Today a friend asked my opinion on peel & stick vinyl tiles and I figured it was the perfect question to share with my readers. She wanted to know if it was really a doable project for herself and if it would last. So I told her what I tell everyone that asks that very same question. Yes, peel and stick vinyl tiles are a doable project and can last the test of time. Well, only if you follow these three steps:
1.) Prep the existing surface. The vinyl tiles cannot be installed on just any surface. No matter what surface you are sticking the tiles to, you need to make sure the area is clean of dust and debris. Sweep the area and then use a wet mop or sponge on the area. Wait till it dries then continue prepping the surface. If you have a plywood subfloor you are installing the vinyl tiles on, you need to roll on an adhesive primer. An adhesive primer will make a nice smooth surface for the glue on the vinyl tiles to stick to ensuring that your tiles will actually stick to the floor.
If you are going over an existing vinyl or linoleum flooring you will need to strip the old finish off first. I suggest using Armstrong’s New Beginning’s floor stripper. Once you have cleaned and stripped the old flooring you are ready to use an embossing leveler. An embossing leveler goes directly over the old vinyl and fills in any pattern lines or small dents and scratches. If you have large rips or dents you will need to fill those in with a floor patch prior to leveling. The embossing leveler also ensures you have a good surface to apply the new tiles over.
2.) Follow the instructions. Every brand of peel and stick vinyl tiles is different, so you need to read the manufacturers instructions. For example some brands print an arrow on the paper covering the sticky side of the tiles. This arrow is to help you install the tiles in the correct orientation, but you will only know that if you read the instructions! Even though the tiles appear square they fit together better when all placed down in the same direction.
When cutting the tiles it is best to use a utility knife or vinyl tile cutter. If you are using a utility knife it is best to score and then snap the tiles. Do not try to cut all the way through the tiles with a utility knife. If you don’t have the arm strength or don’t want to use a utility knife, use a vinyl tile cutter. It is similar to an old-fashioned paper-cutter and cuts all the way through the tile in one fell swoop.
Another rule of thumb is to take your time. It is best to only install the tile once. If you take your time, you will not have to remove them and then reposition them on the ground. It is better for the integrity of your glue if this is done only once!
3.) You get what you pay for. This one is important. When it comes to peel and stick vinyl tile the old adage is correct! I would stay away from anything under $.60 a square foot if you want the tiles to last more than a year or two. Typically speaking the more expensive peel and stick vinyl tiles are a better grade. Having a longer warranty, better finish, and thicker material.
Peel and stick vinyl tiles are one of those flooring projects that get a bad rap. But you really can do it yourself, you just have to make sure that you prep the existing surface, follow the instructions, and buy a quality product. Doing so will minimize problems with the tiles in the future. And like any other flooring product it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra box just in case you have a problem down the line and only need to replace a few. If you do it right the first time peel and stick vinyl tiles can last the test of time!