How to Install Vinyl Tiles

Sara Miller
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Vinyl tiles are known for their versatility, price point, and abundant design options, however many DIYers, builders, designers, and remodelers also covet vinyl flooring because of its ease of installation. With precision, the correct tools, and a good set of directions,it is possible to install a vinyl tile floor with ease. Start by following these basic instructions:

What You'll Need:

  • Sweep/ dry vac
  • Utility knife
  • Prybar
  • Marker
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Spacers (optional)
  • Notched trowel (if using adhesive tiles)
  • Roller
  • T-mold


1. Get the dimensions: Determine how many vinyl tiles you’ll need by measuring the area of the room in square feet. First measure the length and then the width, then use this calculation to approximate the square feet. Measuring the area of the room will indicate which tiles need to be cut prior to installation.

Length (feet) x Width (feet) = Square Feet

2. Prepare the subfloor: Be sure to properly treat the substrate (underlaying floor) before installing your vinyl tiles. Carpet, uneven flooring, and textured wood are not appropriate substrates. Your prexisting floor should sub-level wood or concrete floor that is even and free of debris. Once you have stripped down your subfloor, sweep or dry vac the area and remove any protruding nails.

3. Acclimate the vinyl tiles: Next, allow your vinyl tiles to breathe 24 hours to acclimate them to the room where they'll be installed. Like most flooring materials, vinyl can expand and contract based on temperature or humidity of a room. Never store your tiles in an area that is prone to excessive heat, cold, humidity, or moisture. The optimal temperature is between 65 and 86 degrees.

4. Remove baseboards and trim: Before you begin installation you should also remove any baseboards, trim, or moldings. Carefully pry them out using a pry bar and store them in a special place for reinstallation after the vinyl is secured.

5. Dryfit the area: Dryfit the vinyl tiles so you can mark the tiles that need to be cut and can map out the overall look of the room. Dryfit the full area from left to right, and using a washable marker note where the tiles need to be cut. To create an even line, consider using a ruler.

6. Cut the vinyl tiles: Cut the vinyl material in the area you marked using a sharp utility knife. Set the tiles one by one on an even surface (a utility tabe works best) and cut from the outermost edge inward. Work slowly to avoid injury or an uneven cut. (Most manufacturers recommend cutting the plank 1/8" short of the wall.)

7. Install away: To begin installing vinyl tiles, divide the floor into quadrants and tackle one quadrant at a time. Start in one corner on the left side corner of the longest wall. Lay the first tile by peeling back the self-stick guard or with your appropriate adhesive. Make sure you are laying each tile in the same direction, or alternating directions depending on the design you are trying to achieve. Consistency is key for a clean look.

Continue laying your floor by closely butting each tile next to each other. When you reach the opposite wall, measure and cut the last tile so it fits snug. Start the next row the same way.

8. Add finishes: When you have installed all your tiles, consider installing a T-molding between each room to divide the different types of floor and/or rooms. Reapply molding, trim, and baseboards.

9: Roll the surface of your new flooring: After the tiles are secured, roll over the area with a heavy-duty roller. The roller will remove air pockets and secure the new tiles to the subfloor. Minimize traffic on the floor for 24 hours.

Pro Tip: Consult the manufacturer’s guide for specific care and maintenance instructions for the vinyl tile you’ve chosen. Keep in mind, if you’re using adhesive tiles you will also need to prep and choose the proper adhesive for your flooring project.