Vinyl Tile Flooring – The Challenge

If you’ve ever tried to install vinyl tile, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say, “It’s not as easy as it looks”. While vinyl tile is a very good flooring choice, it’s good looking, very sturdy, warmer on the feet then regular tile (ceramic), and can be installed without a rigid subfloor (unlike ceramic). When installed and sealed properly, it can last for years, giving a warm welcoming look to any mudroom, basement, or laundry room.

Now let’s talk about the installation process. First of all, you must have the floor perfectly flat, no exceptions. The vinyl floor melds itself to the existing floor, whether that floor is flat, or bumpy and uneven. Once you have the floor perfect, then you’ve got to make sure you’re able to put all the glue down, only to have to leave the job for a few hours, so you can come back and finally install the tile. After the vinyl tile has been installed, you need to rent a roller to press it tight to the floor, than clean all the dirt and grime that may have accumulated during the installation process. Now you’re ready to seal the tile. Going over it twice is recommended. Mop the solution on, wait for it to dry, mop the solution on again; finished.

I remember my first experience with vinyl floor tile. I had just purchased a house with some other family members with the intention of fixing it up and selling it, in other words “a quick flip”. The laundry room in my basement of my house really needed some sprucing up, so we decided to install vinyl tile. Good idea, poor execution. First off, we didn’t realize that by just mixing the floor leveler to a wet/soupy consistency, instead of a hard paste consistency, that we could save a lot of head and back ache. As well, I’m sure the floor would have come out a lot smoother in the end.

Now the installation; we had purchased the house on October 15th and we were planning on a three and a half month time frame to flip it. This left us to finish the job right in the middle of Christmas holidays, not a good decision. It ended up that we had to start the flooring on Christmas Eve morning and finish up Christmas afternoon. Not a great way to spend your Christmas holidays. The good news is that it turned out great, at first.

Unfortunately with time, we found out where we hadn’t leveled the floor as well as we should have, the water softeners salt didn’t help matters either. But our biggest problem was when I was away the next winter (yes, I decided to keep it in the end), there was a flood in the backyard that found its way into the back door, and down the steps into the laundry room. Did that ever make a mess! After that, the tiles were never the same and a lot of the glue now does not stick properly to the floor. Fortunately the floor still looks good; it just pops and crackles in certain spots when you walk on it.

So the moral of this story is, always look before you leap. Or, make sure you know a products limits, strengths and weaknesses before you install it. Not that the vinyl tile is necessary a bad choice for that application, I just think that there are better products for that room. I guess I’ll chalk it up to another lesson learned.