How To Install Vinyl Tile

Peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles are a fast, easy and relatively inexpensive way to transform a room. They’re available in a huge array of colors, textures and quality, and most cost between 89 cents and $3 each. Tiles are most commonly one square foot each, making calculations easy, and you can even choose different tiles for borders, designs and checkerboard patterns. To install vinyl tile, you’ll need only a few tools and some patience. Here’s how:

Before You Install Vinyl Tile

To determine how many tiles to buy, just multiply the length of the room by the width. That gives you the square footage, which equals the number of 12-inch-square tiles you need. Larger or smaller tiles will have a coverage area printed on the box.

Buy 20% more than you need. For example, if your room is 200 square feet, buy 240 square feet. The extra flooring will cover any miscalculations or mistakes, and it’s a good idea to keep extra tiles on hand in case you need replacements.

Vinyl tile can be installed over nearly any existing floor surface except carpet. The existing flooring needs to be clean, dry and flat. If you’re installing on concrete, repair any cracks or low spots before installing the tile. If your concrete floor is uneven, use a self-leveling compound, which will fill in the low spots and give you a good, flat surface for applying the tiles.

If you’re installing the tile in a bathroom, remove the toilet first and reinstall it when you’re done. Check out About.com’s Home Renovation channel to learn how to do this.

What You’ll Need

  • Self-adhesive tile
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge (yardstick, carpenter’s square, etc.)
  • Tile roller (a rolling pin from the kitchen will suffice)
  • Measuring tape
  • Tin snips for cutting odd shapes
  • Coping saw for curves
  • Chalk line

Related Video: Installing Vinyl Tile Flooring With Glue Can Be Easy

Installation

1. Remove the baseboards.
2. Lay a new tile with the backing paper intact next to the doorjamb. Draw a line at the height of the new flooring and undercut the jamb to allow the new tile to slide underneath, if necessary.
3. Sweep the existing floor carefully.
4. The toughest part is determining where to start. Though it’s tempting to start along one wall, don’t. Instead, find the center point of the room by measuring and then snapping a chalk line across the length and width of the room at the midpoints of adjoining walls.
5. Line up your first tile at the intersection of the two lines.
6. To install the tiles, just peel off the backing, align it exactly where you want it and press firmly.
7. You can work in any direction you choose, lining up each tile carefully with the chalk line or the previous tiles and pressing into place. Pay special attention to aligning the edges so the rows are straight.
8. Roll over the floor with a tile roller or a rolling pin.

Tips

  • To make straight cuts, use a straight edge and score deeply on the paper side with a utility knife, then fold toward the face side for a nice, clean cut.
  • To cut tile to fit against a wall, place the tile to be cut (Tile A) on top of the tile before it in the same row. Make sure it’s aligned perfectly. Take another new tile (Tile B) and place it exactly over the tile to be cut. Keeping the side edges of both tiles aligned, push Tile A forward until it is snug against the wall, covering the space where the new tile will go. Trace the edge of Tile B on Tile A, pick up both tiles, and cut Tile A on the line you drew. Test fit it into the space; you should have a perfect fit.
  • Throw each backing paper into a trash bag as you work. They are extremely slippery and can cause even the most sure-footed to fall.

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