Vinyl composition tile
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Vinyl composition tile (VCT) is a finished flooring material used primarily in commercial and institutional applications. Modern vinyl floor tiles and sheet flooring and versions of those products sold since the early 1980s are composed of colored polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chips formed into solid sheets of varying thicknesses (1/8" is most common) by heat and pressure. Floor tiles are cut into modular shapes such 12" x 12" squares or 12" x 24" rectangles. In installation the floor tiles or sheet flooring are applied to a smooth, leveled sub-floor using a specially formulated vinyl adhesive or tile mastic that remains pliable. In commercial applications some tiles are typically waxed and buffed using special materials and equipment.
Modern vinyl floor tile is frequently chosen for high-traffic areas because of its low cost, durability, and ease of maintenance. Vinyl tiles have high resilience to abrasion and impact damage and can be repeatedly refinished with chemical strippers and mechanical buffing equipment. If properly installed, tiles can be easily removed and replaced when damaged. Tiles are available in a variety of colors from several major flooring manufacturers. Some manufacturers have created vinyl tiles that very closely resemble wood, stone, terrazzo, and concrete and literally hundreds of varying patterns.
In the debate over the "greenness" of building materials, vinyl has become a divisive topic. Burning the material can release dioxins and other hazardous chemicals. Harmful additives such as phthalates and heavy metals can leach out of the roughly 1.5 million tons (1.4 million metric tons) of vinyl discarded each year just in the United States.
The chief health concerns most sources cite for contemporary PVC building products such as vinyl floor tiles or vinyl building siding, trim and windows appear to be health risks to the workers during production and health risks later (HCl and dioxin) if the material is burned as waste or in a house fire.