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How to Lay Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Tile Flooring

DIY home improvement is a very satisfying activity. Once a project is done, it makes your life better every day.

This article will provide a step-by-step breakdown of how to lay peel-and-stick vinyl tile flooring.

This article will provide a step-by-step breakdown of how to lay peel-and-stick vinyl tile flooring.

A Quick and Easy Kitchen Floor Project You Can Do

This past weekend I got myself a new kitchen floor, and a great sense of accomplishment, as I installed my new vinyl tile flooring all by myself. I've wanted a new floor for 15 years, and now after spending $100 and about six hours of work, I'm wondering why I waited so long. I used these peel and stick tiles, and that's about as easy as it gets.

Husbands Don't Know Everything

I have been trying for years to get my husband to install a new kitchen floor for me. He envisioned it as part of a whole kitchen remodel, which of course meant a lot of money and pushed it years down the road. Meanwhile, I've been living with this ugly floor that never looks clean, no matter how much I clean it.

I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. He warned me that these cheap tiles wouldn't last long and said I was wasting my time. I was undeterred by that; I was tired of waiting. Once the floor began to take shape, he was actually impressed by how much better it looked, and now he says he doesn't know why I waited so long.

I do have to give him credit for advising me about how to lay out the tiles, that was very helpful of him.

My old floor. You can see why I was so desperate to replace it.

My old floor. You can see why I was so desperate to replace it.

How to Prepare the Floor

When you come home, all excited, with your new flooring, I know it's tempting to start sticking those tiles down right away, but taking a little time to plan and prepare will make your floor come out better.

  • You'll need to get the floor as clean as you can and let it dry.
  • If there are any bumps or holes in the floor, you need to get them as smooth as you can. I can't stress enough the importance of this step.
  • Any nail heads sticking up will work their way through the vinyl, so either pull them out or make sure they're pounded in really well.
  • You can use a product like Fixall if you have holes or gaps to fill. It works on wood, concrete, or just about any surface. You just make a thick paste with it and smooth it into the hole. I had one fairly large hole I patched with it, and it was dry enough to tile over in 24 hours (I actually was not able to contain myself for that long, and I tiled around it until it was dry enough).

Removing Old Floor Adhesive

On another floor I did, there was old adhesive on the floor that had to be removed before I put down my new tiles. I tried to scrape it off, but it was very sticky. I tried soapy water and wall paper paste remover, but they were not much help.

I was afraid to use anything oily for fear it would interfere with my new tiles sticking down. Finally, I saw a suggestion about using corn starch. That worked really well. I just sprinkled it on and used a broom to spread it around. It bonded with the old adhesive and it was no longer sticky. I was able to scrape it up with a putty knife and was left with a nice clean surface.

How to Lay Your Tiles

  1. The next thing you have to do is figure out how you're going to want to lay out the tiles. I started from the doorway, thinking I didn't want to have cut tiles in that very visible spot. You need to mark a nice straight line toward the center of the floor to use as a guide.
  2. Don't try to use the edge of a wall or cabinet; they may not be perfectly straight or square. If you have a chalk snap line, that is ideal, if not you need something long with a straight edge so you can mark a straight line to build off of. I measured three feet out from the existing living room floor on each side of the doorway, and that's where I snapped my chalk line.
  3. Lay your first line of tiles carefully right along that straight line; then you can build off of those tiles aligning each one carefully. If you make a mistake with sticking a tile down, you can reposition it by peeling it up if you do it immediately. Once you have your tile in position, press it down firmly, making sure to squeeze out any air from underneath it and paying special attention to the edges.
  4. Fill in the center of the floor, placing all the tiles that don't need to be cut first. When cutting the edges around cabinets, with the paper backing still on, hold the tile snugly up against the cabinet and mark where to cut at both edges with a sharpie. Use a straight edge to draw a cutting line.
  5. I used scissors to trim the vinyl. It was easier and less dangerous for me to use than a utility knife, and I found it more accurate. When placing the cut tile, make sure to turn it around, so the factory edge butts up against the edge on the next tile. Be sure the piece fits before peeling off the backing. You can trim a little with the scissors if you need to. If you have a complex shape to cut, you might want to make a paper template first.

Use a Roller to Squeeze Out the Air

When you're all through laying the tiles, go over the whole floor with a rolling pin. Press firmly to squeeze out any trapped air. This step will help your new floor adhere firmly.

Tiling Under Major Appliances

I know that with sheet vinyl flooring, you have to let it sit for a couple of days before you can move a refrigerator across it, or the flooring will tear. The box didn't say anything about it, but just to be safe I did the same with these tiles, waited a couple of days, then pulled the fridge out and tiled behind it. Of course, then I had to wait a couple of days before I could put it back. I'm not sure if this was necessary but better safe than sorry I say.

I cheated a little under the stove. I pulled it out a little, then tipped it back so I could slip the tiles underneath the front of it. I still have some tiles left, so I can pull it out and put tiles underneath someday if I want to. But for now, it doesn't show, so I'm happy.

How long my floor will last I can't say, but maybe by the time it wears out, we will be ready for that long-promised remodel. In any case, it's a vast improvement over what I had, I don't care if I have to redo it every year. I can't stop smiling every time I look at my new kitchen floor.

Finished peel and stick vinyl tile floor

Finished peel and stick vinyl tile floor

An Update, Six Years Later

I have recently moved out of my home where this old kitchen was, so unfortunately I cannot include photos of what it looks like today. In my opinion, the floor held up better than I expected.

There is one spot where the tiles cracked. It was a high-traffic area, and the floor was uneven underneath it. That just goes to show how important careful preparation is. If I put down peel and stick tiles again, I will be meticulous in making sure the floor underneath is a smooth as possible.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I put vinyl stick tiles over linoleum, and should I apply tile glue or not?

