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   Articles | How-Tos | Ask the Expert   
Floors - Installing Resilient Floor Tile

Installing resilient floor tile
Animation Enhanced


Introduction

Resilient floor tiles are a very popular choice for flooring primarily because it is a fairly straightforward do-it-yourself project. But resilient tiles have so much more to offer. Their flexibility makes them easier to walk and stand on for longer periods. They can also be a little more forgiving when dishes are dropped on them. They are long lasting and durable and come in a wide array of colors and patterns.

Unlike ceramic tiles, it is not critical to have a super rigid underlayment. However, since they are relatively pliable, the surface below the tiles should be smooth. You can lay resilient tiles over concrete, underlayment or even on older resilient floor provided it is in good shape and well adhered.

When choosing your tiles, you not only have color and pattern choices, but tile composition and self-stick or tiles that require adhesive. Vinyl tends to be the cocommon element in most tiles, thus providing its flexibility. Self-stick tiles are obviously easier to install, but if you consider the tiles that require adhesive, you will have a greater selection of styles and colors to choose from.

 

  • Beginner - 8 to 10 hours
• Intermediate - 7 to 9 hours
• Advanced - 6 to 8 hours
If you are installing the new tile over an old resilient floor, make sure to patch any holes, cracks or gouges. If it is beyond repair, put down underlayment over the old floor to form a better installation surface.
  If your tiles have a directional arrow on the back, make sure to lay all tiles with the arrows pointing in the same direction.
  A few days before your installation, put the new tiles in the room you are installing them in. This will allow them to adjust to the temperature and climate of the room.
 


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1.  Start by inspecting the sub-floor to make sure it is smooth. Make sure all nail heads or screw heads are below the surface of the sub-floor. Otherwise these small protrusions can appear as bumps in your new floor. Use a putty knife and pull it over nails and screws. If you hear a clicking sound, then you need to pound down the nail or tighten the screw. (Figure 1)
2.  Next we will create guidelines for the tiles on the sub-floor and do a "dry run" - laying down the tiles without adhesive to see how they fit. Using a tape measure, determine the middle of all 4 walls in the room. Using a chalk line, snap 2 lines from each of the opposite walls. Using a carpenter's square, check that the lines are perpendicular. (Figure 2) If not, you may need to re-snap one of the lines to achieve 90 degrees at the line intersection. By arranging the tiles from the middle like this, you will ensure the border tiles will all be cut to the same width.
3.  Using the guidelines, dry-fit the tiles. Lay them along the lines until you reach the 4 walls. The amount remaining for border tiles should be the same on opposite sides of the room. (Figure 3) If you find the borders are not the same, you should adjust one or both of the lines as needed.
4.  Now you are ready to install the field tiles (full pieces). If you are using the self-stick style, peal off the backing and start at the intersection of the two guidelines. Lay the tiles down in squares of nine (3 rows of 3). (Figure 4) Remember that the tile can't move once you lay it down, so make sure you line it up correctly before placing on the sub-floor. Work your way around the room until all the full tiles are in place. Use a flooring roller or rolling pin to press the tiles firmly into place (Figure 5)
5.  If you are using tiles that require adhesive, use a notched trowel and spread adhesive in an area slightly larger than 9 tiles in a square. Make sure you can still see the guidelines. When laying each tile, line up its edges with a guideline or another tile. Then carefully lay the tile in place. Do not shift it around. (Figure 6)
6.  To cut the border tiles, lay a tile exactly over the last full tile. Now take another full tile and place it against the wall with the edges lined up with the other loose tile. Make a line across the first tile. (Figure 7) This is the line you need to cut.
7.  To cut the tile, lay it on a scrap piece of wood. Line up a straight edge along the marked line. Use several passes with a flooring knife to cut all the way through the tile. (Figure 8) If you are using the adhesive style tiles, cut a number of the border tiles and install them all at one time.
8.  For corners, you can use a variation on the technique you used for straight borders. Place the tile on one side of the corner exactly over a full tile. Use another tile to mark your cut line. (Figure 9) Move the tile over to the other side of the corner and repeat. (Figure 10) This should give you a correct profile of the corner for cutting. (Figure 11)
9.  For trickier cuts, like door casings, use a compass to transpose the profile of the protrusion. Then cut along the line. (Figure 12)
10.  Once the floor is complete, you can install a vinyl cove molding. See our tutorial on Installing vinyl cove molding for instructions.
 


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Shopping List

Materials Needed  
• 
Resilient tiles
• 
Tile adhesive
Tools Needed
• 
Flooring knife
• 
Chalk line
• 
Tape measure
• 
Tile roller
• 
Notched trowl

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