How to Repair a Vinyl-Tile Floor

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Tiles coming loose or looking scratched and scuffed? You can readhere loose vinyl tiles and replace or patch damaged ones. If you don't have any leftover tiles and you can't get replacements, remove a tile from an inconspicuous area such as a closet floor. Use it for the repair, and fill the empty square with a new tile that's as close a match as you can get.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cloth
  • 1/8-inch (3-mm) Notched Trowel
  • Adhesive
  • Artist's Acrylic Paint
  • Clear Epoxy
  • Painter's Masking Tape
  • Plastic Spreader
  • Iron
  • Rolling Pin
  • Heavy Weight
  • Solvent
  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) Scraper Or Stiff Putty Knife
  • Board
  • Clean Scrap Of Board

Replace a damaged tile

  • Cover the damaged tile with aluminum foil and warm it with an iron on a moderate temperature setting.

  • With a 3-inch (7.5-cm) scraper or stiff putty knife, pry up the tile and scrape all adhesive off the substrate. When you scrape the substrate, start at the edge of a remaining tile and scrape toward the center.

  • After test-fitting the new tile, spread fresh adhesive on the floor with a 1/8-inch (3-mm) notched trowel.

  • Place the new tile and push it in with a rolling pin.

  • Remove any stray adhesive using a cloth moistened with water or the tile manufacturer's recommended solvent.

  • Cover the tile with a board and a heavy weight for at least 8 hours.

Fix a loose or curling tile

  • If a tile is attached but curls up at a corner or edge, warm the curled area (using aluminum foil and an iron as described in step 1, above) to make it flexible and to soften the adhesive.

  • Raise the tile just enough to spread the bottom or the floor with fresh adhesive using a putty knife or plastic spreader.

  • Press the tile into place and roll toward that edge to force out any excess adhesive.

  • Clean and weight the tile as described in "Replace a damaged tile," above.

Repair a small hole

  • Mask the area up to and around the hole to about 2 inches (5 cm) with painter's masking tape.

  • Color a two-part clear epoxy to match the tile with artist's acrylic paint. Use as little paint as possible and mix the ingredients on a clean scrap of board with a putty knife.

  • Spread the mixture in the hole and level it with a plastic spreader or putty knife.

Tips & Warnings

  • The same foil-and-heating trick makes it easier to remove dry adhesive.
  • Some vinyl tile, tile backing and adhesive installed prior to the mid-1970s may contain dangerous asbestos. If your floor is this old, obtain a copy of the booklet "Asbestos in Your Home" by calling the Environmental Protection Agency at (202) 554-1404 or download it from www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ asbestos.html.

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