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» Laying Vinyl Floor Tiles

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Laying Vinyl Floor Tiles
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New flooring is a relatively inexpensive way to update your homes appearance particularly in the kitchen and laundry room areas, which are among the first thing that a prospective purchaser of your home will want to see, and the places where most families will spend a great deal of their time when at home. Vinyl flooring is relatively inexpensive and not all that difficult to lay down for a do it yourselfer. Even a beginner can do a good job of installing vinyl tiling.

If your flooring is looking somewhat weathered or has gone past its original shining appearance, now is the time to add value to your home and a bit of spice to its appearance. Armstrong Vinyl Tiles have some superior tiles that are out there and they last for years with the right care.

As with any other job, the preparation will be of paramount importance.

Materials you will need:

  • Vinyl Tiles Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Level
  • Utility Knife
  • Trowel
  • Tin Snips
  • Roller
  • Sander

Selecting Your Tile

Vinyl tiles primarily come in either 12x 12 size or 18×18 size, so you will be able to calculate the amount you need by measuring your room, and them multiplying length x width and then dividing by either 1 or 1.5 to know how many tiles or cases that you will need to accomplish your task.

Pricing on tiles can range from about a dollar each, to sometimes 4 dollars each. Your total flooring project depending on the price of your tiles could cost as little as hundred dollars or as much as four or five hundred for an average sized kitchen and laundry room. The better quality tiles will come with a fifteen or twenty year warranty, while some of the others will be perhaps just a year. The better quality items will of course stay looking newer for longer, being for the most part, a full thickness tile, with the pattern going the whole way through the tile as opposed to those which have a thin veneer of the pattern on top, with a black vinyl center.

The fastest and easier tile to install will be the variety that have a paper backing with the adhesive already applied.
You need merely to peel and stick them to the floor, and there is no messy cleanup or glue being forced out of the cracks, and they do adhere very well for years so long as the surface to which they are sticking is, like any other tile surface, clean, relatively level and dry.

One tip for those of you who are selecting vinyl tiles is to make sure that you purchase one box more than you need.
I’ve run into times where a tile was broken or burned and after a few years, we were unable to replace that exact tile as the pattern had been discontinued a year earlier. This is a headache and you will have mismatched tiles unless you provide for future repair needs when you purchase the tiles.

Floor Preparation
Vinyl tiles can be put down over nearly anything, even existing tiles or concrete so long as it is in decent repair.
Check your floor or underlayment for chips, breaks, uneven areas or bumps and dips which you will need to repair using leveling compound prior to installing the tiles. Even a small pebble will eventually work through the tile you are putting down so be very certain that the surface is well cleaned prior to beginning.

If you will be going over top of a floor tile or vinyl flooring with some dents or dips in it, then use a primer layer, which will help you to even out the flooring. All you need to do is to spread it on with a trowel and level the flooring, then let it dry.
If your vinyl floor has a deep pattern such as some do, you are will advised to use this technique over the entire floor as the tile pattern may well bleed through to your new tile if you don’t.

This is called burn through and it is very noticeable on the new tile, and may in fact crack your new tiles.

Patch any holes, cracks or high ridges in the floor and make sure that if there are high spots you remove them with sandpaper or chisel prior to beginning. Sanding a vinyl floor or concrete will help your tile to adhere better. (Proper safety equipment such as breathing mask should be uses any time you are sanding)

Take out any trims that may be around the floor, or baseboards if it is possible. If you will be working in a bathroom it is far more easy to remove the toilet than to work around it.

Remove any trim around the floor edges, and if you’re doing a bathroom, you’re best off removing the toilet. Bring your new tiles into your home a day or two before you begin installing so they can get acclimatized to your home.

The tiles will look best if they are begun where the pattern will be centered over the area of the room that is the most noticeable, such as the center of the floor. With this in mind, begin in the middle of the floor and work your way out to the edges. You may do this by measuring the floor, and find the center area of the two opposite walls, and snap a chalk line down. Do the same on the other two walls, snapping the line again. Use your square to be certain that your chalk line is crossing the other at a 90 degree angle.

Begin tiling where the two lines intersect, however rather than simply beginning to peel and stick, do take the time to run a dry line of tiles the full length and width of the room to see how they are actually going to fit prior to peeling back to the adhesive.

The rows which rest against the wall should be at least one half a tile wide, or about 6-8 inches, and just about the same on the other walls, so if they don’t end up that way, move your center line so that they will end up about even on all sides.

Beginning where your lines cross peel and lay the first tile.

Using your fingertips press them very firmly into place and then, using your line as a guide, work your way out to the wall.

Stop about every four rows and use a roller, or a rolling pin wrapped in a towel and roll over the tiles. making sure to press them all very firmly to the floor surface.

Put all of the whole tiles in place first, before beginning to work the edging and cut the tiles.

Tiles that need to be cut for the edging can be cut using a sharp utility knife, while those which need some shaping or curving can be cut using tin snips or heavy scissors.

Lay the tile to be cut on top of the last row of full tiles, then place another full tile over top of it so that it will overlap the loose tile. Using the second tile as your template, mark the loose tile (the first one)by scoring with a knife or using a marker. Cut along this mark and the fit should be nearly perfect.

For those hard to fit pieces your best bet is to use card stock, available from any office supply store, because it is thin enough to be pliable and will make excellent templates.

Once the entire floor has been installed, including the edges, put the moldings back down, which will cover any side gaps, and wipe with a paper towel or dust mop it to remove any debris.

You will want to permit the glue to settle in for at least 48 hours prior to mopping the new floor tiles.

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