Best way to Install Vinyl Tile
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Vinyl Tile is still one of the best floor coverings to choose for kitchens and bathrooms . Ceramic tile is a great choice also , but the price tag to have a pro install it can be excessive . The solution , vinyl tiles installed by you . You will save a lot of cash you can use toward other home home improvements you can do .
On top of that , vinyl ceramic tile is much better than linoleum for practical reasons . With a linoleum floor , one accident and the whole floor is ruined primarily , because it is all one piece . When you buy vinyl tile , you buy extra squares . If an accident ruins one or two tiles , you replace them . In this article I will help you learn how to install your own vinyl tile floor with assurance . I’m going to teach you the old school way of laying this beautiful floor covering . I call it old school , because I learned from tile layers that had been doing it for years before I started . First , we need to start with the basics . I don’t know what is on the floor where you plan to put down vinyl tile , so I’m going to show you what our preparation goals are . We want a nice smooth surface to lay our vinyl tile on .
Some people will tile over existing tile . This can be okay , but it is not the preferred choice . To do this right , you need to remove whatever flooring is there now , until you are down to either a smooth cement or wooden surface . If there are cracks and valleys or unleveled surfaces , they need to be filled and smoothed out before we can start laying your vinyl tile . On cement or wooden surfaces , you can use cement to fill in and smooth the surface . You can also install plywood over the existing floor to achieve the surface your vinyl tile needs . You caulk in all the joints after installing the plywood . You can use Durok as well . The goal , as I said before , is to have a smooth surface before you begin to lay vinyl tile . Otherwise , your tile will crack wherever pressure is placed on the tile over existing rough areas . Now , buying the vinyl tile you want is next . There is self-adhesive vinyl tile that is very inexpensive . However , remember you get what you pay for . The adhesive on these tiles is not of great quality and you will be replacing them often . They are usually very thin as well , so they are easily damaged . The thicker the vinyl tile , the more expensive and durable it is . That is the rule of thumb . Choose vinyl tile that has about 1/8″ thickness or above and you will have a floor that will last a long time . So choose your style and color wisely . It will be with you awhile .
Now , the tools you will need are next . You will not need a tile cutter . That isn’t the old school method . Using a tile cutter is tedious and slow , and your edges will never be tight . You will need a good razor knife , a small butane torch , a trowel with teeth along one edge for applying the adhesive , some old rags , and some mineral spirits . A lot of experts will tell you to always begin in the center of the room when laying any kind of tile . However with kitchens and bathrooms , this is not always or even often the best method . Starting at one wall and working toward your cabinets is much better , because most of your tiles that need to be cut will be under the edge of the cabinets and not seen . Starting along one wall , trowel on your adhesive , making sure there are ridges by using the toothed edge of your trowel . Do not go too far away from the wall as you will be laying tile there and don’t want to have to reach while doing so . Let the adhesive dry for about 15 minutes so it’s very sticky . Lay your first tile at the corner and continue to lay a row , making sure you keep your tiles aligned . As you get to the end of your row , do not worry about the area that is left over where a whole tile will not fit in . We will take care of that last . However , remove the adhesive from that area so it won’t dry before we get back to it . The adhesive you applied should have gone just a little further out than the row of tile itself , so now you have a row , with a little adhesive area waiting for the next row . Now start back at the beginning . Apply a little more than a row’s width of adhesive , let it dry , then lay another row of tile , again making sure you align the tiles with each other so your lines are straight . . Once you have done the entire floor except those areas where a whole tile would not fit in , let the floor dry until tomorrow . Do not allow anyone to walk on the floor . The adhesive takes time to dry . Now , once the adhesive is dry , we are ready to do the cutting in portion of your vinyl tile job . You should be able to walk carefully on the tiles without moving them by now . If not , you may have used too much adhesive and will have to wait longer , until you are sure it is dry .
Now , let’s cut it in . Go to where your first row that ended with a little space left over . Apply some adhesive to that area , plus on the floor , along the wall where you are going to put in your cut pieces of vinyl tile . Let that dry , just as you did before for 15 minutes . Now , take a full vinyl tile , matching it up with your tiles already on the floor at the bottom , lean it at an angle to the wall . Let me explain so you are sure to understand . You place the tile against the edge of the last tile in the row as if you were about to lay it down , but just let it lean against the wall at whatever angle it has to . Now , you will need your razor knife and your small butane torch . Be careful with the little torch that you don’t burn anything , please . If you are not comfortable with handling a small torch , this method is not for you . Place the fingers of one hand on the top of the tile along the wall with very slight downward pressure . Wave the flame of the torch back and forth across the center of the tile about where you would like it to bend . Don’t let the flame linger on the tile to melt it . Keep a distance so it only gets heated up .
As it gets hot , the pressure from your fingers will begin to push the vinyl tile downward , bending it into place . As soon as the tile is bent to the point where it is flat against the floor and the rest against the wall , set down your torch , pointing it carefully away from anything or anyone , and take your razor knife and cut along the bend right at the wall . It will cut like butter . Now that tile fits perfectly to the contour of the wall . It also , because of the light pressure you applied as you pressed it down , has tightened up that entire row , so the vinyl tiles will not separate later . This is a floor that will last a long time and answers the problem of the tiles separating later Continue that same process for each row and everywhere the tiles need to be cut in . Then clean up . You are now an old school master at laying vinyl tile ! One last warning , as I said before , if you are not comfortable using flame , you should go ahead and use a tile cutter . It may not be as tight , but you can still do a good job with it without endangering yourself . This article was intended to pass on an old school method I learned and have used to lay many beautiful tile floors that lasted for years . I hope that by passing it onto you , the old way will not be lost .