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Old 07-10-2005, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: in my own head
Posts: 4,136
Talk to me about self stick vinyl tile?

Okay, my husband and I bought our new house about three and a half months ago - overall, we adore the house and we're trying to move slowly in taking care of the decorating. We have a HUGE list of things that we want to do, but money obviously stops us. So we're trying to do things within our budget while improving the value of the house. The previous owners left us with some pretty hideous wall colors, so we're in the process of painting rooms right now and we're going to paint the kitchen cabinets, which is going to take awhile, as it's a pretty tough project.

But - our kitchen floor and mud room floor are pretty awful. It's apparently jut a sheet of vinyl tile and I don't know if the previous owners put it down or if it's been here forever (our house is about 80 years old). But it extends from our somewhat smaller kitchen (small, but functional, which I like) into the mud room (I'd love to knock the wall down in between the two and make the kitchen bigger, but I don't think it's going to happen). The flooring is ripped in certain spots, and as we're trying to have a baby right now, I do NOT want my little one crawling on the floor and cutting herself on the ripped floor.

Also, we have a basement bathroom that's a full bathroom - toilet, cabinet, sink, and stand-up shower. I'm not sure when the bathroom was put in, but the floor is just concrete - there are cat pawprints in the floor. Since we're putting a daybed downstairs in the finished alcove where we keep our elliptical and TV, we'd like to make it into a sort of 'guest suite' for friends when they come to stay so that they get their own bathroom. But - again, the floor is concrete and somewhat sloped as well.

So my question - we've seen the vinyl squares of tile at Home Depot. If it were up to me, the kitchen and mud room would have hardwood flooring, but that's a little out of our budget. And the vinyl squares actually look quite nice up close - here's a link to what we've found:

Vinyl Flooring

This isn't the one we'd use - we've found a pretty one with blue in it that matches the blue we've already painted the trim in the kitchen (it was originally a horrid dark green, and now we've opened it up so much - it looks bigger now).

How hard is this stuff to put down? Would we have to pull up the flooring that's on there now or could we just cover it up? What would we need to do to prep it? Is it durable? As far as the downstairs bathroom goes, since the floor slopes, would it be hard for us to do? Would we need to do a LOT more prep down there than on the upstairs kitchen floor?

We're new homeowners, remember, and the biggest project that we've attempted is to paint the mud room and the kitchen. So this is a new one for us.


Old 07-10-2005, 04:34 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 23,948
In my limited experience with that stuff (helped my dad put it in a few rooms) it's a fine cheap alternative to full vinyl floors, it lasts long enough, easy to put down and replace.

My dad put it in his master bedroom and it was there for probably 15 years before carpeting with only minor damage to it. Keep any leftover tiles - might need to replace.

He also put it in my aunt's dining room - a high high HIGH traffic area (people, dogs, chairs, food, dogs, people oh my!) I do believe it's still there after about 5 years. I think it was over wood floors, too.

I wouldn't recommend it for any wet areas, though, unless the person selling it to you can guarantee it won't come up. It's just big tile stickers...if water gets up and under it, you can get bubbling and loose tiles.

It's a fairly easy process, just follow the directions. Measure, peel, stick. Cut the ones at the edges (start in the middle of the room).
Old 07-10-2005, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,369
I've put down this tile in the past. On serveral occasions in both kitchen and bathrooms. It's a cheap way to make an appartment a little nicer, cleaner and your own (for the length of your stay).

In my applied experience, self stick tile usually doesn't.

Here's what you do:

1) scrub the flood down with TSP or something equally good at removing floor wax, oil and dirt (particularly important in the kitchen).
2) get thee some Contact Cement glue. You can buy it in gel form to make it a little easier to use.
3) get some acetone for clean up on surfaces you didn't mean to slop glue on (like trim)
4) work in small section 3x3 tiles or how ever far your arms can comfortably reach
5) aply thin and even coat of glue on the floor, let dry for 5 minutes and peel and lay tile. Don't worry if you leave a few bare spots. Just make sure most of the tile is in contact with the glue. Particularly the corners. Use a cheap plastic plaster spreader to apply the glue. Get a couple of sizes for tighter spots at the end and to dispose when the glue dries.
6) follow up with a heavy hard rubber roller along the edges to make sure they are a tight fit. Usually the person not laying tiles does the rolling and glue spreading as the job progresses.

Don't forget to lay out the tiles dry before starting so you know how they will fit best and make sure you put down a few square lay lines so that you don't go all crooked in the middle of the job.
Old 07-10-2005, 05:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,644
We've done this a few times and it's a good temporary fix until you can afford what you really want and sometimes it turns out looking nice enough to keep for a long time.

