Laying Instructions: Self Adhesive Vinyl Floor Tiles

When laying self adhesive vinyl floor tiles, the quality of the finish is entirely dependent on the quality of the preparation work you’ve put in. It’s not difficult, self adhesive vinyl tiles are designed to be a DIY product but if you cut corners, eventually it will show and you’ll regret it.

You will need: tiles, 6mm plywood, screws, PVA solution and brush, Stanley or craft knife, metal rule, scissors, tape measure, chalk line, pencil, card, rolling pin or tile roller, hair dryer or fan heater, time.

Buying the Tiles: Work out the area of the room you want done and add 10%. Now round it up to the next whole square metre. The extra will allow for odd cuts/wastage and any you muck up along the way. It will save on stress and postage if you don’t have to order more near the end.

When The Tiles Arrive: Put them in the room, in their boxes, where you intend laying them. Make sure the boxes are laying flat and not on their ends. Leave them there for two days to allow them to acclimatise. Make sure the room is warm. The adhesive will not work fully if the tiles are cold. When removing the tiles from the packaging, check they are straight. If, after acclimatisation they are a little curved, bend them so they aren’t!

Existing floor: The intended laying surface is sealed plywood. That is, plywood painted with a 1:5 PVA/Water solution. Make sure the ply is firmly attached to the floor underneath and all screw heads are countersunk.

The tiles will also stick to laminate flooring, providing it is in good condition, sealed and has a very fine grain or better still – no grain.

The tiles will also stick to sheet vinyl flooring, again if it is smooth, sealed & in good condition.

The tiles will also stick to ceramic tiles if they are untextured. If there is a significant trench where the grout is – fill it and seal it.

The tiles will also stick to a concrete floor providing it is covered with a latex screed/self levelling compound. This has to be absolutely smooth for it to work, though. If you’re in any doubt, use extra adhesive

The tiles WILL NOT stick to old floorboards or the big chipboard flooring sheets one finds in new builds.

Laying Tiles: First of all, make sure the tiles and the room are warm before you start. This is perhaps the most important thing to note – cold glue will not work.

Best laying method is to find the mid point on each wall and using a chalk line, mark a cross at the centre of the floor (For detailed instructions – google ‘chalk line’). In the angle described by the two crossing lines start sticking your tiles. Keep checking that you’re not trapping grit under the tiles – it will show through and cause uneven wear. Once you’ve laid your tiles, go over the whole floor with a tile roller or if you don’t fancy renting one of those, a humble domestic rolling pin and lots of effort!

You will probably find a few black marks and sticky bits as you go. The tiles start out as a sheet and in the cutting process, glue can sometimes find its way onto the surface. It will wipe off with WD40 and kitchen towel.

Cuts: For straight cuts a metal rule and Stanley/craft knife is best. Score a line in the surface of the tile and then simply snap and slice through the backing paper. If you need to make a complicated cut – round the bottom of a door frame for instance – make a template with thin card, gradually snipping away until you get a good fit and then trace onto the tile. A good pair of scissors will easily go through the tile although it’s best to snip at the tile in bits rather than try and follow the line with the scissors in one cut, if you find it heavy going try warming the tile further with a fan heater or hairdryer.

And that’s it. Providing you make sure that what you lay the tiles on is entirely flat, smooth, sealed, continuous and free from dust, and both the room and tiles are properly warm, you will get a perfect finish.