2. Use a tool to pry the baseboards from the wall. I use a special, angled screwdriver with a claw tip, but a regular one will do in a pinch. I use a hammer to wedge it in, then push out the moulding. You just have to be careful not to damage your wall. That's why I like the angle of this tool, because I have more room for leverage. Some people want to save the baseboards to re-install, but I was tossing mine, so I didn't worry about them cracking, splintering, or breaking. Demolition is very satisfying.
3. Vacuum up all the detritus that ends up underneath your walls. Are you sad that I'm covering up this gorgeous linoleum?
The first step is to make sure the floor is clean and dry, no matter what you are laying the tile over. The vinyl tiles have adhesive backs, so you just stick them down, but if there's dirt or dust they won't stay down well.
It is important to map out how you will lay the tile before you start. It's nice to start with one tile in a corner, to make for less cutting, but that's not always the best idea. You need to make sure your last row of tiles isn't less than 4 inches or something (whatever the directions say). Here's an example. This is my bathroom, roughly. I actually laid these tiles out, without attaching them. The figure on the left shows that the last tile will need to be cut a little. The figure on the right shows that the last tile will be a little short. And rather than have a small tile, it is better to cut the tiles on both ends of the row.
Do you have this?
You need to do the same for the width and length of the room. If your walls are not square you can end up with rows of tile that don't align with the walls. This is a bigger issue when you are tiling a larger room. With vinyl tiles that just match up to each other in the seams you can start in the middle of the room if you want. You don't have that luxury with tongue and groove flooring like laminate.
And now comes the cutting:
It's pretty satisfying to lay down whole tiles and you cover the area very quickly. And you can do all the whole tiles first if you want. But at some point you will get to the edges and need to cut a tile to fit. Vinyl tiles can be cute with heavy scissors, a utility knife, etc. The scissors worked the best for me. But even with a small bathroom my hands were sore and almost blistered the next day from the cutting - it's hard work! Straight line cuts are pretty easy. I used a measuring tape, a dry erase marker, and a straight edge. You can just measure the area you need to fill, mark it on the tile, and cut.
The official method of cutting tiles (of any material) is as follows:
* Lay a loose tile directly over the last tile in the row
* Lay another loose tile flat against the wall/bathtub/flat edge, overlapping the first loose tile
* Draw/cut along the line where the two loose tiles meet
The hardest part of laying tile comes when you need to cut for irregular objects. For bathrooms the round toilet base can be tricky. Vinyl tiles have an advantage over other tiles because you can do a curved cut. I will tell you how I fit these tiles, but I'm sure there are better ways. I was glad my tiles were only $1 each because I did start over a couple times.
I cut the tile down to roughly the correct size if necessary, then cut out the curved shape I needed. I totally free handed it, drawing the shape as shown, and then cutting in down again and again until it fit well. This is why my cutting hand was sore. Does anyone know a better way than this? It was labor intensive, but it worked for me since there were only a few tiles to cut this way.
When you finish all the tile, you can choose to caulk the edge in some spots. I caulked along the tub and around the base of the toilet. i just bought white bathroom caulk and followed the instructions roughly, although I use my fingers to smooth.
Here's a shot of the finished product. The new baseboard against the right wall was just laid in place to see how it would look. Watch for my upcoming post on installing baseboards! It's already half-way written.
Please check out my other Do It Herself projects. I'm very proud of them!