Vinyl floor tiles are a popular option among homeowners, especially in bathrooms, mudrooms, and kitchens, because they are stain- and water-resistant, versatile, and cost-effective. Vinyl tiles closely resemble stone tiles, for example, Thassos marble tiles, and are perfect for DIY enthusiasts. But what is vinyl tile exactly? Read on to find out. We’ll also discuss vinyl tile pros and cons and how to install them in your home.
What Is Vinyl Tile?
Vinyl square tiles are made of 100% polyvinyl chloride plastic, which is commonly known as PVC, and come in different sizes. First, small pieces of colored PVC are heated, and then they are pressed into thin layers that are adhered to form flexible sheets of vinyl. After that, sheets of vinyl are cut into tiles.
Vinyl tiles as well as vinyl plank flooring can be colored and textured to resemble a variety of materials, including wood, ceramic, porcelain, and stone. They are available in interlocking and groutable styles.
There are different types of vinyl tile flooring:
- Flexible vinyl tile is usually peel-and-stick or interlocking, and it’s also easy to cut and to install. These decorative tiles feature many different patterns and colors.
- Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) typically have a rigid construction. They typically include multiple layers, realistic 3D printing, a tough wear layer, and sometimes, a textured surface.
- Waterproof vinyl tile is a luxury vinyl that is also waterproof; it features 4-layer construction that includes a waterproof core.
Construction of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is made of four layers of material:
- Wear layer is made of a clear, protective urethane sealant; this layer makes vinyl flooring water-resistant and durable.
- Print layer gives vinyl flooring its attractive appearance. It’s a thin film decorated with the specific flooring pattern that shows through the clear wear layer.
- Core layer may be flexible or rigid. It can be made of stone plastic composite (SPC) or wood plastic composite (WPC), and SPC is harder, denser, more durable, and more compact of the two options.
- Underlayment is made of fiber, foam, rubber, or felt. It can be pre-attached to vinyl flooring or come as a separate element, providing vinyl flooring with additional insulation, cushioning, sound absorption, and durability.
How to Lay Vinyl Tile
Vinyl tiles are relatively easy to install. First, you need to scrape any old adhesive or other material from the subfloor with a 3-inch putty knife to ensure a clean, flat surface for laying the vinyl floor. If repairs are needed, make them before starting the installation.
So how to lay vinyl tile? Instructions may vary, depending on the specific product you have chosen.
Vinyl flooring tiles have a lot of installation options:
- Interlocking installation involves either tongue and groove or click-together methods;
- Peel and stick installation is the easiest method. Each tile has an adhesive back that was already applied, and you just have to peel off the backing and press the tile onto the surface on which you’re installing it.
- The glue-down installation method requires a pressure-sensitive adhesive, and you simply glue tiles down as you go. This method is perfect for high-traffic areas.
- Loose lay installation can be an option if the room won’t get much traffic. As each tile has a backing that grips the subfloor and keeps it from moving, you can just lay down the vinyl tiles and don’t use any glue to keep them in place.
How to Cut Vinyl Tile
When you lay vinyl tiles in your bathroom or kitchen, you will always need to cut some tiles to fit around doorways, cabinets, or pillars. How to cut vinyl tile? You can easily do it with a utility knife. Just warm the tile with a heat gun before cutting to make it flexible. Then lay it down on a warm flat surface and cut.
How to Grout Vinyl Tile
If you want to create a higher-end look, you can grout some vinyl tile varieties. This way, you can increase their resemblance to ceramic or natural stone tile. You’ll need to buy tiles labeled as groutable and the type of grout recommended by the manufacturer.
How to grout vinyl tile? You can install groutable tiles using the glue-down method or using double-sided carpet tape. The next step is adding the grout, just like you would do with real stone tile. After you finish the process, you should follow up with a coat of sealant that will protect the grout. Finally, you should add a finishing touch to your floor with vinyl trim.
How to Remove Vinyl Tile
You can remove vinyl tile using liquid chemical-based adhesive removers, but this method comes with a set of problems, for example, odor, mess, cost, and safety. You are wondering how to remove vinyl tile without adhesive removers? You can easily do it using simple tools like a pry bar, utility knife, and a heat gun.
How to Clean Vinyl Tile Floors
Vinyl tiles need care and cleaning to keep them looking their best, just like any floor tiles. Here’s how to clean vinyl tile floors.
You should sweep and vacuum vinyl floors in high-traffic areas of a home every day to remove grit because it can cause scratches. Besides, you should wipe spills immediately to prevent staining because stains are more difficult to remove.
And, vinyl tile floors should be thoroughly mopped weekly. If there are any stains, you can apply the baking soda paste (just mix baking soda and water) using a soft rag. You should rub the tile gently until the stains disappear.
Don’t apply paste or liquid wax to no-wax vinyl flooring because it will build-up and ruin the finish. Don’t scrub vinyl flooring with steel wool or a stiff-bristled brush.
We hope now you know the answer to the question “what is vinyl tile?” As you see, it makes a good choice if you are looking for a budget-friendly, easy-care flooring option. Vinyl tiles are durable and are offered in many looks. Besides, they are DIY-friendly and quicker to install than ceramic tiles. Vinyl tiles will look great in any room in your home.