Vinyl tile is inexpensive and a useful option for covering worn floors that experience a lot of dirt or foot traffic. The vinyl will provide a moisture seal and can hold up well for years with the correct installation procedures. Vinyl is also famously easy to install and is a common material for do-it-yourself home renovations. It can be placed on a wide variety of surfaces, including concrete, but the correct preparation procedures need to be followed.
When laying vinyl, you need to make sure the floor surface is smooth. This can be a problem with concrete floors, which may have bumps or chips that have developed over time. These must be taken care of before the tile can be laid. You can chip off any bumps and fill in any cracks, but it may also be a good idea to follow this by using a concrete sander to smooth out the entire floor. It is also important to note that vinyl tiles cannot be put down on any existing coating on the concrete floor. This includes paints, sealants, fillers, adhesives and chemically treated substrates—all will interact negatively with the vinyl and the adhesive used to bond it. These coatings must be removed before installation.
You should also make sure that the floor is clean and dry. All dust, dirt and grime should be removed, preferably using only water as a cleaning solution. Let the floor dry before laying the tile. If the concrete has just been poured, wait at least 24 hours before laying tile on it. If you are laying vinyl tile on a floor below ground level, you may want to consider putting down a basement proofer to stop water from seeping in underneath the tile—even a small amount of moisture can ruin the tile.
Laying the Tile
Temperature is an especially important consideration when laying vinyl tile on concrete floors. Experts recommend that you store the tile in the room where it will be put down for at least two days, so the tile becomes acclimated to the temperature of the room and the floor it will be on. Fortunately, concrete is easy to draw on with chalk, so working out the center point of your tile design and drawing border lines can be done without any problems. Always be sure to dry-fit a couple rows of tile first, preferably rows going in opposite directions. This will allow you to judge how the tile will fit against the border of the concrete and what adjustments or cuttings will need to be made.
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