The only advice I have, since it takes a while to be good at getting the seams tight, is to either do a checkerboard pattern or pick a design that has dark lines along the seams. A plain one color floor will have noticable seams that get a little worse looking with age.
Old 07-10-2005, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 2,055
This stuff also comes in different grades. The cheapest kind has the pattern placed on it photographically. It will wear fairly quickly in a high traffic area like a kitchen. The better stuff has the design molded in. It will also be thicker and heavier. You will also pay more for it, but is worth the expense if you don't plan on replacing it for a few years. Also, get more than you think you will need, so you have some for any needed repairs. IIRC, it comes in "lots" and the coloring can vary. Have fun remodeling!
Old 07-10-2005, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: UK currently
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by Elza B
We're new homeowners, remember, and the biggest project that we've attempted is to paint the mud room and the kitchen. So this is a new one for us.



Hey! I just did this over the weekend. So simple. Easy to cut in straight lines but slightly harder for curves. Peel, put them down and off you go. Did the whole kitchen floor in a day!
Friend said if doing a bathroom, to seal the edges with some sealant - very easy, just paint along the lines and wipe off.
It looks great.

Do bear in mind that your baby will take about 6 months to crawl so you do have a bit of time yet!!!

Good luck!
Old 07-10-2005, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: in my own head
Posts: 4,136
Originally Posted by Isabellnecessaryonabicycle
Hey! I just did this over the weekend. So simple. Easy to cut in straight lines but slightly harder for curves. Peel, put them down and off you go. Did the whole kitchen floor in a day!
Friend said if doing a bathroom, to seal the edges with some sealant - very easy, just paint along the lines and wipe off.
It looks great.

Do bear in mind that your baby will take about 6 months to crawl so you do have a bit of time yet!!!

Good luck!
Oh, we know, but we take a LONG time to do stuff.... That's why I'm thinking about it now because we'll eventually do it in the winter or spring of next year.

Thanks for all the info. I talked to my dad and he said he'd come out and get us started. He said he doesn't think we should put it down over the floor that's there right now, but if there's nothing else layered underneath there, we might be okay to do so.

I've been watching way too much "Moving Up" today. I don't know how these people all have so much money when they move into their houses. We're on a shoestring budget for our first year, trying to get things done without breaking the bank. But these people knock out walls, replace counters, replace all of their appliances (we did buy some when we moved in, and furniture), completely replace bathrooms, etc. We moved in with the understanding that we would do things slowly, as much as we could at once.

Hey, we have two rooms decorated.

Old 07-10-2005, 07:47 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 18,505
I wouldn't worry about little one(es) cutting herself on the torn floor, they are pretty durable.

But I would be concerned about the stuff on the floor now. Many old stuff contains asbestos, which should not be removed by you 2. If anything you leave it where it is and build the new floor above it.
Old 07-10-2005, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: NJ, Exit #137
Posts: 11,912
The current vinyl floor couldn't have been from 80 years ago. They didn't have vinyl back then. If it's coming up, you shouldn't put another vinyl floor on top of it. If it's only coming up in one or two spots, however, you can glue those down before you proceed. Generally, you shouldn't put one vinyl floor on top of another without some sort of skim coat, as the pattern from one can sometimes start to show through the other after time. But if you're planning this as a temporary fix, then don't worry about it.

Vinyl tile or another type of resilient flooring may well be a good solution for your basement bathroom, as vinyl can handle floor irregularities better than, say, ceramic tile. It all depends on the degree of slope. Also, since you have a while to plan, find out whether you have any moisture coming through your basement floor. You'll need to know that in order to make a decision

I would like to caution you about one thing you said--self-stick vinyl tile will not "add value" to your home. It may make it more pleasant for you to live in, but it won't make your house worth any more. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but be aware of what you're doing.

Two other options for you to consider:

1. Sheet vinyl in a "loose lay." IOW, not glued down. Some types of sheet vinyl are designed for this. While this would be another quick fix, it might be cheaper and easier than the tile.

2. Laminate. There are some really good glueless laminates out there at very low prices. You basically "float" the new laminate floor over the old one. It's quite easy to do yourself. A word to the wise--the square foot cost of the laminate can be low, but the cost of the finish molding can drive the price up. For example, you need to finish the job with quarter-round molding around the edges. The quarter-round that matches the floor can be very expensive. Instead, you can buy regular unfinished quarter round from any lumber yard and paint it to match your baseboard. (Another word to the wise--the Pergo they have at Home Depot is crap.)

Anyway, I'd highly recommend that you find a reputable flooring specialty store, where they can help you find a solution. Look for a place with knowledgeable employees. (Before you go, take careful measurements of the spaces and draw a diagram.) Don't settle for vinyl tile until you've investigated all the other options.
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