Flooring Options: Paint, Vinyl Tiles, Carpet Tiles, Ceramic Tiles, and Hard Wood Planks

If you have ever dreamed of hardwood floors in your dining room, ceramic tiles in your entryway, or if you just wish you could re-carpet your home, but think that you can’t afford these luxuries, then you should read this rest of this article. Homeowners can save hundreds of dollars by installing flooring themselves, and by taking advantage of bargain priced do-it-yourself flooring kits. This article will cover various DIY flooring projects for both concrete floors, and sub-floor foundations.

Concrete Floors

There are many flooring options that you can use in your basement that will improve the look, texture, and value of the traditional polished concrete floor. Your choices include concrete paint, carpet tiles, and vinyl tiles.

Concrete Paint

Concrete paint is one of the easiest, and least expensive, flooring options that can be used on a concrete floor. Typically a gallon of concrete paint, good for a 10 foot by 10 foot room, runs between $10 and $20 depending on the brand. One of the advantages of using concrete paint is that you can get it pre-mixed in a variety of colors, or you can have a custom color mixed for you to match your décor.

Prep for installing this flooring option is easy. Simply clean the surface, and allow it to dry. Then apply one coat of the concrete paint, allow it to dry 24 hours, and then apply a second coat and allow it to dry 24 hours before using the surface. If you are creative you can even use different colors of concrete paint to create a design or pattern on your floor free hand, or use stencils to add texture and dimension to your flooring project.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl flooring is also easy to install on concrete floors. Self-stick vinyl tiles will run anywhere from $.79 per square foot to $2 per square foot. The price will depend on the manufacturer, store specials, color of the tile, and the patterns on the tile. To determine the number of tiles you will need simply multiply the length of your room by the width of your room, and then multiply this number by 1.1. By allowing a 10% margin of error you won’t have to worry about running out of tiles, and you will have a few extra tiles available in case you make a mistake, or there is a flawed tile in the batch. Also by allowing yourself a margin of error you will have replacement tiles available in case your floor is damaged or discolored from use.

Prep for this flooring project will depend on the tiles you use, but it will usually involve cleaning and drying the surface. If the tile that you selected has a pattern on it you will need to do a little layout work before you begin to set them. Try to center the pattern in the middle of the room, and then work out from there. It is also a good idea to do a test matrix of two squares by two squares to see how well the adhesive adheres to your floor. Let this matrix sit for 24 hours and then test how well they have adhered to your floor. If they are loose after the 24-hour test period you may need a tile adhesive, which is available at most home repair stores. If the tiles are secure then you can continue to set the rest of your vinyl tiles.

Carpet Tiles

Self-stick carpet tiles are another flooring option that works well with concrete floors. You can select from a wide variety of carpet types, however, for basements Berber carpet tiles are probably the most appropriate. These tiles run about $1.50 per square foot, and they usually come in boxes of twenty 1 foot by 1 foot tiles. These tiles are easy to cut so carpeting odd shaped rooms is relatively easy. To determine how many tiles you will need multiply the length of your room by the width of the room, then multiply this number by 1.1. Divide this number by 20 and round up to determine how many boxes of tiles you will need.

Prep for this flooring project is the same as for the other concrete projects. Simply clean the surface and allow it to dry before installing the carpet tiles. It is recommended that you alternate the direction of tiles so that it wears better. To install simply remove the backing, lay the tile in position, and apply pressure to the tile to help it adhere to the surface. If you make a mistake you should be able to easily pull the tile up and reposition it. It will take about 24 hours for the glue to cure and fully adhere to the concrete floor. For a creative touch you can order two different colors of carpet tiles and create patterns.

Sub-Floor Flooring Options

If you are trying to re-floor an area that has sub-flooring you can use any of the above DIY flooring options, however, because sub-flooring is usually installed in higher traffic areas you may want to install higher quality flooring like hard wood or ceramic tile. These products will be a little more expensive, but by installing them yourself you can save 100% to 200%.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles vary in price depending on their manufacturer, their color, their pattern, and their size. In addition to calculating the price of the ceramic tiles you will also need to budget for adhesive, tile underlay board, grout, and tools. However, by installing the tiles yourself you will be saving hundreds of dollars in labor expenses. The best way to save money on ceramic tiles is to look seriously for a bargain. Home repair stores often offer great sales on tiles in the spring in order to kick off their home repair season. You can also look online for clearance tiles, going out of business sales, discontinued tiles, and wholesale tiles. To reduce your tool expenses ask your local home repair store if they lend or rent expensive tools to customers, or try to find someone who is willing to lend you their tools.

To determine how many tiles you will need you will need to determine the square footage of the area you would like to tile and multiply this by 1.1 to 1.2, this strategy will ensue that you have enough to cover the initial installation, mistakes, and repairs. Before installing your tiles you will need to determine how they will be laid out. Before installing your tiles you will also need to make sure that your sub-flooring is level. If it is not you will need to level it before installing your tile. Using a sander and filler can do this, or you can purchase tile underlaying boards. The underlaying boards come in various sizes, however, a 3 foot by 8 foot board will cost about $9. After this you will need to prepare you surface by cleaning it and letting it dry. Then you will need to apply the adhesive in a thin layer in a small workable area that is no bigger than the area of a two by two tile matrix. After applying the adhesive set your tiles, and repeat the process until you have completed the area. Next you will need to apply the grout. After grouting use a damp rag to wipe off excess grout and adhesive from the top of the tiles. Allow the tiles to cure for 24 hours before walking on the floor.

Snap-together Hard Wood Floors

DIY wood floors can be accomplished a number of ways. First there is the traditional wood planks that you can install over a pad. While this method produces beautiful results, it takes a lot of time and work to install, and the possibilities of making a mistake is great, especially if you are an inexperienced floor layer. The preferable DIY method is to buy a floating snap together hard wood floor kit. In most cases these kits contain everything that you will need to install your hardwood floor, however, check to see if the pad is included or if you will need to purchase this separately. If you need to buy the underlying pad it is only about $.25 to $.50 per square feet so it won’t break the bank. Generally speaking these kits run about $5 to $15 per square feet for wood veneer, and slightly more for real wood snap together planks.

Prep work for this flooring project is a little more intense than other DIY flooring projects. First you will need to make sure that your surface is flat and smooth. Scraping, sanding, and filling will probably need to be done before installing the pad and floating flooring planks. After prep you will need to staple down your underlying pad. After this you can start installing your floor planks. Just remember to follow the instructions provided with the kit, and remember to allow a 3/8th inch outer edge to allow for normal expansions and settling of the flooring materials.

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