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Installing vinyl floor tiles


Vinyl floor tiles come in almost an endless array of colors, patterns, and finishes. But all of these can be categorized into just two basic types: tiles that are laid in adhesive, such as those shown here, and self-sticking tiles that come with protective paper on their sticky side. To lay self-sticking tiles, first thoroughly clean your existing floor; snap some layout chalk lines; then peel off the paper, and press the tile down onto the floor. While there’s no question that self-sticking tiles are easier to in stall, the traditional type, with separate adhesive, is considered by most to yield the more durable installation.
 

Step 1. After marking work lines on the floor, lay out the tiles dry to make sure your installation plans will work. Place the tiles against the work lines in all four directions.

 

Step 2. Check the adhesive container to find out how long the adhesive can be exposed before it starts to dry. Then plan to install an area that you can comfortably get done in this period. Spread the adhesive in this area using a notched trowel held at a 45-deg. angle.

 

Step 3. Carefully lower each tile into place to avoid smearing the adhesive. Press the tile down with your hands; then roll it smooth with a kitchen rolling pin or floor roller. If any adhesive squeezes up between tiles, wipe it up immediately with the solvent specified on the product container.

 

Step 4. To cut a border tile, place a new full tile over the last full tile that has been installed. Then take another full tile and butt it against the wall. Cut along the edge of the top tile that’s farthest away from the wall. To cut tiles for outside corners (inset), do the same thing, but on both sides of the corner.

 

VINYL FLOOR TILES

Installing vinyl or resilient floor tiles is fairly simple and requires only a few tools. For a professional effect, though, you’ll need to plan the layout and prepare the substrate properly.

Most resilient floor tiles come in 12-inch squares. Trim strips in various accent colors are available in 1/4- to 6-inch widths. When ordering, figure the areas in square feet to be covered (length times width) and add 5 to 10 percent for waste.

Start with the Right Base

When you pick out a resilient flooring material, check the manufacturer’s instructions for acceptable substrates. This will guide you to the type of underlayment to use and its corresponding adhesive. Here are some commonly acceptable substrates for resilient tile and sheet flooring and what to watch out for:

Plywood that bears the stamp “Underlayment Grade” (as rated by the American Plywood Association) is the best underlayment for resilient flooring. Use only material of 1/4-inch or greater thickness. Lauan, a tropical hardwood, is also used, but make sure you get Type 1, with exterior-grade glue. All plywood should be firmly attached, with surface cracks and holes filled and sanded smooth.

Wood strip flooring will serve as an underlayment only if it is completely smooth, dry, free of wax, and has all joints filled. Even then, the wood strips can shrink and swell, so a better bet is to put down an underlayment of 1/2-inch underlayment-grade plywood or 1/4-inch lauan plywood.

Old resilient tile, sheet flooring, and linoleum should be clean, free of wax, and tightly adhered with no curled edges or bubbles.

Ceramic tile must be clean and free of wax. If the surface is porous, make sure it is completely dry. Joints should be grouted full and leveled.

Concrete must be smooth and dry. Fill cracks and dimples with a latex underlayment compound.

Preparing the Layout

Set tiles working from the middle of the floor outward. Begin by finding the middle of each wall and snapping a chalk line between opposite walls. Use a framing square to make sure the intersection of the lines is square.
 

Smart tip

ALWAYS CHECK WITH THE MANUFACTURER WHEN SELECTING AN UNDERLAYMENT MATERIAL. Two THAT MOST MANUFACTURERS REJECT:

  • PARTICLEBOARD BECAUSE IT SWELLS GREATLY WHEN WET. IF YOU HAVE PARTICLEBOARD ON THE FLOOR NOW, REMOVE IT OR COVER IT WITH UNDERLAYMENT-GRADE PLYWOOD.

  • HARDBOARD BECAUSE SOME TILE MANUFACTURERS DO NOT CONSIDER IT A SUITABLE UNDERLAYMENT FOR THEIR PRODUCTS.

 

 

 

 

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