Vinyl Floor Tile Installation
Article Summary: Vinyl Floors can be fitted with relative ease by most do-it-yourselfers but there are a few important things to consider before you start. This article looks at how to get the perfect results when fitting Vinyl Tiles.
For wooden floors, I always recommend a thin plywood or hardboard covering before fixing the vinyl floor. This layer should be screwed to the existing floor at 12 inch intervals and the heads of screws should be countersunk in slightly then filled with suitable filler. This procedure isn’t essential and will depend largely on the quality of your existing wooden floor, many will have ridges visible where they join together and this will show through the vinyl.
Vinyl tiles are pretty easy to fit, but as with any job the quality of the initial preparation will make a huge difference to how your new vinyl floor looks. The slightest lump or bump under the newly laid floor will unfortunately show up as a huge crater and look pretty awful. So when laying vinyl flooring it is very important to prepare well. In fact, of all the flooring surfaces, this one needs the most pre-installation care. Even the smallest grain of dirt will show up through the floor, so use of a vacuum is essential as a final clean up.
An alternative would be to use a floor sander to get the surface smooth and flat. This would be a good course of action where, for example you could not raise the level of the existing floor very much.
For concrete floors, make sure that the surface is flat, smooth and completely free from grit. On my own floors I used to first treat the concrete with an acid based etcher to ensure a good painting surface, and then paint the floor with good quality floor paint. This would make absolutely sure that no grit would be present when I fitted my vinyl floor tiles. This is not essential, but if you have the time it is well worth the effort. In any case the concrete should have any small holes filled and any lumps ground flat.
Fitting the Vinyl Floor Tiles
Most walls these days aren’t well aligned with each other. All you can do is to use the most prominent straight wall to use as a guide to fit your tiles to. Don’t fit the first row against the wall, but instead first measure across the room width and divide the width of the tile into it. This will give you the number of tiles and any fraction of a tile you need to use. Divide the remaining fraction by 2 to get the distance you should set the first tile away from the wall. This will result in each tile nearest each wall being equal. Not clear? OK, an example:
Tile Width = 12 inches (305mm)
Room Width divided by Tile width:
128 / 12 = 10.667 tiles. (10 full width tiles plus 0.667 of a full tile)
Divide the remaining 0.667 of a tile by 2 to give 0.3335 times 12 inches = 4 inches.
Therefore each end tile should be 4 inches wide.
Why bother? – Have you ever seen a tiled pattern that has been set out where a full tile width has been set against a wall, but at the other end a tile width has been cut to fit? If you have you will know that it looks awful! This way takes a little more time and effort but makes all the difference.
Always use either a long straight edge or a chalk line to mark the position of the first row of vinyl floor tiles. The wall may not be exactly straight, so this is important.
When fitting vinyl tiles it is important to use only the manufacturers recommended glue. Other glue might be cheaper but you always want to; a) Protect your warranty, b) Risk your tiles coming loose after a short time, c) Risk any sort of damage to your tiles like color bleeding.
If you have followed my advice above you shouldn’t have any problems with damp, but always check that your sub floor is damp-free before fitting any kind of tiles.
Cutting vinyl tile is easy with any type of sharp knife. Always use a fresh blade and a straight edge to cut your tiles. The first cut should be a gentle test cut before finally slicing through the vinyl unless you are well practiced in this. It is easy for the blade to veer off course, so take your time and get it right the first time!
Other Requirements – Vinyl tiles should be stiff enough to not require an excessive amount of pressure when fitting. Many tile manufacturers require the use of roller or weight to force the tiles to the sub floor. Rollers can be hired and should be used if stipulated for best results.