Repairing a Vinyl Tile Floor

One caution, vinyl tiles, particularly older tiles, are often brittle and break easily.   If you intend to reuse it, be sure the tile is thoroughly warm before trying to remove it, and try not to flex/bend it any more than necessary.  One way to warm the tile is with a hair dryer, or a heatgun set on low.  Another way is to cover the tile with aluminum foil, then use a clothes iron set on medium to warm the tile.  Also, if it isn't perfectly flat, be sure it's warm when you press it against the floor to reglue it.

Go to a flooring/tile store and get some vinyl tile mastic to glue the tile to the floor.  Explain what you're doing and ask the clerk for advice on which mastic to get.   If they only sell it in gallon quantities go somewhere else.   If you're only doing two or there tiles you can get a plastic trowel like the one in the picture for about $2 to spread the mastic.

After laying the tile, roll it flat with a baker's rolling pin or a wallpaper roller to ensure it's firmly bonded to the floor.  You may want to put a weight on it overnight.

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Vinyl tiles are an inexpensive yet attractive way to replace or update the flooring in your home; however, the tiles can get damaged over time. If you have damaged one of your tiles, it is not necessary to replace the entire floor - with a bit of know-how you can repair the damaged tile yourself.

The best scenario for repairing a damaged tile is if you have extra tiles available. It is simply a matter of heating and removing the damaged tile and replacing it with a new one. A word of caution: Some vinyl flooring and adhesive installed before mid-1970 may contain asbestos. If you suspect your flooring was installed before this time, consult your local home and building center or professional flooring specialist and inquire as to how to remove the tiles safely.

Easy Tile Replacement

1. To remove a damaged tile, using a blow dryer on the 'hot' setting, direct the airflow onto the damaged tile. Heat the damaged tile until it is malleable.

2. If there is room along the seam, run a putty knife along it to break any glue that may be sticking the tile to the adjacent tile. Do not jam the putty knife in the seam otherwise. Finally, place the putty knife's blade under the edge of the damaged tile and pry it off the subfloor.

3. Using a scraper or putty knife, scrape the old adhesive off the subfloor starting at the edge of the tile space and working towards the center.

4. Next, place your new tile in the existing space to ensure it fits. If the fit is acceptable, remove your new tile and spread fresh adhesive on the existing space using a small trowel or metal scraper. Position the new tile on top of the fresh adhesive and roll firmly with a rolling pin.

5. Using a water-moistened cloth, remove any excess adhesive, and place a thick board over top of the new tile for eight hours to ensure a good stick.

If you do not have any extra tiles, you can contact your retailer or the manufacturer and inquire if the pattern is still available. If you cannot locate any extra tiles, consider removing an existing tile from an area where it won't be so noticeable such as under the stove, refrigerator or in the closet. Heat the tile as instructed above, but be careful that you do not damage the tile when you try to lift it. Exchange the undamaged tile with the damaged tile in an inconspicuous spot. If you are really stuck for a new tile, use a tile with a similar or complimentary pattern as a last resort.

Hole Be Gone

Dropped objects, cutlery or broken glass can result in a tear or hole in your vinyl tile, but don't despair - this too can be easily fixed. Before you start, visit your local craft shop and purchase a small tube or bottle of acrylic artist's paint in a color that will match your flooring. You will also need some clear epoxy that will act as the hole filler.

First, isolate the repair area by putting 2 inches of masking tape around the hole. Next, mix a very small amount of the matching acrylic paint into the clear epoxy. It is better to start with a small amount and keep adding color if needed until you have matched the color of the tile. Finally, spread the colored mixture over the hole until it is filled. Level and remove any excess colored mixture by running a scraper or putty knife over top of the damaged tile. Allow it to dry for eight hours before walking on it.

These 10-minute vinyl tile repair tricks are so simple and effective that even the most inexperienced handyman can replace or repair a vinyl tile cheaply and effortlessly.