How to lay vinyl tiles on floorboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Vinyl tile is inexpensive flooring that you can lay over old floorboards. It sometimes has an adhesive back that makes laying is over existing surfaces simple. It is important to check that the floorboards are not warped or splintered in any way before laying the tile. Also, check for any leaks underneath the floorboard, as removing the vinyl tile and wood when a leak occurs is difficult. Once you have inspected the floorboards, you are ready to begin.

Measure the length and width of the room and multiply the two numbers to get the square area of the room. Purchase the correct amount of tiles according to the size of the room and the size of the individual tiles.

Pry up skirting board from around the room using a small pry bar.

Lay a piece of 6 mm (1/4 inch) plywood on the floorboards and nail it in using 3.1 cm (1 1/4 inch) underlay nails. Spread a levelling compound on the seams of the plywood using a hand trowel or paint scraper if more than one board was used. Sand the wet seams with sandpaper.

Lay a tile by the door jamb as a guide for height. Cut into the door jamb using an undercut saw so that the tile will fit under.

Measure the width of the room in two places and snap the chalk line so that the middle of the room is marked. Make a mark going in the opposite direction so that the room is split into quarters.

Peel off the backing of the first vinyl tile and place it at the inside corner of one of the quarters. Lay all the rest of the vinyl pieces as part of a dry run to ensure the tiles all fit.

Lay down the vinyl tile with the adhesive back exposed along the room until the small space left around the wall is all that is exposed.

Measure the length between the wall and the closest tile by setting a loose tile on top of the tile closest to the wall. Place another loose tile on top and slide it so that it touches the wall. Mark the tile underneath the tile touching the wall with a pencil. Do this along the wall to mark all tiles, filling the empty space. Cut the tile along the mark with a sharp knife.

Reinstall the skirting you pulled up. Allow the tile five days to cure before washing it to allow the glue time to set.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pry bar
  • 6 mm (1/4 inch) plywood
  • 3.1 cm (1 1/4 inch) underlayment nails
  • Levelling compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Undercut saw
  • Utility knife
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