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Self stick vinyl tiles on concrete floor

ESM's picture

I'm redoing my bathrooms and the original flooring looks like it was rolled out vinyl flooring, secured with some form of glue.  Previous owners put vinyl tiles (12" squares) on top of this.  I've ripped out all of this down to the concrete slab.

I'm not thinking that these 12" self stick vinyl tiles I have are going to stick very well to concrete by themselves, so what should I use to make sure they don't start popping up?  Some form of glue, or do I lay down some type of subfloor first?

If I do a sub floor, what should it be and how do I secure that to the concrete.


(post #61957, reply #1 of 6)

Can you take the self-stick tiles back for credit?  You will be happier with solid vinyl tiles, like an Armstrong 1/8" or 3/32" composition tile.

After the floor is cleaned,, you can install a layer of 1/4" plywood ... just be sure it is rated for underlayment ... read the instructiuons that come with the tile ... they may say that luan ply is not suitable.  Be sure the undrelayment is well secured, with no offset joints ... any imperfection in the underlayment will telegraph though the tile in just a month or so.

Or you can lay the tile directly on the concrete.  Again, be sure the concrete is very smooth.  Then use a very small v-notch trowel (the notches are small, not the trowel) to spread mastic.  Go ahead and buy mastic from the same mfgr as the tiles so there's no chance of a product mis-match.

Laying vinyl tiles is easy.  But be sure to follow the directions about letting the mastic get tacky before laying the tile ... otherwise you could have excess goo coming up between the joints.


Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell'em "Certainly, I can!"  Then get busy and find out how to do it.  T. Roosevelt

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted it done the right way.

(post #61957, reply #2 of 6)

most paint manufacturers make a concrete primer ... there's alot of different concrete sealers out there too ...

either/or may be what you're looking for ... I'd do some research to make sure compatibility isn't a problem ...

but ... I have laid miles of armstrong self-stick in damp rental basements ... in another life ... with just the regular hand tools ... and a propane torch to heat them as I went.

The torch helps with the innitial stick ... plus ... helps form them to any irregular old basement floor bumps and dips ... having a tub of floor adhesive to build up the high areas is a good thing too ....

Not fine home building ... but they're all still stuck as far as I know ...


when your fingers burn ... it's almost hot enough .....



Buck Construction, llc   Pittsburgh,PA

     Artistry in Carpentry                

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #61957, reply #3 of 6)

If you get the concrete really clean, and you use a good self stick vinyl tile, you should be ok without any addtional adhesive.

Like others, I would be more inclined to use a ceramic tile or glue down vinyl, but you already have the self-stick so...

I have used Armstrong peel and stick tile on several jobs and some knockoff brands on a few. Armstrong was the superior tile period. The first job I did was on a concrete basement floor 20+ years ago. It is still there and still stuck tight (Armstrong). Second job,agian Armstrong, was 14 years old in a leaky basement when I tore it out for a sewer install. Breaking out the concrete floor for the sewer line was easier than getting the self stick tile off the floor. That particular floor had water run across it every time there was a saturating rain. I was impressed, because a glue direct vinyl tile floor in an adjacent room had popped loose.

Other self stick tiles selected or purchased by customer were nightmares, even on wooden floors with the proper underlayment. Tile shifted after installation, adhesive weeped into the joints, and the tiles soften enough in direct sunlight to be torn by leather heeled shoes. Nevr agian would I use cheapo self stick vinyl , no matter what a customer wanted.

Self stick tile is not a high end product, but if that is what a customer wants, I'll install it.

You should have no problem if you are using a better quality tile and get theat floor really clean before you install.

Use  heat gun instead of a propane torch, it is safer. follow Jeffs' other instructions.



Edited 7/21/2004 6:35 am ET by DAVERICHESON

(post #61957, reply #4 of 6)

I do have Armstrong tiles, they are of the Cosmpolitan line with 25 year warranty, so they appear to be good ones.  They can't be returned because this particular style was being discontinued.

I may opt out for some mastic regardless of how clean I can get the floor.  I assume I'd clean with some kind of acid wash (this is what I've heard of being used before to clean concrete).  Then should I prime it or should I just start with mastic/tile?

(post #61957, reply #5 of 6)

I've seen many commercial jobs where vinyl tile was laid directly on concrete slab with mastic.  No primer or other preparation.  I don't know if it's a good way, but I've seen it done a lot.

(post #61957, reply #6 of 6)

VCT directly on concrete is a commercial standard.  What you aren't seeing is the preparation of the slab ... all divots filled smooth ... high spots sanded down ... all dirt vacuumed off before smearing mastic.  And they usually use the full 1/8" solid vinyl tiles.


Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell'em "Certainly, I can!"  Then get busy and find out how to do it.  T. Roosevelt

Edited 7/21/2004 10:22 am ET by Ed Hilton

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted it done the right way.