When we first moved into our home this past April, it was evident that the entire house needed new flooring. Of course, this is no cheap task. So we started just one room at a time. One of them being, the entrance from our garage which includes our small laundry room and half bath. The existing floor was an evident vinyl tile that was printed to look like a wood trim with a green tile inside. If it sounds ugly, just think what it looked like in person! I knew it had to go but I didn’t have a large budget for this project.
So I looked into some affordable options but just couldn’t get excited with what was available. I have seen amazing herringbone floors made but they were always made with real tile which made me wonder if I couldn’t pull off that look in my own way. After further research, I discovered that there is now grout-able peel-n-stick tile at just $1.08 per tile!! Not only is the peel-n-stick tiles much cheaper, it is also easier to cut than porcelain tile (no saws needed) and installation is also much easier (simply remove the paper backing to reveal the sticky adhesive). Best part is, I was able to complete this project for just $102!! Read below for a step by step tutorial on how-to achieve your own peel-n-stick herringbone floors.
12×12 Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Tile by Armstrong (I got it in crescendo french gray), $77.76 (72 tiles at $1.08 or approx. 2 boxes)
Vinyl Tile Grout by Blue Hawk (I got it in saddle gray), $18.82 (Two cartons at $9.41 a piece)
Tile T-Spacers, $4.96 (Pack of 100)
Total Cost: $102
Tools you’ll need
– Box cutter
– Metal L-square ruler
– Rubber grout trowel
– Small bucket
STEP ONE: Determine the amount of tile/grout you need to purchase.
I needed enough tile to fill two rooms measuring 65″ x 59″ and 84″ x 72″. To calculate how much tile I needed, I used a simple tile calculator such as this one to find the square footage of my space. The calculator estimated that I needed 69.08 square feet for this project. Since the tiles I was purchasing were 12″x12″, that means I needed about 70 tiles. (32 tiles come in a box so I purchased two.)
When determining how much grout you need, I can advice just from my experience that we used one tub for 70 square feet of floor. I purchased two and although I only used one, I went ahead and kept the other in case I needed it for touch ups later on.
STEP TWO: Cut the tiles into thirds.
For a 12×12 tile, use your L-square ruler to measure and mark each of your tiles like shown below.
Then take your box cutter and slice your tile along your measured mark – use your ruler as a guide to create straight lines. (Note: if you don’t cut all the way through, do not fret. Simply fold the tile along the mark and it will snap apart easily along the cut.)
Keep in mind, that I made the decision to install my floor over the existing laminate tile. Removing existing peel stick can be very difficult and time consuming so if you don’t have to, I recommend skipping that step (I’ve provided tips at the end of this post on identifying whether you need to remove your old floor before installing or not).
STEP THREE: Lay out your tiles in the herringbone pattern.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned the surface you will be installing your new floor on and have removed doors, toilets, furniture, etc that may be in the way, it’s time to begin laying out your tiles. Use your L-square ruler and T tile spacers to begin creating the pattern. Lay out two complete rows that span the entire floor before sticking the floors down permanently. These two rows set the tone for all others, so It’s very important to have the tiles square to one. Your tiles should appear in a V pattern, similar to the image below.
STEP FOUR: Remove plastic backing and install first two rows.
Once you are comfortable with the pattern and the tiles are all square to one another and in a straight line, you are free to begin sticking them down. To do so, carefully remove the plastic backing and placing tile back in its original place. Apply pressure to each tile to ensure the proper adhesion. Continue doing this until you have completed your first two rows. (See image below)
STEP FIVE: Continue adding rows to both sides of the initial two.
Using the existing two rows as your guide, lay out another complete row using your L-square ruler again. See diagram below for a visual.
Once you have the tiles in the place you want them, repeat step four. Continue this process until you have covered the entire floor. Keep in mind that as you approach walls, door frames, or other obstacles that you will need to cut around them using your box cutter. This is probably the most annoying part of the entire project but it’s well worth it in the end.
Once you have covered the entire surface area that you wish to cover, it’s safe to remove all spacers. To really make sure that your tiles have been adhered well, I would suggest taking a rolling pin and rolling over the floor a few times. Then prepare your area to grout. Use a vacuum to sweep up any debris that may have found its way into the cracks of your tile. You’re floor should now be looking similar to this…
STEP SIX: Grout your tile.
Using your grout trowel, spread your vinyl tile grout in between your tiles. Use your rag and bucket full of water to wipe off the excess. Do a small area at a time so your grout doesn’t dry before wiping it off. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove the excess from the tile…I learned this the hard way. Unlike regular tiles, the depth of the vinyl tiles is very minuscule in comparison so a little grout goes along way!
Once you’ve finished grouting, give the floors a good couple of days to dry completely before allowing heavy traffic through the area. Now all you have left is to do is marvel at your hard work and catch up on some well earned sleep.
Words of Wisdom
- Timing – Give yourself plenty of time for this project. It’s fair to say that this project is a couple day project depending on the size of your space. Between my dad and I, we were able to to get it done in a full day by staying up all night to finish.
- Cutting the tiles – Make sure to cut your tiles on a surface you are not upset to scratch, cut, or ruin. I cut them right on top of the old floor, simply because I knew I would be installing over it.
- Old floor removal – You should remove the existing floor if your old floor matches any of the following criteria:
- Your floor is chipped or coming up on its own
- Your floor surface is not level or has a slick coating that can cause problems with adhesion
- Your floor has old, existing grout already
- Clean before installing – It’s very important to clean and/or degrease existing floors properly before installation to ensure proper adhesion of the new tiles.
- Cleaning post grout – After grouting, make sure to give your floors a good week or two to dry completely before mopping or cleaning.
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly – you can find my contact info here.