Easy Installation of Adhesive Vinyl
Get the Look of Traditional Tile with the Easy Installation of Adhesive Vinyl.
By Matt Weber
Fool your friends and neighbors with stick-down tile that has the appearance of genuine stone. With careful planning and grouted joints, you can install a new vinyl floor with a classic look much faster and easier than using thinset mortar and ceramic or stone tile.
This project was inspired by a friend of mine with a pet husky named Niko who had been mistakenly locked in the bathroom. My friend went to work, and Niko awoke from his nap in a panic. He tried to dig his way out of the room, right through the existing resilient flooring. By the time he was discovered Niko had destroyed half the floor. It was high time for replacement (the floor, not the dog), and we decided on the vinyl tile installation detailed here.
Prep & Materials
For this type of flooring, I suggest choosing adhesive-backed vinyl tile from a reputable manufacturer. Cheaper stick-down tiles usually have inferior adhesive, and the last thing you want are tiles that don’t bond to the subfloor.
For grout, I use a ready-to-use, premixed sanded acrylic grout that is formulated for use with vinyl tile.
Pick up a bag of plastic tiles spacers, too, which help keep all the joints the same size. Tile spacers come in different sizes, and the size is up to you. My personal opinion is that smaller is better, because it provides less grout surface to collect dirt and grime. We chose spacers small enough for 1/8-in. joints.
In our situation we had to remove the existing flooring and old adhesive. This leaves a residue on the floor, so to ensure a solid bond for the new flooring we primed the subfloor. To do this, buy a bottle of Multipurpose Floor Primer.
The day prior to installing the floor, move the vinyl tiles into the room where they’ll be installed and leave them overnight. This allows the vinyl to warm to room temperature and become less brittle for installation.
Poor ol’ Niko had given me a jump on removing the old flooring, but there was still plenty of stubborn sheet vinyl between myself and the subfloor.
First, I took off the shoe molding. To prevent paint peeling off the base molding, which I wanted left intact, I ran a utility knife along the caulk line between the base and the shoe. The shoe molding then comes off with a pry bar. I used a piece of vinyl tile to protect the base molding when prying.
A hand scraper can be used to remove the old flooring and glue from the slab. I highly suggest, however, that you invest in scraper blades that fit into a reciprocating saw. You’ll also want more than one; we went through three on this small floor. But these time-saving attachments not only fly through demolition faster than you could do by hand, but they spare lots of wear and tear on your joints and knees.