3 Things You Need to Know Before Using Peel and Stick Floor Tile

March 20, 2017

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Have you ever started a DIY project that you thought would be a piece of cake, only to later think to yourself, “Gosh, why didn’t someone tell me [fill in the blank] before I started?!” Well, if you’ve ever considered using peel and stick floor tile then today’s your lucky day….because this post is all about the things I wish I had known before using peel and stick vinyl floor tile.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy with the results in our newly made over laundry room (you can check out the whole DIY laundry room makeover right over here). My peel-and-stick floor tile looks SO MUCH BETTER than the ugly, outdated linoleum we’ve lived with for almost three years. Check it out below.

And I’m happy to share that the installation is straightforward — measure and cut each tile, peel off the paper backing, and press it onto the floor. Lather, rinse, repeat. Easy peasy.

But if you’ve ever thought about using peel-and-stick floor tile and want to know some of the key considerations you should weigh before deciding whether it’s the right choice for your project, then read on.

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

peel and stick floor tile

3 Things You Need to Know When Using Peel And Stick Floor Tile

(That Home Improvement Store and Manufacturers’ Websites Won’t Tell You)

Here are three important points (the ones that the home improvement store website won’t tell you!) to consider before you commit to using peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile for your next DIY project:

The surface that you’re installing the tile over. Yes, it’s true that peel-and-stick floor tile can be placed right over linoleum. However, you’ll probably get better results if you install the tile directly over the subfloor or over concrete. Why is that, you ask? If you’re using peel-and-stick tile as a fix to hide old, outdated linoleum like I was, you’ll quickly discover once you start laying your tiles that the old linoleum is uneven, and perhaps even has nicks or bubbles in some places. But guess what? Unless you’re a professional you won’t detect those imperfections until you actually start your tiling.Personally, I think peel-and-stick vinyl tile is a good flooring choice for a mudroom or utility closet that doesn’t yet have existing tile, laminate or hardwood — laying this over concrete would really be ideal. If you do have linoleum in your space already and are feeling ambitious, I recommend you use a handheld sheet sander (I know that sounds scary, but I promise you it’s not!) like this one to get the old flooring as smooth as possible before beginning your project. I wish I had known this before I started my tiling project, because I think I would have gotten an even better end result had I used a sheet sander.

DIY peel and stick tile

The size and shape of your room. What type of space are you planning to use the tiles in? A small, square utility closet or mudroom? Your foyer? A bathroom? Peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles work well in square or rectangular spaces where the only tile cutting required will be scoring them in straight lines.These tiles are pretty durable, I must say, but you do need to handle them with care, and making too many cuts — or making cuts that aren’t angular — can cause them to snap in half if you’re not careful. Think about the size and shape of the room you want to tile and take a look at other elements you might need to work around, such as already installed cabinets, moldings, coat closets, floor vents or staircases.

Any items you might need to cut around in that room, such as molding or a staircase or the curved base of a toilet. Making sophisticated cuts to the individual tile pieces — like the ones that might be required if you have to account for molding or a curved toilet base —  aside from simply scoring them in a straight line can get tricky. This is probably my biggest gripe about using peel-and-stick tile that I wish someone had told me before I started this project. Vinyl tile is definitely durable but it obviously doesn’t have the same weight to it as a ceramic tile, laminate or hardwood does, so making cuts that are done in anything BUT a 90 or 180-degree angle is tough. I definitely ruined several tiles by trying to account for the rounded edges of molding where our door frames meet the floor. My cuts would end up being jagged or uneven, or I’d accidentally snap a tile in half while trying to, for example, cut an L-shaped tile to fit around a corner of my laundry room.

DIY install peel and stick tile

DIY install peel and stick tile

Aside from the basic facts about peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile that you can get from any home improvement store website, these are my “I tried it” secrets that I’m sharing that will hopefully help inform your decision about whether peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile is right for you.

A Few More “Nice to Knows” When Using Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Floor Tile

And because I love you guys so much, I’m going to share a couple more “nice to knows” with you about using peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile. (Bonus!)

