Replacing Vinyl Tile in a Small Bathroom

Kristie A. Raburn By Kristie A. Raburn, 11th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>DIY>Bathrooms

When we purchased our condominium, the previous owners had tiled each bathroom with vinyl tile with a black and grey color combination. As I wanted my bathroom to be a cheery blue and white with red and yellow roses on the wall paper, I knew my first project in my new home was to replace the bathroom tile.

Buy the Right Materials for the Project

To begin my project, I first counted the number of tiles already on the floor. Then I wrote down the number of tiles and measured the size of the tile so I would know how many tiles to buy. Then off to the home improvement store I went.

I selected a very nice glossy white tile with blue accents in the corner. Based on the number of tiles I needed, I bought two boxes of self-adhesive vinyl tiles. This would allow for 10 extra tiles, just in case I mess up and cut a tile incorrectly. I also purchased a putty knife, adhesive remover, a cutting knife and metal straight ruler, as recommended by the very helpful sales person. I was ready to begin my first home improvement project.

Removing and Replacing Tilies

Here is how to remove and replace vinyl tiles.

1. Starting in the farthest corner away from the door, decide on what tile to remove first. The reason for picking the one farthest from the door is so you do not need to walk on the sticky floor once you remove the tile. You just remove the tiles as you head backwards out of the room.
2. Heat the tile surface to a warm temperature using a hair dryer, as this will allow the adhesive under the tile to loosen the tile from the flooring. If the tile is old, it may come up easily and you will not need the hair dryer.
3. Slide the putty knife under the edge of the tile and continue to lift the tile until you can remove it from the floor.
4. Place the sticky old tile “sticky side up” in a trash box. Take care not to step, lean or otherwise touch the sticky part of the floor. When you remove the second tile, place it sticky side down on top of the first tile. This way all the sticky sides will be together.
5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 until all tiles are removed. In some cases, you may need to remove the base boards in order to remove the tiles around the edges. You can usually remove the base boards with a putty knife or other type of wedge.
6. Decide if you need to remove the toilet in order to remove any old tile. In our case, the tile was cut around the toilet, so I did not have to remove the toilet. Removing the toilet will involve turning off the water, flushing the toilet until it is empty, removing the water line from the tank and then lifting the toilet from the floor. Not a complicated task, but it can be very time consuming.
7. It you do not need to move the toilet, the task is easier. Once all tiles are removed, you have several choices to make. Professional tile installers recommend you string two pieces of string from corner to corner and cross them to form an “X” in the middle of the room. Then place your first tile where the “X” is. This will guarantee a dead-center placement of the tile but you may also end up having to cut tiles to fit along all four walls. As the bathroom was rather small, I chose to start along the wall, in one corner and work my way into the room. Which ever method you choose, made sure there is no debris or dirt stuck in the sticky glue on the floor. Debris will make the tile surface bumpy.
8. Decide if you want to add adhesive to the floor. If you are using self-adhesive tiles, you do not need to add adhesive to the floor. I did not add adhesive to the floor as it was definitely sticky enough.
9. Take one of your new tiles, turn it over and remove the paper backing. Do not touch the sticky surface of the tile. If you think it is necessary, place a small dab of adhesive in each corner and in the center of the sticky side of the tile.
10. Carefully place the new tile where you need it. Then prepare and place the next tile right next to it. As long as you are careful not to step on the sticky floor or touch the sticky side of the tile, the placement of the tiles should be pretty easy. Place all the full tiles first, saving complicated corners and edges for last.
11. Once you get to the edges of the room or near corners, you may need to cut the tile to fit. Using a pencil and ruler, mark on the tile the part that needs to be cut away from the tile.
12. Using the metal straight edge ruler and the cutting knife, cut the part out you do not need. Vinyl tile is very easy to cut. In fact, you can cut it with a good pair of sharp scissors. Another tip to get a tile the right shape for odd corners is to get a piece of paper or cardboard and use that as a template. Just make sure the paper is the same size as the tile and then trim the paper to fit where you want the tile to go. This works great around walls, door frames and cabinets.
13. Once your last tile is placed, you just need to clean up the trash and throw all the sticky stuff away. Clean your scissors or putty knife with adhesive remover and then gaze upon your new floor.

Article Resources
Personal Experience
Home Depot Tile Laying Class


Diy, Home Decor, Home Improvement, Simple Home Projects, Tile, Tile Flooring, Vinyl Flooring

Meet the author

author avatar Kristie A. Raburn
Poet, short story and technical writer who is also a collector of wonderful cookbooks. Currently working on book ideas with poetry and cryptographs in mind.

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author avatar chitralakshmi
11th Jun 2015 (#)

Very helpful article :)

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