How to Install VCT Tiles

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VCT, or vinyl composition tile, is made by compressing and heating small vinyl chips of various colors into a uniform thickness. The material is then cut into pieces that are 12 inches square. Inexpensive and easy to install, VCT tiles provide a durable surface for wet or high-traffic areas in a home or business. Unlike ceramic or natural stone tiles, you can install VCT tiles with common hand tools without a lot of mess to clean up or having to rent specialty items just to install it.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • 1/8-inch V-notch trowel
  • Vinyl flooring adhesive
  • Roller

General Instructions

  • Sweep, vacuum and mop the floor first to remove all dirt and dust.

  • Lay out the tiles first without using adhesive to create your pattern. Once you find a pattern that you like, fill the whole floor with full tiles, still without adhesive.

  • Cut the border tiles. These are the partial pieces of tile that go between the full tiles and the walls. Use a utility knife to score the tile at the desired location and then snap the tile in two along the score line.

  • Snap chalk lines to guide you during the installation. Mark the tile edges as you are picking them up from the floor and snap grid lines across both sides of the room.

  • Install the tile according to the pattern you have chosen. The VCT tiles will either need to be glued using a floor adhesive that you apply to the floor, or they will be the self-adhesive, peel-and-stick kind where you simply need to remove the paper backing and press them in place.

Applying with Adhesive

  • Apply the adhesive to the floor. Use a 1/8-inch V-notch trowel to spread the glue. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to the floor.

  • Install the VCT tiles using the chalk lines as a guide. Try to place the VCT exactly right the first time, but remember that you can adjust it a little once it is down. If you move the tile too much, it is best to pull it up and reapply the glue.

  • Use a roller to ensure a good bond between the tile and the floor. Apply pressure evenly across the face of the tile. The pressure will force the tile, glue and floor into contact with each other to form a stronger bond.

Installing Peel-and-Stick Tiles

  • Peel the paper off of the self-adhesive backing, starting in one corner and peeling back diagonally across the tile, being careful not to let small pieces of paper remain on the tile.

  • Carefully position the tile and press into place. Unlike glue-down tiles, peel-and-stick tiles can't be repositioned without running the risk of adhesive failure. Make sure to get it in the right place to begin with. Try setting one end down where it is going to go and let the rest of the tile follow it into place.

  • Apply pressure to the tile to promote a solid bond between the floor and the tile. Use a J-roller or your hands and exert pressure over the entire surface of the tile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rollers for VCT installation can sometimes be found at local home improvement centers. If your local center doesn't carry them, then flooring distributors will almost always carry them for sale.

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