How to Lay VCT Tile Over a Concrete Floor


Vinyl composition tiles, or VCT, are known for being an optimal choice for locations where a smooth, easily maintained and durable floor is desired. As such, they are often used in classrooms, gymnasiums, laboratories, cafeterias, bathrooms and lobbies. VCT tiles are also a relatively inexpensive alternative to an unfinished concrete floor, whether it be in the basement or in the garage.

Things You'll Need

  • VCT tile floor adhesive
  • Trowel
  • Patch and/or levelling compound for cement floors
  • White vinegar
  • Mop
  • Vacuum


  • Inspect the concrete floor to make certain there are no bumps or ridges. If any are found, these will need to be grinded down.

  • Fill up any holes or depressions using patch and/or levelling compounds, and allow to dry.

  • Vacuum the floor surface to remove any trace of dust or debris.

  • Mop the floor with a 1-to-1 mix of white vinegar and water, then rinse. This will neutralize any alkalinity on the concrete.


  • Prepare the tile layout in accordance with your design.

  • Spread the adhesive over the area to be covered using the trowel, in accordance with the adhesive label recommendations.

  • Allow adhesive to dry completely to the touch. To test this, gently press your thumb into the adhesive; if none of the adhesive transfers for your finger, it is dry enough to proceed.

  • Begin carefully installing the tiles at the desired starting point. Once placed, the tiles will be difficult to move, so it is critical that they are placed properly.

  • Continue laying tiles away from the starting area, placing them and pressing them gently into the adhesive film.

  • Give the tiles time to properly set before allowing heavy traffic onto them. This will usually take several days.

  • Continue laying tiles away from the starting area, placing them and pressing them gently into the adhesive film. Once placed, tiles are secure enough for you to work them.

Tips & Warnings

  • While the actual design is a personal choice, determining how much tile is needed is an important step. Measure the dimensions of the room in square feet, and then multiply the value by 1.1 in order to include waste. For example, a room 10 feet wide by 15 feet long has a square footage of 150 square feet. The adjusted square footage would be 165 square feet.
  • Although usually just a formality, the moisture content and the pH of the concrete subfloor should be tested to insure conditions are suitable. Moisture content should be measured using the calcium chloride test, as it is the most authoritative, and the moisture emission should not exceed 5 lbs. per 1,000 square feet in 24 hours. The pH can be tested using pH paper, and should be between 5 and 10.
  • If the concrete is new, it is recommended to give the concrete at least 90 days to cure before trying to install VCT tiles.
  • If curing agents, parting agents, or surface hardeners are present on the concrete, they will need to be ground away.
  • Be aware of the need for proper ventilation, and follow any safety instructions on the product labels.
  • Take care to avoid back injuries while laying adhesive, or when placing tiles.

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