  • Buy more than you think you’ll need. As with most flooring projects, you should buy a few more tiles than you think you’ll actually use to account for broken tiles, adhesion problems, and so on. The nice thing about most peel-and-stick vinyl tile is that each tile is sold individually, so there’s no need to buy an entire box when you only need a handful of extra tiles. And if you end up buying too much you can always return the individual tiles that you don’t end up using.
  • Store your tiles at room temperature. Definitely didn’t see this one coming. After purchasing a second batch of tiles mid-way through the project at my local Lowe’s, I accidentally left them in my trunk overnight. When I remembered the next morning that I needed to get the tiles out of the car, I had to let them sit in my basement and warm up for a few hours before I could get to work. One thing I noticed about them even after they had warmed up is that the adhesive wasn’t as sticky as usual after I had peeled off the backing of a few of the tiles that were left out in the cold, which I attributed to the swing in temperature. So moral of the story: Don’t leave these guys in your car.
  • Expect to hear a crunching sound for a week or so after you’ve installed your tile. Yep, the guy at Lowe’s neglected to mention this, and I nearly freaked out when I heard a horrible crunching noise as I walked through the laundry room on my newly installed tile. (One thing to note is that I did not use any extra adhesive beyond what was already on the back of each tile, so I can’t speak to whether the tile still makes a crunching sound after installation if you’ve used additional adhesive.)Thankfully, the crunching went away about a week after I finished the project. Apparently there is a period of time during which the tile settles, so just know that this is normal and that it will go away. Thank goodness, because I would have been seriously annoyed if I had spent $80 and eight hours of my life laying this tile only to realize it would sound like I was walking on empty potato chip bags every time I ventured into the basement to fold towels. Phew.

 

The Bottom Line

The million-dollar question is: “Is peel-and-stick floor tile a good choice?”

The answer: It depends on your project.

There are plenty of pros to using peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile: It’s affordable, comes in an array of colors and patterns that tend to resemble actual ceramic tile or hardwood, and it can be installed over other existing surfaces like linoleum, cutting down on the time and mess required for a demolition phase.

If I had to tackle my laundry room flooring project all over again, I would still use peel-and-stick vinyl flooring — so far, it’s proved to be a good choice for our budget and this particular project.

DIY peel and stick tile

But as the saying goes, “The more you know…..” And it would’ve been great if I had known everything I shared above before starting my tiling.

Have you used peel-and-stick vinyl flooring for a recent project? If so, what were your thoughts?

Wondering if peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile is right for your project_ Here are three things you need to know BEFORE you commit to using it. #diy #flooring #howto

Are peel and stick vinyl tiles any good_ This blogger shares some honest feedback on her experience using this tile in her laundry room. #flooring #tile #diy

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49 Comments

49 Comments
  1. Can it be put over laminar flooring

    Reply
    • Hi Helen – Yes, peel-and-stick tile is designed to be placed over existing surfaces. However, the flooring you have already will impact the lifespan and ease of installation when it comes to using peel-and-stick tile. If you have existing laminate tile you want to cover — that’s what I did — I’d recommend sanding the existing surface beforehand to make it as flat and even as possible. This will make the installation process much easier.

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      • You may just want to check on the age of the old vinyl you are sanding. Some of the really old stuff had asbestos in it in which case you should not sand it.

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        • Hi Eric – You’re absolutely right. Luckily my home is “young” enough that I didn’t have that issue, but to your point, it’s wise to be careful with sanding if you have an older home. Thanks for your comment!

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      • You should use floor leveling compound over existing tile prior to peel and stick. Sanding old tile could be hazardous to your health and those in your house if it contains asbestos.

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        • Tim – Thank you for this helpful tip! I so wish I had known this prior to our laundry room makeover. Even after speaking with several individuals at the home improvement stores, you are the first person to mention the use of floor leveling compound. And great point about old tile and asbestos. Thankfully my home is “young” enough that this wasn’t a concern for me, but it absolutely could be an issue for other homeowners.

          Reply
    • Oh my goodness the crunching of the floor story was hilarious, I could not stop laughing.
      Thank you for your informative and funny post about peel and stick tile.
      I am certain we will use your information when purchasing peel and stick tile for our upcoming kitchen renovation.

      Reply
      • Thank you for reading, Pam, and for taking the time to leave a comment! Good luck with your kitchen renovation. And I’m happy to report that the crunching sound has gone away. 🙂

        Reply
  2. So I have existing 8×8 tile in my laundry room that I want to do the peel and stick tiles on. Do I order them in the same size as the tile and the grout shows through? Am I just crazy?

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie! Your peel-and-stick tiles do NOT need to be the same size as your current tiles. The idea is that you use the peel-and-stick tiles over the current tile…so it doesn’t matter the size. You can either layer on the new tile without grouting and leaving space in between (I would only recommend this in low-traffic areas that aren’t prone to water), or you can use peel-and-stick tile with grout just as you’d use ceramic tile. That said, regardless of what size tiles you choose, you should be prepared to make some cuts so that they fit the area you’re tiling. Hope that helps!

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  3. We live in a house built in 1928. I would recommend starting along a square line across the middle of your room if there is any chance that the walls aren’t square…. (which ours aren’t!)

