Groutable Vinyl Tile review including tips and installation guide.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever seen in a home? I’ve seen a lot of things in homes that made me do a double take, but a carpeted bathroom is probably the top of my list.
First reaction: Ewwww!
Second reaction: Why would anyone do that?!
I somehow forgot to get “before” pictures. I’m sorry, I really couldn’t get that carpet out fast enough! But that’s not really what today’s post is about anyhow. Today, we are sharing our technique for installing groutable vinyl tile.
Would you believe this beautiful floor is peel and stick tile?!
Groutable vinyl tile does exist and it’s gotten to be a pretty good product.
Pros of Groutable Vinyl Tile
- Much easier to put in than real tile – this is a pretty simple mid-level to beginner DIY project.
- Easy to Cut – no tile saw required
- Much faster than tile. The adhesive sets in a few hours and we even walked on our previous LVT installation as we set down new tiles.
- Cheaper than tile! This whole project was about $150 including the underlayment, and it would have been at least twice that with real tile.
- The tile looks really good and feels good on your feet – no cold, hard tile but it looks pretty realistic.
- Very easy to patch if a tile gets damaged.
Do you need a subfloor for groutable vinyl tile?
Yes, sort of. Most vinyl and luxury vinyl tile require APA rated underlayment on top of a subfloor. The underlayment is a special layer under the top flooring that resists dents and punctures from concentrated loads (i.e. refridgerator, furniture legs). Unlike some types of plywood subfloor, underlayment is a very smooth surface that will give maximum adhesion for vinyl tile.
If you are pulling out your old flooring, you may already have an underlayment that is in good enough condition to reuse.
Supplies for Groutable Vinyl Tile
- APA underlayment (if there is none under your current floor)
- Floor patch (for uneven floors or seams between floor joints)
- Groutable Vinyl Tile (we used this hexagon pattern)
- Vinyl Tile Adhesive (optional if you have peel and stick tile)
- Vinyl Tile Grout
- Vinyl Tile Trowel (if using adhesive)
- Grout Float
- A strong utility knife
- A sturdy ruler (for both measuring and as a straight edge)
- Tile Spacers (1/16 or ⅛ inch)
How To Prep for Vinyl Tile
Proper prep is always your best friend in getting long lasting results.
After removing the old floor and anything on top of it, like a toilet, assess the subfloor. If there isn’t an APA underlayment that’s mostly smooth and in good shape underneath, I suggest that you add one. It’s as simple as cutting to match the floor size and screwing or tacking it down to the subfloor with a nail gun.
Patch any seams, obvious dents, or defects in the underlayment. We screwed/tack along the seams, so it was easy to cover any screws with patch.
How to Install Groutable Vinyl Tile
You peel. and. stick.
There’s a bit more to it, but not much!
The particular brand that we used was, in fact, peel and stick. First, not all groutable vinyl tile has the adhesive coating on it. Our kitchen tile did not. However, we chose to add more adhesive to the tile because reviews suggested that the adhesive backing wasn’t enough. So we didn’t take the chance, and added adhesive to the backs of the tiles with an vinyl tile. You can also add the adhesive to the floor instead if you can lay them before the glue starts to dry.
These tiles are very easy to cut! Simply score a line with a utility knife and snap them apart.
*Pro Tip: Use something heavy to make sure the tiles are completely down. We used a heavy kitchen rolling pin and our body weight to make sure they were completely stuck down.
Not only was the entire floor laid in a single day, but I grouted the next day as well!
Remove excess glue from grout lines. If you have any blobs of glue in between the tiles, use a utility knife to scrape it out. The reason is that the adhesive remains more flexible, so the grout over top may crack over time.
Grouting is exactly like grouting regular tile. Scoop up a hand-sized ball of grout and start pushing it into the cracks. With grout you really want to push into the grooves to make sure the space fills completely. The grout lines aren’t as deep at traditional tile, so it’s pretty easy to get in there. Then drag the float at a 45-degree angle to remove the excess.
You can’t walk on the grout until it dries, so as you work in sections, wipe up excess with a barely damp sponge. The sponge also serves to level out the grout and will give you those professional looking results. Don’t worry about getting every bit of haze off the tile. That will come later. However, do make sure to get any grout off surfaces it wasn’t meant to be on (bathtub wall, baseboards). It will be much harder to get off once it dries.
Pay attention to the “do not walk on for X amount of time” instructions. But do come back in a day or two and wash any additional haze off the tile, after that drying period.
Is Groutable Vinyl Tile Durable?
When we started out on this project, I had serious reservations about how well groutable vinyl tile would last. So much so, I waited a year to write this post!
But I am happy to report that the tile is doing really great, even though we did a hardcore renovation to the rest of the bathroom with the floor in-tact. No scratches, dents, or tile pulling up. We did have one small pit in the grout, but I patched that up easily. Honestly, that may have even been a mistake from the install.
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