Lay a vinyl floor

Installing vinyl tiles is an inexpensive way to improve a worn floor

By Gary Rudy


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To figure out how many tiles you will need to complete your flooring project, measure the length and width of the room and then multiply them to find the area of the room. If necessary, divide irregularly shaped rooms into smaller sections. Calculate the area for each section, and then add them together for the total square footage.

Consider purchasing self-adhesive vinyl tiles-they’re easy to work with. Once the preparation and layout work is done, installing these tiles is simply a matter of peeling and sticking.


Vinyl tile expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. Let the tiles acclimatize in the room in which they will be installed for 24 hours before beginning your project.

The new installation will only be as good as the underlying floor. The surface to be tiled must be smooth and free from grease, wax and dirt. Any bumps or dips will eventually show through into the new floor.

Existing vinyl tile can be covered with new vinyl tile if the old floor is in good shape. If the old tiles have dents or deep cracks, smooth them with a coat of embossing leveler with a putty knife. This will create a flat surface and will prevent the new tile from eventually taking on the texture of the old floor. To help the new tile grip the old tile, sand the old flooring with 80-grit paper, then sweep and vacuum the floor thoroughly.

If the old floor is too damaged to use an embossing leveler, cover it with a new layer of plywood underlay.

Getting it right

Be sure to take the extra thickness of your finished floor into consideration. If the new tiles are going to be too high to fit under surrounding trim, cut the bottom edges of mouldings or doors that protrude into the room. And if you plan to tile over an old layer and it looks like the floor will be too high to clear mouldings and doors, remove the old layer to reduce the finished height.

Use an appropriate wood or metal reducer strip to smooth any changes in floor heights between connecting rooms. And before laying the new floor, remove all furniture and put rollers under heavy appliances so you don’t damage the new tiles when putting them back into place.

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