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    • That’s a great recommendation!

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  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to post the information about your experience and the helpful tips you included. I’ve been researching this all day and your post was far and away the most helpful.

    Reply
    • Dan, I am so glad you found this post helpful! And thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate your feedback.

      Reply
  5. Curious if anyone has used this for a backsplash or applied to a bathroom wall?

    Reply
    • Hi Kristie! I haven’t personally used peel-and-stick tile for a bathroom backsplash, but I know others who have and they seemed to have liked the quality and ease associated with the peel-and-stick variety.

      Reply
  6. Hello

    I have read and watched many different people go one way or the other. I am installing Vinyl Self Sticking planking over old vinyl sheet flooring (mid 1970’s). It will be installed in a cabin and will be cold at times. I want to know weather I should use the extra adhesive to help secure it to the vinyl? It shows the glue is for porous services and vinyl is not but some say to use it? Not sure if the cold will hamper the adhesion so the glue may help?

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  7. Has anyone grouted their projects? I found some gaps began to appear here and there and decided to grout these and edges. I also covered old lanolium and also hear a crunching sound each time I walk!!

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  8. How about the edges? I’d like to apply this over my current 2003 kitchen linoleum but wondering what it looks like at the edges. Will it be a trip issue coming from a carpeted living room to the new flooring in the kitchen? And will it look odd against the walls where the trim is? Thx!

    Reply
  9. Do you think applying peel and stick tiles to linoleum backing (after linoleum is pulled up a backing remains on the subfloor – to remove it you must use a heat gun and scrap the backing and adhesive off) would work?

    Reply
    • Hi Krit! I’m not sure how effective it would be to apply the tiles over the old linoleum backing. I laid my tiles directly over the old linoleum — I didn’t remove it — and I was happy with the results.

      Reply
  10. Thank you for the information regarding the crackling, potato chip bag sound. I just finished installing my tiles (over old linoleum) and was beginning to freak out because of the sound. Finding your post was such a relief!

    Reply
    • I’m so happy this post was helpful, Stacey! Yeah, that sound freaked me out in the beginning as well….but don’t worry, it’ll subside over time. 😉

      Reply
  11. Absolutely great article, giving me ideas about peel and stick vinyl floor tile. Thank you for sharing this one.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad it was helpful!

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  12. My question is at any point you want to remove peel and stick flooring. Is it hard or did it damage the existing floor?

    Reply
    • Hi Rhonda, thanks for stopping by! I have never personally removed our peel-and-stick floor tile so I don’t know what is involved in removing it (or if you can remove it without causing damage to the subfloor or tile underneath). Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

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  13. Thank you so much.. i just changed the faucet. Light fixture, door knobs. Framed the mirror and was looking to upgrade the flooring. You are so awesome for letting me the facts. I now know i can do this. One question, do i have to take the toilet up?

    Reply
    • Hi Cali, sounds like you’re making some awesome upgrades! You do not have to move the toilet to lay the peel-and-stick tile down, but you WILL have to cut the tile to fit around the toilet, which you can do with a tile scoring tool. That IMO is the trickiest part of using peel-and-stick vinyl tile.

      Reply
  14. Hi Kate, I’m thinking of using peel-and-stick tiles for a breezeway/mudroom makeover. The existing floor in the breezeway is painted hardwood. Do you think I should sand it first? (and will it hold up over the sanded hardwood?) Also it’s not a well-insulated space so it gets cold in the winter/hot in the summer. Do you know if peel-and-stick tiles hold up well in varying temperatures? I’m going to put a rug runner over most of the floor for extra protection, but our existing floors definitely need a makeover. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Liz! I’ve never put peel-and-stick tiles over hardwood, but my guess is that yes, you should sand lightly first as long as you know the source of the paint (if you live in an older home, you want to make sure there’s no lead in the paint). What shape is your breezeway? Peel-and-stick tile works best in square or rectangular rooms. And just be aware of any existing molding you’ll have to cut around. Good luck with the makeover, and thanks for stopping by Kate Decorates!

      Reply
  15. Hi, Kate!
    Would you recommend this in a home full of dogs? As in has it made the floor more slippery perhaps and do you have to be more careful while cleaning now?

    Reply
    • Hi Bhi – I don’t have pets but having vinyl tile doesn’t make the floor any more slippery than other flooring materials (ceramic tile, wood, etc), in my opinion.

      Reply
  16. What did you use to remove excess glue that squeezes up from seams and here and there handprints from sticky fingers?

