maybe Vlies on the Rotex?

Like I said this is not a floor, actually it is for chess boards (about 18" x 18"). So using a floor burnisher is out.

I take I can control the sheen by how much I burnish it?

Also should I do anything special to clean it first? Maybe vacuum, sponge, vacuum?

Seth
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:22 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

Oh, well that kind of changes everything. You could just try putting poly on it. If you want to leave it with no finish, then just sand it like wood through the grits (wet sand if possible).

As for my previous comments (not that they apply too much anymore), it was burnish, then wax.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:32 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

Burnish then wax. OK, I was just figuring that something would need to be done to the wax after it gets mopped on. I've never done any of that floor waxing stuff before (can you tell?)

I will experiment with poly and sanding. I'm thinking that I won't want the yellowing/ambering from the poly. Maybe a water base if it is not too cloudy?

Time to go play around with some extra pieces.

Seth
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:31 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

Seth, before I waxed the new VCT on my shop floor, I used my Rotex to sand down a bad bump (caused by a stray piece of grit left on the concrete) and to level off a few high edges. I also used it to polish two tiles near the door that had been laid wrong side up. Here's what it looked like after:



The Rotex did a good job with all three of these tasks, but it was quite a bit of work. The biggest difficulty for me was to bring the shine back up on the sanded areas to match the shine on the rest of the floor. Rick's opinion was that I shouldn't worry about it, but I wanted to see if it was possible so I went ahead and did it anyway.

Anyway, since your chessboards are much smaller than the floor areas I was working on... AND since you'd be doing the ENTIRE surface... AND since you're trying to REDUCE the shine... I think you will actually find the task easier I did.

But here's the important thing:

VCT makes VERY FINE DUST. And it's full of silica.

For that reason, I wet sanded mine using Platin 2 abrasives. I had a spray bottle handy and used it to keep the VCT wet at all times. I also had a bucket with water and a sponge to wipe up the slurry before it started to dry AND I used a grate in the bottom of the bucket. The VCT particles are heavy, so the grate worked well to keep my rinse water reasonably clean. I can't remember what I did with the clay-like "gunk" in the bottom of the bucket when I was done. I doubt I would have put it down the drain, so I'm thinking I probably just stirred it up into the water and dumped the whole thing into the carpet of pine needles under some ancient evergreens in our backyard.

VCT scratches easily and quickly shows wear if it isn't protected. After I was done sanding and polishing, I sealed and waxed my VCT with liquid wax in the manner Rick described. However, I'm not sure you'd want to do that with your chessboards, since liquid wax dries VERY shiny. Although maybe you could buff that out. Another issue is that the liquid wax finish will wear, and when it does, it needs to be removed before re-waxing. You CAN just wax over the old wax, but that's not ideal because liquid wax also tends to yellow over time.

So.... I wonder if a carnauba or beeswax finish might work better? Seems like either one would give you a nice, soft satiny shine that would be easy to maintain going forward.

Sounds like an interesting project. Hope you'll post some pics!
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:06 PM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

When you polished the wrong side up tiles what pads, etc did you use?

I take the wet sanding did not foul the sander too much?

Here I thought this would be an easy way to make chess boards.

Yes, I will post some pics.


Seth
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:56 PM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

Quote:
Originally Posted by SRSemenza View Post
When you polished the wrong side up tiles what pads, etc did you use?
I used the hard sanding pad. More on that below. Started with Platin 400 and worked my way up through the grits, ending with either 2000 or 4000 (I'm thinking it was 4000, but I don't remember for sure). Kept the sander in Rotex mode throughout.

It is MUCH (MUCH!!!) faster and easier to take the shine OFF the right side than it is to bring it up on the wrong side. The sanding itself isn't difficult and goes pretty quickly. However, cleaning up and disposing of the slurry isn't much fun. So you'll want to work from whichever side requires removal of the least amount of material to get you the look you want (I'm betting on the right side).
Quote:
I take the wet sanding did not foul the sander too much?
A little, but not TOO bad - unlike my plexiglas polishing project, which left a REAL mess.

The thing I SHOULD have done (and what I would recommend for you) is use the POLISHING pad, since it doesn't have any air holes. In fact, I WOULD have used mine... had I not completely forgotten that I had one. Of course it showed up in the bottom of a drawer a few days later.

Quote:
Here I thought this would be an easy way to make chess boards.
Actually I think it WILL be. Getting all the pieces cut and positioned precisely will be the hardest part. Polishing will be a piece of cake (again, because you're just going for a uniform sheen and don't need to match anything).
Quote:
Yes, I will post some pics.
Yay!
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:41 AM
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Default re: Polishing VCT Chess Boards

"However, cleaning up and disposing of the slurry isn't much fun."

For a floor I'd use a mop and wet vac. For a chessboard it shouldn't be much of a problem?
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: VCT Polishing Chess boards

I havn't had a chance to experiment with finishing the tiles yet. But I got all the pieces cut over the last couple days. Around 550 , enough for eight boards plus a few extra. Planning to make five at this time and save the rest of the squares for some later on.

Seth
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