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Tips to Install Vinyl Floor Tiles

The first thing to realize about vinyl tile is that the floor surface it is attached to must be very smooth. This means you need to fill any holes, cracks or depressions. The floor needs to be free of grit and bumps as well. Particles of sand or any other hard object will eventually telegraph through the tile. The best way to check for imperfections is at night. Use an automotive trouble lamp and lay it on the floor and aim the bulb so it shines sideways across the floor. Trust me, you will see imperfections!

Follow Adhesive Instructions

First, make sure you buy the specified adhesive for the tile. DO NOT use an off-brand adhesive. If you do, tile can come loose, colors may bleed, etc. Don't try to save money by buying a non-name brand adhesive.

Read the label instructions - twice. Follow them to the letter. Pay attention to instructions that deal with moisture content of concrete floors. If the floor is fresh or damp, you could have bonding problems.

Square the Floor

Vinyl floor tiles or vinyl plank flooring are manufactured square. The first tile or line of tile you lay must be perfect or your error will carry through on each successive row. Look at your room. What is the primary sight line where people stand and look down or across the floor? Use this as a guideline for creating your layout. Align the first row of tile so that when you get to the sight line, it is straight or parallel with a nearby wall. If you chalk your initial layout line, snap the chalk line in the air first so when it snaps on the floor it is a crisp line, not a blurred line.

Cutting Tile

Vinyl tile can be cut with a razor knife, but that is hard work. It is best to use a vinyl tile cutter. These devices can be rented at tool centers. They are hand operated and make very crisp cuts. If you work with plank vinyl, keep in mind that the cut-off piece from the row you are working on is used to start the next row. In other words, with plank vinyl, there is zero waste!

Rolling the Floor

The instructions for your vinyl flooring may require that the tiles be rolled with a heavy floor roller within so many minutes of being installed. Do not overlook this step! The rollers can be rented where you get the cutter. Clean the roller wheels well before you place it on your new tile!

Vinyl Floor Care Guidelines

The biggest enemy of any flooring is tracked in dirt and grit. Small sand and dirt particles will scratch virtually any surface, even hard ceramic tile. If you want your floors to look as good as this sample of Congoleum vinyl planking, then you need to regularly vacuum or dust mop the floor. Place door mats to catch most debris or tell family and friends to take off their shoes.

If you have an asphalt driveway, you should really get in the habit of removing your shoes. Your shoes pick up the asphalt oils, and they will eventually stain vinyl tile floors, especially light colored ones.

Believe it or not, certain vinyl floors can be sunburned. If sunlight streams in through a large glass door or window, shade the tile in the most intense part of the day. The glass can actually magnify the sun's rays.

When you purchase your vinyl flooring, see if the store also carries the recommended cleaners and polishing compounds. They may cost one or two dollars more per bottle than off brands you see at the grocery, but they are well worth it. If you use these products, save the labels from the empty bottles. In the event you have a future problem, the manufacturer of the tile will usually go the extra mile to make you happy. They recognize immediately that you DID probably follow all of their guidelines!

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2 Responses to Tips to Install Vinyl Floor Tiles

  1. When installing a long narrow vinyl tile, like the Rustic Pine shown in the picture, should you install the long dimension in the major traffic direction, or are you okay having it run the the other way. I'm concerned about corners or edges lifting over time if the main traffic direction has a lot of seams vs fewer seams. Or is this not an issue if installed correctly.

  2. I am installing vinal 12"x12' TILE IN MY KITCHEN OVER the pine tongue and groove subfloor. Is there any sealer I should put on the wood before I glue these tiles down on it. Any suggestions?

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