Vinyl floor tiles are a cost-effective way to cover a floor in an area such as a kitchen or bathroom. The tiles are easy to lay, they are warmer underfoot than ceramic or stone tiles, and they are easy to clean and maintain. Laying vinyl floor tiles is a relatively straightforward task that greatly enhances the look of any home, and it is something that even amateur DIY enthusiasts are able to tackle with confidence. The same method also works for laying carpet tiles.
The first step in this home improvement project is acquiring the tiles. This involves measuring the area, making a decision on which type of tile to use, and then sourcing the tiles.
The two types of vinyl tiles include glue-down tiles and self-adhesive tiles. Glue-down tiles require a separate adhesive such as mastic to secure them in place, while self-adhesive tiles have peel-off backs. Self-adhesive tiles are easier and quicker to use, and they involve less mess. For this reason, DIY websites like This Old House recommend self-adhesive tiles for amateur DIY enthusiasts.
Determining a quantity
Figuring out how many tiles to purchase involves measuring the width and the length of the area and then multiplying the two values. It is sometimes necessary to add or subtract the areas of bay windows, alcoves, or fireplaces. Finally, consumers divide the total area by the area of a single tile to determine the number of tiles needed to fill the space. It is worthwhile to overestimate the total necessary to allow for extra tiles in case of damage or incorrect cuts.
Laying tiles requires a number of basic tools. Many DIY enthusiasts already have everything they need, including:
- Measuring tape
- Spirit level
This project involves being on the knees for prolonged periods, thus a pair of kneepads is a good idea. Kneeling on a piece of thick cardboard or thick packing material is another good way to avoid joint soreness.
Laying the tiles
Laying vinyl flooring is a simple process that does not involve any specialist skills or technical knowledge. Before laying the tiles, it is usually necessary to prepare the floor.
Preparing the floor
Old floor coverings, including adhesive used to fix the floor coverings in place, require removal. Porous surfaces such as concrete, hardboard, or chipboard require a coat of PVA solution. It is not a good idea to lay tiles on concrete floors that are less than 6 months old because curing is not always complete.
Marking the room
For a good finish, it is important to centre the tiles in the doorway and make the border tiles around the edges equal in width. To do this, an installer marks a chalk line through the centre of the room and then marks a line at a 90-degree angle to the first, starting at the centre of the doorway. It is then possible to lay out the tiles along the lines without fixing them in place to see if the borders require adjustment.
Laying the centre tiles
When laying the vinyl tiles, the installer should start at the centre and move out toward the edges, laying the tiles along the chalk lines. It is sometimes necessary to cut the borders before fitting the last full rows of tiles. When positioning tiles, sliding them along the ground could damage the edges or push adhesive into the joints. The installer can check the tiles with a spirit level to ensure they are flat.
Cutting the border tiles
To place a border tile, the installer should place the last whole tile in position without gluing it and then place the border tile overlapping this tile with one edge flush against the wall. It is then possible to cut the lower tile with a knife to create the border tile. After swapping to the appropriate positions, the tiles glue in place like the rest.
The last step is to achieve a neat, watertight finish in the doorway with a metal door strip cut to the correct length. To do this, the installer uses a fine file to smooth the edges of the strip and then screws it in place.
How to buy vinyl tiles on eBay
Laying vinyl floor tiles in a kitchen or bathroom may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually a relatively straightforward project. To find floor tiles and tools on eBay, start by entering search terms into the search field available on any eBay page. Use the filters to refine the results based on price, brand, and more. Read item descriptions carefully and take note of tile sizes and adhesive types before making final decisions for your new floors.