Irrespective of the texture or colour you choose for your new vinyl flooring, it might develop an unsightly yellowish stain that can be very hard to remove. Even if the floor is spotless, it can still appear dirty because of the yellowing vinyl tiles or sheet. Often, this is a sign of core damage to the flooring material and is permanent. Are you seeing yellow patches on your vinyl floors?
This post covers the different reasons behind the damage and the possible preventive measures and remedies you can take.
Reasons Behind Yellowing Vinyl Flooring
Yellowing of vinyl flooring can happen due to several reasons. The following are certain reasons behind the issue which you must take note of.
- Trapped moisture
When the substrate is not installed correctly or a wrong substrate is chosen and there is no moisture barrier, this trouble can occur. In this situation, the moisture seeps in through the subfloor into the lower layers of the vinyl, damaging it from underneath. On the surface, there is a visible discolouration between the area that is dry and unaffected and where the moisture collects.
- Mould and mildew growth
If the floor is not moisture proof enough or subjected to water exposure frequently, mould and mildew will grow rapidly. This will eventually lead to contamination which discolours the floor over time if you do not remove it at the earliest sign. It is best to replace the contaminated flooring to prevent future infestation of mould and mildew.
- Improperly applied adhesives
When an adhesive that is not recommended by the manufacturer is used or the application is not done properly, the vinyl can get damaged from below. Oils, dirt, and grime migrate through the lowest layers of vinyl and eventually shows up as permanent yellow spots on the flooring.
- Reacting to chemical changes
Vinyl flooring can react when it comes in contact with certain rubber materials that lead to discolouration. When you lift a rubber-backed floor rug or wheels of the kitchen island or certain furniture, yellow spots can be seen. However, such yellowing occurs when the furniture or the rug has been left undisturbed at the same spot. The trouble can be avoided easily by changing its position or avoiding using rubber-backed accessories on vinyl flooring.
- Damaged by sunlight
A major reason behind yellowing is sun damage. Areas which are consistently exposed to sunlight or high heat for a long time tend to fade and a major colour difference occurs. This kind of colour change is particularly observed around patio doors, large windows which gets abundant sunlight and even around the fireplace.
Tips to Prevent and Remove Discolouration
- Change furniture and rug position often
If the discolouration occurs beneath a rubber backed rug or furniture leg, it will revert to its original colour when you remove the rug or re-position it and let the area have enough exposure to light and air. However, do not overdo it as it can lead to sun damage.
- Using the right window coverings
This is essential to prevent sun spots which are permanent discolouration and your vinyl flooring must be removed and changed in this situation. Keep your windows and door closed during sunny-hours and use quality window coverings like solar shades to minimize the effect of UV rays. Depending on the amount of sunlight you get inside the house, consider installing awnings to maximize the protection.
- Clean the subfloor well before installation
Bits of adhesives from previous flooring installation or using the wrong adhesive type has its adversities. Not scraping off the adhesive entirely can hamper the new installation and make your floor uneven. The chemical reaction between the new adhesive and the residues can eventually turn the vinyl yellow. The best way to avoid this is by going through the manufacturer’s specifications thoroughly and use only the recommended products. Cleaning the subfloor absolutely such that no residue of old adhesive is left is a must.
- Use cleaners specifically designed for vinyl
There are numerous cleaning products that are commercially available and designed to get rid of all types of stains on vinyl flooring. For yellowing vinyl, a solution of bleach and water can work wonders. Mix three parts of water and one part of bleach in a bucket and use it for rubbing the stained areas. The stains may not completely get removed in the first attempt. Mop the area regularly with the solution or add more bleach till you get the desired results.
- Prepare baking soda solution for deep cleaning
Often, the stain may be too deep to be removed naturally- in this situation baking soda can be a helpful home remedy. Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area and leave it for 10 minutes. Use a damp and soft cloth to mop the area. Repeat the process until the stain is removed. You may have to continue this for a few weeks to ensure the discolouration does not come back.
Discolouration or yellowing of vinyl flooring is a result of numerous reasons ranging from high foot traffic concentration, standing floor accessories and furniture, to sun exposure and age of the flooring. Keeping the tips mentioned above in mind will let you retain the sparkling brightness of the material and get maximum utility out of it. However, as the flooring ages, removing such stains will eventually become difficult and when they get permanent, replacing it with quality material from a reputed store will be a wise choice.