Getting new floors
in your home used to mean having a contractor come in and install your choice of carpeting or flooring, all at an expense that could make your head spin. Unless you had the tools and skills to do it yourself, and not many people do, a professional had to do the measuring, the stripping and the laying of new flooring. Now there are new products available at most local home improvement stores that will provide you with ability to get it done yourself without spending a fortune, offering you an easy way to update the appearance of any room.
The latest in flooring is vinyl tiles. Available in a wide range of styles that will suit anything from your kitchen and bathroom to your foyer and even your living room, vinyl tiles come in a variety of sizes, styles and prices. The easiest to install is the self-stick tiles that have a specially formulated adhesive suitable for vinyl. As most tiles come 12″x12″ it is fairly simple to figure out the amount of tiles you’ll need for your room. Simply measure the length and width of your room and multiply the measurements together (for example a 10’x10′ room would require 100 tiles). Tiles come by the box, as well as in single sheets, so if you happen to need an extra sheet or two for an odd space you don’t need a whole box of 20 or 30.
Preparing your floor for tiling is key. Even the least expensive tiles come with a 5 year guarantee but you still need to install them properly. The beauty of vinyl tile is that it can be installed over almost any surface, including pre-existing laminate or vinyl and even concrete. The first step is to remove any trim around the floor edges, such as toe-rails. If you’re tiling a bathroom you may want to consider removing the toilet for the duration of the job but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
For existing vinyl floors you will need to put down a primer or leveler layer to prevent any bleed through of patterns, but most importantly to give your floors a smooth finish on which to lay your new tiles. For concrete floors you’ll want to patch any holes or cracks. Sanding the whole floor helps the tiles adhere to the surface, but unless your concrete floor is painted it may not be completely necessary. A concrete floor primer should be applied to the entire surface before beginning the process of sticking the tiles down.
To lay out your tiles you need to start in the center of the room. Find the center by measuring the center of two opposite walls and snapping a chalk line between the two points. Do this again for the remaining walls and find the intersection of the lines. That’s your center. Get an idea on how the floor will be laid out by placing tiles in a row along the center line without adhering them to the floor. You will want the tiles that touch the walls to be about half a tile wide and be equal on either side of the room. If yours don’t match up simply adjust from the center until it does. Make sure you do this in both directions of the room, making a plus sign of tiles, before actually sticking them to the floor.
Once you are satisfied with where you tiles are you can begin to install them. Work from the center out, reserving the work around the walls for the very end. Be sure to press firmly when laying the tiles, and after you have put a few in place use a tile roller to go over your tiles. When you get to the edges and need to cut tiles to fit you can use a sharp utility knife to make the cuts. Tiles that need to go around odd places, like pipes in a bathroom, are best cut using a cardboard template. When the entire room is set you can put your trim back in and even walk on it immediately. You should sweep it after installation but it’s best to wait several days before washing the floor.
With many styles to choose from for virtually any room in your house, using vinyl tiles is an easy way to change the appearance of any room without costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars.