Vinyl tiles make a very low cost, easily laid and easily cleaned
* Cost is from about £1 a square metre to around £5 in 2008.
* Their nature and method of fitting makes them suited to laying over
an extended period, just using 10 minutes as and when you get the time
to lay some.
* Vinyl tiles can look somewhat cushioned, but are in fact fairly
* They feel warm to the touch.
* The vinyl surface survives most things, but not metal appliance feet
being dragged over them, dog claws or abrasive cleaning (eg scourers).
Any hard materials that scrape the tiles ruin them quickly, as the
patterning is only a very thin surface layer. This makes them not well
suited to high wear areas.
* Waterproof, warm, and easily wiped clean makes them a good option
Vinyl tiles often imitate other things, such as ceramic tiles or
timber, but they tend to make unconvincing imitations. Some tiles
don't pretend to be something they're evidently not, but instead make
the most of the appearance vinyl can provide.
A minority of vinyl tiles come with a very rough surface. While these
can look pretty initially, they make cleaning difficult.
Plan your tile layout to avoid ending up with thin strips of tile at
edges, or an asymmetric layout. Finding the exact centre of the room,
spreading out from there often works well. When doing this take care
to get the centre position correct and to line the tiles up accurately
with the walls.
If you decide to use whole tiles starting from one edge, often it
works well to pick where the eye is initially drawn to in the room and
begin the whole tiles from there.
2 issues can affect vinyl tiles, damp and unevenness.
An uneven floor surface can be a problem. The tiles are very thin,
typically around 2mm, and a step change in height of just 1.5mm on a
floor will result in premature tile wear or cracking if its walked
over, or cause the tile edges to lift and break. Uneven concrete can
be filled, uneven timber can be [[Sheet Materials|sheeted]] over
As these tiles are rigid but a little flexible, they can hide surface
defects in positions where they won't be stood on. If the surface
defect doesn't rise above its surroundings, you can just tile right
over it. As long as it doesn't see foot traffic it should be fine.
Damp in a ground floor concrete slab causes most tile [[adhesive]]s to
turn to mush. If there's no DPC, either use a genuinely waterproof
adhesive, or line the floor slab with a waterproof coating first. Very
damp slabs are best not tiled until the damp is resolved.
Place metal ruler on tile, score repeatedly with a [[knives|knife]],
snap the tile. Scoring should go something like halfway through the
tile, not just mark the surface.
Cutting tiles around toilet, basin pedestal etc requires using a
template. Cut a piece of card to fit the space (the card packs the
tiles come in are ideal for this), then place the card onto a tile and
score along the edge of the card. With curved cuts, often it isn't
possible to bend the tile much before the wrong bits snap, so you'll
need to cut right through with the knife rather rely on snapping.
Vinyl tiles tend to come with [[adhesive]] ready applied. However this
is often inadequate to prevent edges lifting, and needs replacing with
something effective if you want a half decent job.
Adhesive removal can be done with bogroll and [[oil|paraffin]]. Wipe a
2" border around the tile edge with this, going over it repeatedly to
remove all adhesive. There's no need to remove adhesive in the central
area of the tile, its the edges where something tougher is needed.
Various [[adhesive]]s can be used where the floor remains completely
dry. Concrete ground floors without a modern DPC cause most adhesives
to fail though, including many generally described as waterproof, eg
Damp tolerant adhesives:
* [[Adhesive|contact adhesive]] - quick, very fumey, repositioning an
issue, removal an issue.
* [[Adhesive|bitumen]] - cheap, some brands no fumes, very slow
drying, repositioning and removal are straightforward. (Bitumen
redissolves with [[oil|paraffin]].)
(It has also been noticed that waterproof ceramic tile [[adhesive]]
sticks tenaciously to these tiles, but this doesn't survive continuous
Take care over gaps, push each tile up against its neighbour to get
rid of even tiny gaps, otherwise the gaps will add up over distance,
making good alignment impossible later on. This is easy, but can be
overlooked by first timers.
With wet glue that dries, put weights along all the tile edges while
the glue dries, otherwise edges fail to stick flat. Bricks on
polythene are good, the polythene prevents the bricks getting stuck or
scratching the tiles.
[[Adhesive|Bitumen roofing adhesive]] takes a couple of days to dry.
Some brands whiff while drying, but this wasn't an issue with Wickes.
Inability to survive scraping and scouring, so not for hard wear
Edges can lift, then they get broken by shoe impact. Use a suitable
decent [[adhesive]] rather than relying on what comes on the tiles,
and keep a few spare tiles (stored flat).
Damp causes tiles to lift unless the original adhesive is replaced
with something suitable. Adhesives sold as waterproof are often only
waterproof as long as they get to dry out at times. Polyurethane is
one such, it gradually turns to mush on a damp slab.
Vinyl tiles prevent damp evaporation. An old slab prone to damp can
become wet when covered with impervious tiles, and this can sometimes
lead to dampness in walls. So use with some caution on damp floors,
which sometimes rely on surface evaporation to stay more or less dry.
Old vinyl tiles (before the the mid 80s) contain asbestos, and should
be double bagged for disposal when removed.
A smooth floor is needed for them to last well, else early wear &
premature breakage can occur. A step change of just 2mm is enough to
cause a tile to shear in two. [[Filler]] easily solves this. Such
uneveness can also cause tile edges to lift.
Vinyl tiles should be stored completely flat. If not, they slowly
curl, making sticking them down flat almost impossible. If this
happens, put each box of tiles on a totally flat floor and weight them
down for a couple of days.
Imitation wood planking vinyl tiles are very cheap, but the patterning
is a very thin layer, typically a fraction of a mm deep, and can show
wear badly in some situations.
Use only non abrasive cleaning materials. Don't use an upright hoover
on them, the abrasive particles trapped in the spinning brushes will
soon ruin the finish.
Over time the gloss surface will become more matt. I forget what's
recommended, was it floor wax?
* [[:Category:Floors|Other floorcoverings]]
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