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy! The nice thing about peel-and-stick tile is that you don’t need any extra glue — the tiles have adhesive on the back of them already. I didn’t use extra glue and I have had no issues with adhesion (and I laid our floors about two years ago now). No issues with sticky handprints either — I clean this floor the same way I clean any other tile floors in my house.

      Reply
  17. Good afternoon Kate, I just want to “Thank You” for taking the time to educate us out here!! I am re-modeling my Master Bath..(if you want to call it that…to me, it’s like a closet..lol…it’s basically 5 x 7..) I am wanting to do the flooring which is 4 x 4 with Vinyl Tile myself. It currently has linoleum flooring and I believe it is the original with the sub-flooring, which was built in 1988. Do you recommend using the Vinyl Tile on the sub-floor or would you try it over the linoleum? Also, because it is bathroom, I am going to use a adhesive under the tiles because of moisture. I just do not know what type of adhesive and is adhesive the same as primer? What is the name of the adhesive you recommend? I truly appreciate any feed back you can give me and anyone on this site, please feel free to join in..Big hugs…Kimberly

    Reply
    • Hi Kimberly — Congrats on your remodel, that sounds like a great project! You can place the peel-and-stick tile directly on top of the linoleum with no additional adhesive. But I’d caution you about two things: First is the precise cutting it’s going to take to place the tiles around the toilet. Personally, that’s why I would hesitate about using this kind of tile (and doing it myself) in a bathroom. There are a lot of cuts that would require laser precision, and that might be tough. That’s why I mentioned in my post that if you’re going to install peel-and-stick tile, it’s best done in a square or rectangular space where there aren’t lots of existing things (like toilets!) you’d have to work around. And the second word of warning is that just like other kinds of flooring, these tiles do expand and shift a little over time, which is why I’d 100% use grout with them if I were to lay them in a bathroom. You definitely don’t want water and other debris seeping between the tiles.

      Reply
  18. I was wondering if these tiles can withstand weight? like would they leave a dent?

    Reply
    • Hi Fraddy – In my experience, the tiles are pretty durable. I have hampers, laundry baskets and a step stool in our laundry room (where the tiles are) and I’ve never noticed any dents.

      Reply
  19. Once the floor has adhered, you won’t have to worry about temperature fluctuation. If you’re putting it onto a floor that is currently cold (such as a basement), use a hairdryer to warm the back of the tile before peeling off the backing.

    Reply
    • Good advice, Debby! Yes, using a blow dryer on the back of the tiles can help the backing come off easily if your tiles (or the area you’re tiling) are very cold.

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  20. I haven’t laid tile over vinyl, just cement and wood, but I used a floor roller after installation. It may be that more pressure needs to be applied to your tiles.

    Reply
    • Good to know about the roller, Debby. Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  21. Quick question, Kate…and thank you for your tips!
    What exactly do you use to cut the tile? I have heard that these tiles can be hard to cut and was wondering what I should invest in?
    Another tip I have heard is to not forget knee pads! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi Shani! I used a simple tile scoring tool that I purchased at one of the big box home improvement stores. It did the trick, for the most part. You’re correct in that the tiles ARE difficult to cut. That’s one of the biggest reasons I say that peel-and-stick tiles are best for square or rectangular spaces — aka, spaces that won’t require any curved cuts. Cutting straight lines is fine, but if you’re tiling a space that requires curved cuts (e.g. around moulding, around a toilet base, etc)….I personally found that very challenging.

      Reply
  22. I wonder if different brands of flooring make a difference on the outcome? We did an 8 x 10 Landry room plus a small connecting bathroom yesterday and no noise at all when we walked on it? Looks great and are very pleased with the results. We did self leavening in some spots and went over 1979 linoleum.

    Reply
    • Hi Shell — There are lots of variables here, for sure. The brand of tile, what you’re laying it over, whether or not you use grout with the tile, etc. All of those variables impact the outcome and long-term durability of the project.

      Reply
  23. Hello! Your blog is saving my life rn. I am installing over a slightly textured 1970s linoleum in a like 4.5 x 4.5 foot entry way that we only use to get the mail. It needs to stick!! The guy at Lowes told me to get this stuff to roll over the linoleum to create a new surface that will help it bond. It’s like a modpodge basically. Did you learn anything about this …like is it better than sanding? I’m worried it will not adhere even if I make this new surface for it to sit on. I could always sand then clean it then roll out the primer stuff. Any advice???

    Reply
    • Hi Amy – I’m glad the post was helpful! What product did the person at Lowe’s recommend? I’m not familiar with a base layer that goes under the peel-and-stick floor tiles, but that sounds promising. I’d love for you to report back and share your thoughts on it once your project is complete!

      Reply

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