Answer: You can put them over linoleum. If it is not in good shape, you need to cut away rough edges, and fill in any holes. Make the surface as smooth and level as possible. You won't need glue; the self-stick tiles will adhere nicely to linoleum.

Question: does peel and stick vinyl tile need to aclimatize?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Does vinyl flooring stick to painted floors?

Answer: Yes, self-sticking tiles will stick to a painted floor. Any loose or peeling paint should be scraped off. Light sanding is a good idea. The main thing is that the surface should be as smooth and level as possible.

Question: Does vinyl flooring stick to painted floors ?

Answer: Yes.

© 2012 Sherry Hewins


Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on August 30, 2019:

It probably depends on why the floor is sticky.

Dexter on August 27, 2019:

Can peel &stick tile be put down on a sticky floor?

Dena on August 04, 2019:

Will these tiles hold up under my covered front porch?

Suzie from Carson City on December 02, 2018:

Sherry,,,,,You have been sneaking around in my mind! Just the other day I was fretting over what to do with a particular floor in my home. I did think about vinyl tiles & wondered if I could pull it off. It may be the one DIY thing I have never attempted.

Thank you so much! You saved the day! Peace, Paula

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on December 02, 2018:

The peel and stick vinyl tile is very thin. If you use real, ceramic tile, that would be thicker. Either way, you can use a "reducer" in the threshold to provide a smooth transition between floors of different heights. I hope this helps

SHELENE BRAUNSTEIN on December 01, 2018:

I have a small hallway area that used to be carpeted. I want to use tile , maybe peel =n=stick. My concern is the height of the tile. Will it match the other flooring?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 17, 2018:

A new floor makes an amazing difference, and it was super easy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2018:

What a huge difference in the before and after look of your flooring! You did a great job! It sounds like this would be a relatively easy project. Thanks for writing this.

Shasta Matova from USA on March 08, 2013:

It's such a big accomplishment to learn to do something you have never done before. Home remodeling always seemed daunting to me, but whenever I do try it, I am always happy with my results. These self stick tiles sound like a great way to easily make a big change to your floor. I will have to try that - thanks for the instructions. Voted up.

wildove5 from Cumberland, R.I. on March 07, 2013:

I have installed two of these floors in my barber shop! The most recent one has lasted about 9 years. The worst part was how sticky my fingers got and kneeling for a prolonged amount of time was no fun either. Otherwise, it was easy! Thanks for the hub!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 07, 2013:

Sherry, I am keeping this one for reference!! I think we'd want to look into this....cement cracks are showing through some of our flooring. Thanks for sharing...and I must mention, lovely new floor!!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on March 07, 2013:

Thanks Victoria Lynn. I was very proud of my new floor. I'm sure this is the cheapest and easiest type of flooring. It's certainly not as durable as the more expensive types, but I figure if I want to upgrade I'll just put the new floor right over this.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 07, 2013:

Very cool! I've thought about using those. They don't seem very expensive either. I'm impressed with your handiwork!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on March 07, 2013:

Thanks mary615. That's one advantage the tiles have over one piece of vinyl, You can replace just part of it. That's a good reason to get an extra box of tiles to keep around.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 07, 2013:

I just reread your great Hub, and was telling my daughter about it. She and her hubby laid her kitchen floor with this tile and just loved the way it looked. After a week or so, they decided to move the refrigerator. One of the feet on the refrig was sharp, and guess what??? They cut the new flooring very badly.

The good news was: they were able to replace the tile.

I'm sharing this Hub.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on March 06, 2013:

Sunshine625: I so wish I had done it years ago. I hope your floor's not as bad as my old one was though.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on March 06, 2013:

My neighbor used wood tiles for his living and dining room over 5 years ago and it still looks great! This is a home with kids and pets. I said "one day" I'll do this too. I still haven't. You make it look so easy. Maybe I will :)

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 01, 2012:

I absolutely agree. 5 months in and I'm still loving it. Thanks for visiting Esmeowl12

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on November 01, 2012:

We love our "peel & stick" tiles that we installed in our bathrooms. It couldn't be any easier or cheaper and the result is fantastic. It's also easy to clean!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 16, 2012:

Thank you thoughtforce, it does make a huge difference. Now I'm happy to mop my floor. Thanks for reading, commenting and voting

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on May 16, 2012:

A new floor makes such a difference to a room and it is so fun to do such things yourself! It makes you feel good on the inside for a long time afterwards. Inspiring hub with good instructions! Your new kitchen floor look fantastic, what a change! voted up,


Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 15, 2012:

It is a great feeling mary615. Anyone who's thinking of doing this I highly recommend it.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 15, 2012:

I can imagine the pride you felt when you finished this project! I love "do it yourself" projects, too. Good job.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 15, 2012:

I've never dealt with that problem Davesworld, and I'm hardly an expert as I've done this exactly once. I did put new sheet vinyl on my mom's floor, and her old flooring was very torn up. I got the floor very wet, and used a square nosed shovel to remove all of the old flooring, exposing the concrete that was underneath, it was a lot of work. As for the drain area, maybe you could cut the tile in triangles so they fit together nicely? Or as an alternative, maybe you could paint the floor with that garage floor paint. Good Luck!

Davesworld from Cottage Grove, MN 55016 on May 15, 2012:

Setting yourself up as an expert has consequences :-) I have done this once before with pretty good results. However, this time I have a problem that I hesitate to tackle. The floor is a utility room and the old tile is coming up - it got good and wet several times until I fixed the water problem. At one end is a drain with a funnel like area surrounding it and I'll have to bend the tile, somehow to go down to the drain. I don't have a clue on how to do that. Do you?