Installing groutable vinyl tile is one of those things that sounds like it requires a high level of skill, but it really just takes time and patience. Because it is time-consuming, recruiting a friend to help is highly recommended. Follow along with these steps to see how doable it is to swap out some old, ugly, or damaged flooring in exchange for fresh, groutable tile that will impress all of your friends (without crushing your wallet!)
- New flooring (I used TrafficMASTER Ceramica resilient vinyl tile in Alpine Marble Beige)
- Tape measure
- ⅛ inch tile spacers
- Utility knife
- Straight edge
Grout (I used 1 quart of SimpleGrout premixed grout in Linen for a 77 sq. ft. room)
- Rubber grout float
- Large grout sponge
- Generous piece of cheesecloth
Step One: Remove Existing Flooring & Prep Subfloor
Different kinds of flooring removal require different tools and techniques. Do some research on your particular type of flooring to figure out the best way to proceed. Once you have all of the old flooring removed, thoroughly vacuum the subfloor and make sure it is level. If there are any lumps in the subfloor, do some extra research before you proceed. A clean, flat subfloor is crucial!
Step Two: Lay Down The Tiles
Once your subfloor is prepped and ready to go, use a tape measure to find the center of the room. Remove the paper backing and place your first tile. Be certain that the tile is aligned exactly straight with the walls. Press down firmly and place tile spacers on all four corners of the first tile. Place tiles in a straight line, adding more spacers to each new tile, and continue until the entire floor is covered except for the edges of the floor (there will likely be a gap between the last full tiles and the wall.)
Step Three: Cut The Edges
Measure to determine the width of the gap, then use your utility knife and straight edge to trim down a tile to the proper size. The utility knife will “score” the tiles and you’ll be able to snap them cleanly to fit each piece into place. Carefully cut pieces to fit around any woodwork or pipes. (This is really the worst part, but fear not, young grasshopper, you’ll make it through!) Don’t sweat it if there are some minor imperfections because you’ll disguise them with grout. Once the entire floor is covered, allow the adhesive on the tiles a full 24 hours to set.
Step Four: Grout
Remove the tile spacers and fill a bucket with water. Use the grout float to scoop grout and press it into the cracks between the tiles, pulling the float across the cracks diagonally at a 45 degree angle. Do not spread grout over the entire surface; just the spaces between. Remove excess with the float and move on until you complete 5-10 square feet, then use a damp sponge to clean up and smooth the grout. (Don’t worry about the “haze” on the tiles as it starts to dry, that’ll get cleaned up later!) Continue on until you’ve grouted the entire floor. Carefully use a fingertip to smooth grout into corners and around pipes/woodwork for a seamless look. Allow 4-6 hours for the grout to start to dry.
Step Five: Polish!
Use pieces of cheesecloth to polish off any grout “haze” on the tiles. Once you’re haze-free, let the floor dry for another 12-14 hours and viola! You’re ready to take a selfie on your brand new floor and start using the room as normal again.
Victory Selfie: Hold Phone Up, Smile, Get Likes.