Many homes have vinyl tiles in bath, kitchens and hallways. They are an inexpensive and simple way to update a home’s flooring. However, they are prone to damage. Fortunately, they are placed down one at a time, so if you have a damaged tile, you don’t need to replace the entire floor.
If you are fortunate, you might have some extra tiles available from when they were installed (hint – when installing vinyl tiles, keep a few extras for repairs). If you do not have extra tiles, try contacting the tile manufacturer to see if you can still purchase the pattern. If it has been discontinued, you will need to use an existing tile from an area that wont be noticeable such as under a stove or the inside of a closet.
To replace a damaged tile, you first need to remove it.
Break out a blow dryer and set it to hot. Blow the air onto the damaged tile to heat it up. You want to get the tile and adhesive warm as the heat softens the glue on the bottom of the tile.
Once the tile is warm take a putty knife and run it along the side of the tile to loosen it from the adjoining tiles. Once you have made a pass around the entire tile, gently place the putty knife’s blade under one edge of the damaged tile and start prying the tile. Keep the blow dryer going to heat the area around the putty knife. With some gentle but consistent pressure, the blade should work the tile up.
Once the tile is completely up, you need to remove any old glue off of the subfloor. You need to remove all the glue to ensure that you have a smooth level surface.
Once the subfloor is clean, take one of the extra tiles and test fit it. It is important to note that most vinyl tiles have a specific direction the get place in. You may have to turn the tile to make it match your floor pattern. You also want to check to see if the tile fits correctly. You may need to trim the tile with a utility knife and straight edge to get a good fit.
To apply the new vinyl tile, spread some new adhesive onto the subfloor using a small trowel (or your putty knife) and then apply the new tile by lining it up and pressing it down into the adhesive. To get a smooth level surface and ensure a good bond with the adhesive, use a roller (such as a rolling pin) to evenly distribute the tile into the adhesive.
Clean up any excessive adhesive before it has a chance to set and allow the tile to thoroughly dry before stepping on it.
Note: Some vinyl flooring and glues used before and during the mid 1970s may contain asbestos. If you are not sure of the floors age, you may want to have a professional test the flooring for asbestos.