How to install resilient floor tiles in an easy manner

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In our earlier post for apt flooring choices, we mentioned how resilient floor covers like cork or vinyl are gradually gaining prominence in the construction and renovation fields. This is primarily because of their advantage of flexibility in usage. They are arguably more user friendly than prevalent hard surfaces (like ceramic tiles), and are also better suited to ‘save’ those accidental crockery drops.

But more importantly for the topic at hand, resilient floor tiles entail an easier DIY process. While ceramic tiles crucially require a durable and hard underlayment, resilient floor tiles can typically do without them (although it is preferred the concrete underlayment should be smooth and in good condition). And lastly, you also have the option of choosing a variety of colors and combinations, which is always a big plus for improved home decor.

However, before we start out with the step-by-step process on how to install resilient floor tiles, we will mention a few pertinent points that every DIYer interested in this project should go through –

1) You can surely lay the resilient floor tiles over an old floor, but make sure to cover the holes and cracks before that. As mentioned before, you can also opt for a new underlayment to install over an enhanced, durable surface.

2) Roughly estimate and calculate the number of tiles you need for the particular space (can be kitchen or living room). And, always buy more than the final estimated figure.

3) Some tile manufacturers put arrows in their tiles. It is advisable to follow the arrows’ direction when all the tiles are installed.

4) When you have bought your tiles, place them on the ground of the room they are about to installed. This acclimatizes them to the micro-level conditions and dampness of the space.

5) Try and wear knee pads when going through the tile installation endeavor.

Finally, we come to the processes by which we can install resilient floor tiles. For the entire DIY procedure, we would need – the tiles, tiles adhesive, measuring tape, utility knife, putty knife, notched trowel, chalk line, square and extendable roller.

Step 1 –

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Of course, the first step entails making sure your old floor (or subfloor) is ‘good’ enough to install over. For this you need to check for minor detriments like screws and nails that sometimes protrude from the surface. You can pluck them out with your putty knife, or pound them with hammer to make the surface leveled.

Additionally, if there are splinters and cracks on the underlayment (a layer comprising of plywood squares fixed to the subfloor), you can fill them with a wood filler, and then sand them to keep a uniform surface.

Step 2 –

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The next step involves the measuring of the room, so as to determine the starting point for laying the tiles. For this one needs to find the central point of the room.

You can do this by measuring the lengths between the opposing walls, and then mathematically calculating the middle point (at which these lengths intersect). An easy process would be to divide these lengths by two and then snapping two chalk lines, thus partitioning the room into four parts.

Proceed on to use a square, to find out if the centrally passing chalk lines are at a right angle. If they are not perpendicular, you will need to re-snap another line for achieving the right angle at the intersection point. This will help you to ensure that a consistent, even width is cut for all the border tiles (about which we will talk in the Step 5).

Tip – You can arrange your ‘dry’ tiles along the chalked guide lines (which should be shaped like a plus, dividing your room into four quadrants) until you reach the opposite sides of the walls. This will allow you to determine the even width that needs to be cut off from the border tiles.

Step 3 –

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Now you need to spread the tile adhesive over the room sub-floor in a uniform manner.

An effective way to go about this process would be to use a notched trowel and start from one corner of a quadrant. You can spread the adhesive in a semi-circular (or rainbow) pattern, and keep on with the broad strokes so that the swathes of adhesive coverage overlap each other.

For better distribution of time and labor, you can cover each quadrant at a time, and then immediately proceed onto the next one.

Step 4 –

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Finally, you can install your tiles over the neatly laid out adhesive layer. A roller comes in handy during such scenarios for pressing the tiles securely into their precise areas.

Tip – When laying a tile, try to maintain guide lines (or place other dry tiles) along its edges. Also try not to move the tile too much after its placement.

Step 5 –

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So far so good with the whole tiles covering the major part of your room’s floor. But the actual hassle starts with the border regions that do not accommodate whole tile sizes.

For this you need to cut the appropriate tile sizes in accordance with the border widths. A pretty simple technique entails – placing a dry tile over a fixed tile along the border. Then place another dry tile over the earlier tile so that its outer edge is positioned against the wall. This upper tile’s edge (over the earlier tile) marks the cutting line you need to follow.

And, for the actual cutting procedure, lay the tile on a smooth wooden surface. Then place a slightly elevated edge (like a square) along the tile’s marked cutting line, and use a flooring knife to cut through the line. Of course, you have to repeat the same process for all the border tiles.

Tips – Do not waste any time in installing these border tiles after they have been uniformly cut. And voila – your resilient floor tiles installation is done.

As for corner cuts, apply a similar technique, but measure the marked lines from both of the wall surfaces (that make a corner). So, this results in a L-shaped cut on the tile that is perfect for filling up the corners.

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