Peel and Stick Tiles
Preparing a Subfloor for Vinyl
Installing Vinyl Tile
Installing Vinyl Over Linoleum
Vinyl Over Concrete
Peel and Stick Tiles
We have almost decided to lay "peel and stick" vinyl tiles in our kitchen and dining room. We would like to hear pros/cons on vinyl tiles. Are they durable? Do they really stick? Do they come loose easily? Should we add more adhesive when applying them? Any help and direction will be greatly appreciated. We hate to make an investment of money, time, and labor on something that is not going to hold up for the long term.
Take Care to Install Properly
We laid Armstrong peel and stick tiles over existing sheet vinyl in our kitchen. They were easy to install and really changed the look of the room. What we didn't realize until later is that in high traffic areas the tiles shift and show gaps between the tiles. We called Armstrong, but were told it was caused by our installation technique. There must be no gaps between the last tile and the wall, which is very difficult to do. We had used their product to strip the glossy finish from the preexisting floor. We ended up pulling up the offending tiles (they break in pieces) and installing new tiles from ones we had saved. We additionally used vinyl adhesive troweled on the surface to make sure they stayed in place. This worked. If you go forward and install the peel and stick tiles, I'd recommend using an additional adhesive in high traffic areas. Other applications may have better results.
Tiles Didn't Want to Stay Flat
My parents used peel and stick tiles because their kitchen/dining area was an irregular shape and there would be less waste than using rolled vinyl. They encountered quite a bit of trouble with the tiles, though. The edges and corners just wouldn't stay completely flat. When they contacted the manufacturer, they were told that it was installed improperly and needed more adhesive. My father is meticulous in everything he does and had built the whole house. He knew that he had followed the installation instructions exactly. Finally, the manufacturer sent out some installers to "do it right." They had to heat the tiles and get them back up, which is quite a job! The installers could see that the right amount of adhesive had been used in the first installation. They then reinstalled them. But again the tiles just didn't stay flat. My parents finally gave up and put down rolled vinyl and are happy with it.
Holly in TN
What We Learned Along the Way…
We recently sold our home and moved two states away, but before we listed the old house, we re-floored the kitchen with peel and stick tiles. We were going to do laminate or hardwood, but realized that if someone bought our house and hated the kitchen floor (no matter what it was), it would be easier to remove vinyl and replace it. It was also a huge budget-saver for us!
We found the tiles to be easy to put down and they adhered well to our subfloor. We did have the benefit of the people at Lowe's who were flooring experts, and they coached us along the way. We learned:
- If you have a wooden subfloor, you'll want to apply the equivalent of mastic to the wood to fill in natural divots in the wood. This will help the tiles adhere better to the floor. The experts at your local store where you buy the tile will be able to help you find the right kind.
- If you think you can save money by preserving the quarter-round at the base of the walls, don't try. We tried and mucked it up badly enough that we bought new quarter-round anyhow. We wish we'd saved the effort and just taken it up to begin with. Quarter-round is cheap, but our time and availability were limited.
- Talk to the people at the store where you buy the tile. They generally know what's good and what's not. They also have tips galore to help you out. Ask them about their return policies; we ran into a box that had chipped tiles. We exchanged it, but we also bought more than we thought we'd need and returned the unopened box. You will also want a little bit of "fudge space" in case you mangle a tile or two; you don't want to have to run to the store in the middle of a project because you wrecked the only extra tile you had and now you're short!
- If you do goof up, keep a hairdryer handy. The hairdryer, aimed at the adhesive on the bottom of the tile, will warm it up enough so that you can slide it around if you mismatch your pattern.
- Have a utility knife with a package of new blades at the ready. This tool was the most useful we had when we laid our new floor, and we'll use it again in our new home when we re-floor the laundry room. And we'll use peel and stick tile then, too!
Love My Tiles!
My mother and I bought a cheap box of tiles for my bathroom. We took up all the old tiles and made sure the wooden subfloor was really clean. We started from the middle and worked outward. Needless to say, it turned out beautiful. As far as needing any extra adhesive, I wouldn't recommend it. My husband is remodeling the same bathroom that we put the tiles in and he had a really hard time pulling up the tiles we had laid.
Jennifer in NC
Separation at Seams
The biggest problem we've found with peel and stick tiles is that they separate at the seams pretty quickly. We didn't find it a problem other than it looked bad. It wasn't sticky and attracting any dirt, but it looked bad. I know Lowe's has stick tiles (more expensive) that have a tapered edge. I'm told these won't pull apart like that. If you want to use regular peel and stick tiles, I wouldn't get the super cheap ones and it'd probably be best to apply an adhesive.
Peal and Stick Nightmare
Peel and stick tiles are a nightmare for areas that get traffic. The kitchen and dining room, along with most bathrooms, definitely fall into this category. The tiles will end up shifting regardless of what you do. Although more costly up front, going with vinyl to begin with will save you money (and many headaches) in the long run.
Elaine T. in Salem, OR
Don't Waste Your Money
I used these in my kitchen a few years ago and they looked real good for a while but then they started to shift. I ended up with one eighth to one quarter inch spaces between some tiles. Also the tiles against the wall buckled upward because the tiles next to them had shifted and the ones against the wall had no place to go. The only fix for this (and it is a temporary one) is to heat the offending tiles and shift them back into their own space. However, they will shift again.
Do Your Homework
Try going to Lowe's, Home Depot or some other large home maintenance store and talk to someone in that department. When making this call, ask for the most experienced person in that department. Write down that person's name, phone number, date, time of call, and their recommendations. Ask when they anticipate their next sale.
Then I'd call the other stores in the area and ask the same questions. After about four or more calls, I'd look for the same counsel and make my decision from there.
Also check at the library, asking the reference librarian to find some books or videos on the subject. Check out the books and video(s) and look at them for the same counsel from one or more sources.
Doing a Quality Job
We used these tiles to redo our kitchen a few years ago and so did my sister. It worked out really well.
As with anything, the quality of the finished job depends on condition of the subfloor and how careful you are when laying the tiles (getting them evenly spaced). The subfloor must be very smooth and clean. We laid "underlayment." You won't need any additional glues. Just peel the paper off and stick the tiles down.
Take some time to measure and figure out the best layout as you want the tiles to be straight. If you have a solid colored tile, it is easiest. Just do some research online or get a friend to help who has done it before.
No special care is needed after the floor is down. Most require no waxing. Just don't let water stand on the floor. Ours looked nice for a long time (we have since moved) and my sister's floor looks fabulous. Her floor has been down five years.
The job goes fast once the preliminary work is done. Make sure there are no nails sticking up. The base must be smooth or you will see and feel the imperfections through the floor.
C.M. in Illinois
Consider Pros and Cons
Our apartment has this kind of floor in the kitchen, and I hate it. The tiles weren't properly laid to start with, so there are gaps where the subfloor shows through. At one point several of the tiles peeled off completely, so the landlord put new ones down, and since the old ones had become discolored, the new bright white ones contrast sharply with the old ones. And after a few weeks, the new ones just started peeling up again.
It's extremely difficult to mop the floor because the tiles don't lie down flat, especially at the edges, where they're crammed up against the wall. Of course, putting the floor down properly in the first place would probably have eliminated most of these problems. However, putting it down properly would involve taking out all the fixtures, removing all the baseboards, preparing the subfloor, sticking the tiles on (carefully lining them up to avoid gaps), and then putting everything back. In other words, it would be about the same amount of work as laying sheet vinyl instead, and it would cost about the same too. So what's the advantage?
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