How to Put Peel & Stick Tiles Down on OSB

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Peel and stick vinyl tiles are a popular flooring option for DIY homeowners. They look like traditional vinyl, but do not require separate adhesive. This makes them much easier to install, and tends to reduce the amount of cleanup required. Peel and stick tiles can be installed over almost any type of subfloor, though it is important to properly prepare the floor first to avoid problems with your tile flooring. When installing over existing oriented strand board (OSB), an underlayment must be added between the OSB and the tiles. This is due to OSB's tendency to swell and warp along the seams over time, which could eventually show through the vinyl flooring.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Peel and stick tiles
  • 1/4" plywood underlayment
  • Underlayment nails
  • Hammer
  • Joint compound
  • Trowel
  • Chalk line marker
  • Vinyl tile cutter
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Trim or floor boards (optional)
  • Floor roller
  • Measure the dimensions of the room to calculate how much material you'll need to purchase. Multiply the length and width to determine total square footage. Make sure to buy about 5 percent more tile than you plan to use, as some material will be lost as you cut the tiles to fit around obstructions. It is also helpful to keep extra tiles around for repairs.

  • Cover the entire OSB subfloor with a layer of 1/4" plywood underlayment. Leave a slight (1/16") gap between each board so that the plywood can expand and contract over time. Stagger the joints on the plywood so they don't line up with those on the OSB.

  • Attach the plywood to the OSB using underlayment nails every 8 inches along the seams.

  • Cover the seams of the underlayment using joint compound. Spread this material on in a thin layer using a trowel. Allow the joint compound to dry completely before installing your tiles. This helps to prevent the seams on the plywood from telegraphing through the vinyl.

  • Find the center point of each wall and snap a chalk line from each wall to its opposite. This will help you locate the center of the room.

  • Layout your tiles starting in the center of the room. This will ensure that the floor looks even and straight, even if the walls are not square. Do not remove the paper backing from the tiles. Determine what pattern you will use then restack the tiles in order for easier installation.

  • Peel the paper backing from each tile and stick it firmly to the floor, starting in the center of the room. Keep the tiles lined up with the chalk lines you created in Step 5. Butt the tiles close together, keeping them square and even.

  • Cut the tiles as needed using a vinyl tile cutter or utility knife and straight edge.

  • Roll the floor using a 100 pound floor roller once all the tiles are in place. The floor roller will remove any air bubbles from under the tiles and ensure they are firmly bonded with the subfloor. Add trim or molding around the perimeter of the room as desired to complete the project.

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