Vinyl tile is a simple, inexpensive way to cover a floor. Many tiles have a self-adhesive that only requires peeling off the backing and sticking them down.
Tiles without the backing require spreading an adhesive over the floor with a notched trowel, then setting the tiles.
Vinyl tiles do have a few drawbacks. They have more edges and don't have a felt backing that sets in glue, so they may come loose easier than sheet vinyl.
Frequent moppings (like in the kitchen) also tend to soak more water into tiles and the tiny cracks between tiles gather dust and debris that's hard to clean out.
CAUTION: Many adhesives are flammable, cause skin irritation, and can produce harmful vapors. Follow manufacturer's recommendations and provide adequate ventilation.
For definitions of terms used throughout this project see Flooring Glossary.
How Many Tiles?
For 12" tiles, it's a simple calculation. Just multiply the length by the width of your room (area) -- that's the number of tiles needed. Add 5% extra for cutting and waste.
Nine inch tiles require dividing the room's length (in inches) by 9, then dividing the room's width (in inches) by 9. Take those two numbers and multiply them together to get the number of tiles needed. Again, add 5% extra.
All the major obstructions on the floor -- like cabinets and appliances -- should be measured separately and subtracted from the total.
To achieve lasting results, be sure the subfloor and any underlayment layers are structurally sound. Tiles are often put directly on top of old linoleum so make sure the surface is clean, smooth and free of grease and wax.
WARNING: Do not sand old floor tiles or other resilient flooring, backing or lining felt. They may contain asbestos and cause serious injury.
Vinyl mirrors any irregularities in the floor that it covers. All joints and holes in the underlayment should be filled with floor patching compound and sanded to make a smooth surface.
Check that there is adequate clearance at the bottom of doors to allow for the new floor. Remove baseboard and base shoe before installing the floor. Finally, read over and follow the adhesive directions to ensure a proper bond.