Q&A / 

Vinyl Floor Tile & Vinyl Planks

Have you ever been really surprised when you look at something new? It happened to me when I saw the results of the silent revolution that happened with vinyl floor tiles. In the mid-1990's, laminate flooring made a big splash. This alternative new flooring material started to take away market share from traditional flooring like vinyl tile, ceramic tiles, hardwood, etc. The companies that made these products probably had an emergency meeting when they detected a drop in sales. Several of the vinyl tile companies put their research and development teams to work and the results are breathtaking.

Forget About Grocery Tile

Up until I saw the new vinyl tiles and planks, I felt that most of the tiles out there were just renditions of the standard grocery store or large discount department store floors that have endless rows of the mundane floor tile patterns that haven't changed in nearly 40 years. The new vinyl floor tiles and planks ARE going to take your breath away when you see them. I have always liked vinyl tile because it is flexible, durable and the material itself is waterproof. But I have never liked the looks of the product! Well, I can't wait to put the new planks in my basement activity room!


Some of the thinner gauge vinyl flooring tiles come with a factory applied adhesive. You just peel off the silicone paper and install the tiles. This is a pretty fail-safe method of adhering the tile to a subfloor. I personally am not a big fan of the self-stick tiles only because they are thinner gauge than the commercial tile. I love tile that is 1/8 inch thick. It wears like iron and offers more durability in case something drops on the floor.

The adhesives used for the 1/8th inch thick tile are product specific. This means you just can't use any adhesive. The wonderful Congoleum product catalog on my desk contains a handy table that tells you exactly which adhesive to use with each dry back 1/8th inch thick tile. If you use a substitute adhesive, you are rolling the dice.

The Planks

The vinyl plank system I intend to install is a magnificent product. It has all of the appearance attributes of real hardwood and the imitation laminate flooring. But it has a huge advantage - the material is waterproof. This makes the vinyl planks an excellent choice for basement floors that are subject to periodic episodes of water infiltration. It makes them excellent choices for people who want a wood floor look in a bathroom.

Because the vinyl planks come in long rectangles, they look like wood. I never liked the 12 x 12 wood look-a-like vinyl tiles because the majority of wood flooring is strip, not veneered squares. The new vinyl planks complete the illusion and they do it well.

The Other New Tiles

Do you like geometric patterns? If so, wait till you see some of the new designs. How about tiles with Southwestern style borders? Are you a natural stone lover, perhaps marble? If so, you will be able to find elegant black, green, rose, almond and white simulated marble. I majored in geology in college and these tiles look like the real McCoy!

Have you ever been to a museum or some other fancy building that has inlaid wood floors? You can get vinyl tiles that simulate this effect too!

If you like the look of symmetry often found in sheet vinyl products, these same patterns are available in vinyl tile. You lay the tiles down and the end result is the look of sheet vinyl.

Would you like to create a solid color mosaic look? You can get brilliant solid colors like red, yellow, forest green, deep blue, gray, black, white, and taupe. The black and white tiles when laid in an alternating pattern is a striking floor. In a kids activity room, you could create a decent sized checker or chess board right in the middle of the floor. Now THAT would be a conversation item, as long as you get checkers that are 10 inches in diameter or 24 inch high chess pieces!

If you are lucky enough to have a Congoleum flooring showroom near your home that displays their full line of products, you are going to be blown away by what you will see. Some other manufacturers have good looking products, but not to the extent of Congoleum.

Column B307


7 Responses to Vinyl Floor Tile & Vinyl Planks

  1. I am trying to find the best vinyl plank flooring I can. All I get are sites for who sells these, not which are best to use. I have looked at Armstrong & it seems nice, just not sure if it is the best of all brands. Any advice you could give would be most helpful..Thanks!

  2. Hi Tim, I really enjoy your articles as I am an avid do-it-yourselfer!! My question is about Vinyl Plank tiles that self stick. I purchased the Bamboo pattern from Home Depot and installed in about half my home. (Kitchen, Day Room, Living Room & Long Hallway. It has been installed for about a year or so, and the self adhesive is coming loose only in the Living Room, which gets less use than the other areas. Home Depot says get a roller and roll it! I noticed that Wal Mart has been using the same type Planking in the shoe department in thier stores. It seems to have the same problem I am having. The vinyl plank is curled on the edges throughout the Living Room just like Wal Mart. It appears that the adhesive is coming loose. I would appreciate any advice you may have on this subject. Sincerely, ROD Daugherty

  3. I have heard that pres lock vinyl laminate flooring is really bad for pets and can make them really sick. Have you heard this. Our friends daughter works in flooring back west and she said we should be careful

    • Who do you think is best qualified to answer questions about pets? Stop and think about that for a moment...... Clue: begins with the letter V. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi there,
    I was told by a person at Home Depot that the Shnier Self--Locking Vinyl Tile Flooring would be appropriate for a very old Kitchen - 1940's - which has floors that are not perfectly level?? Could you offer advice??

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.