Floor tiles


Vinyl or lino tiles can be laid on either concrete or timber sub-floors. Preparation of the sub-floor is as for laying sheet flooring. The same considerations apply; the floor must be clean, dry, level and grease free.

When laying on old synthetic or rubber floor tiles, check first that these are free of wax and that any damaged tiles are replaced. Some types of tile may have constituents that might react chemically with new tiles.

If there is any doubt, remove the old tiles. These can be heated with a blow torch to facilitate removal. The residue of old adhesive should be cleaned off before laying new tiles. Slightly irregular wood surfaces can be corrected by laying a saturated felt underlay.

Certain types of tiles, such as vinyl tiles, will be more pliable and less brittle to work with if kept at room temperature for some time before laying. If the tiles are self adhesive the sticking agent is activated with hot water or ex-posed by removing a protective backing sheet of waxed paper.

Guide lines

Tiling starts from the centre of the room. First, mark out the guide lines. As the walls of a room are rarely true, the exact centre is found in the following way. Establish and mark the exact centres of the two end walls; rub chalk over the length of string; position the string between the marked points and snap it against the floor. Establish the side wall centres and position a second chalk line. The room will then be marked out in four sections.


To find out how wide the gap will be between the last whole tile and the wall, put down a line of tiles loosely along the chalk lines; do not stick these. The space left at the edge should not be less than half a tile. If you are left with a gap of less than half a tile, adjust the chalk line by moving it half the width of a tile further away from that wall.

Using a notched spreader apply up to, but not over the chalk lines, about lm2 of adhesive; do not make this too thick.

First, apply adhesive to the under edge of the tiles which butt the chalk line, so that these do not lift along that edge. Starting at the point where the chalk lines cross, lay the first row of tiles.

Position the first tile at the point where the lines intersect. Press the tile down firmly round the outside and then in the centre. Work outwards until you reach the gap between the wall and the last complete tile.

Cutting in

Fitting in tiles at the edge can be done in two ways: If the gap is the same along the length of the wall, take the tile to be cut and place it over the corresponding tile in the last complete row from the wall.

Butt a square tile against the skirting and over the tile to be cut. Mark the line of the overlap on the bottom tile. Cut the tile and fit it into position.

After the complete row has been trimmed, stick the tiles down, taking care not to force them into position.

Where the gap between the last row of complete tiles and the wall is not even, use a spare tile as a marker to indicate the variations in distance.

Place the tile to be trimmed on the last corresponding complete tile. Join the two marks with a ruled line, cut the tile and fit into position.

Vinyl tiles can be scored with a cutting knife and snapped cleanly. Lino tiles must be cut through.

Cutting round corners, door architraves and so on can be done by using a template or with a spare tile, a pencil-and care.

Place the tile to be cut on top of the corresponding tile in the row laid last. Use the spare tile, held vertically and parallel with the run of the floor, to mark off the shape of the corner point by point. Join up these points together and the shape of the corner will be reproduced on the tile, which can then be cut.

Self-adhesive tiles

Tiles that have self-adhesive backing are easy to lay. Mark out the floor as before. Dip the self-adhesive tile into a bowl of hot water for 5-10 seconds to allow the glue to soften.

Shake the tile to remove excess water and press the tile into position. As the tiles are laid, remove any water on the surface. If the tiles have to be trimmed, use the same techniques as for non-adhesive tiles but before immersing in hot water.

Other self-adhesive tiles have a layer of adhesive material on the back protected by waxed paper. This is peeled off after any cutting necessary, before the tile is placed in position.

Floor care

Both vinyl and linoleum floors, well cared for, will give years of easy-care use. Most linoleum can be polished. After laying, wash over with warm water and mild detergent and then use a suitable wax or resinous polish.

Adhesive, on the face of vinyl tiles, should be cleaned off with a little white spirit. Wash the tiles with warm water and a mild detergent, then apply two coats of a suitable liquid vinyl polish.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Floor tiles


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