How to Prep a Floor for Vinyl Tiles


One of the keys to laying vinyl tile on concrete or over existing linoleum is to properly prep the floor. Since vinyl tiles are thin, the surface below it must be completely flat and smooth before the tiles are put down. Prepping a floor for tile will likely take you at least two days including dry time, so don't plan to prep and lay the tile on the same day for the best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrub brush
  • Mild soap
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Fine tooth hand saw
  • Floor-leveling compound
  • Remove the base molding at the foot of the wall; this molding is usually secured on with brads and can be carefully pried off with a utility knife and a screwdriver. Remove metal carpet strips, if necessary.

  • Cut a groove into the bottom of the door thresholds and any other molding that can't be removed with a narrow fine-toothed hand saw. The groove should be just wide enough to slide the edge of the tile.

  • Fill in any cracks, holes and uneven patches in the concrete or tile floor with a floor-leveling compound. Flatten the compound with a large putty knife. Allow the compound to dry overnight.

  • Sand the compound dry and wash and dry the floor with a scrub brush and soapy water, removing all of the dust from the cutting and sanding.

  • Rinse the floor and allow it to dry completely before laying the vinyl tile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the base moldings and replace after the vinyl tile has been installed.
  • If you'll be laying vinyl tile on a wood floor, prep it as above, but instead of using floor-leveling compound, lay plywood under-layment on the entire surface of the floor, sliding the ends under the grooves in the molding, and staple down using a pneumatic stapler and compressor.

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