High traffic areas, like kitchens and bathrooms, tend to experience more wear and tear when it comes to flooring. Old flooring can start looking scuffed and discolored as it ages. Styles also change over time, meaning outdated design choices can date your kitchen and bathroom more than you’d like now. To bring back the original shine, and get a more modern look, it takes more than just another polish. You’ll need to replace the flooring.
How Vinyl Flooring Has Changed Over Time
Fortunately, there are so many new choices in vinyl flooring that replacing the floor can also dramatically upgrade the look of your space, even mimicking more expensive options like marble and wood. New vinyl flooring options are far easier to install, with peel and stick options, rather than laying out the adhesive, like in the past. They are also easier to maintain. Luxury vinyl flooring is made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which makes it more durable than vinyl floors using other materials. It is still flexible, even though it is far more durable, making it still easy to cut, while providing a long-lasting flooring option.
To Remove Old Flooring or Not
When you’re working in an old bathroom or kitchen, odds are there is already a vinyl or linoleum floor on it. The first decision you will need to make is whether to remove the old floor or not. In the past, you’d have to remove old flooring to install new flooring, and it can still be advisable in many cases. However, if the floor is level and smooth, without undue warping, there are specific products today that will allow you to put a vinyl floor over existing flooring.
Just be aware that if the old flooring is not in good shape, it will affect how smooth the new floor looks. In such cases, you may want to remove the old floor, which will mean also removing the adhesive on the bottom layer as well. There are adhesive removers that can soak through it to soften it, but it can still take some elbow grease to make sure it is all scraped out before you start new. What you’re aiming for is a very smooth level surface to use as the basis for your new floor, whether there is an old floor underneath it or not.
What Type of Look Do You Want?
If you’ve always wanted a marble or wood floor, but it was too far out of your price range, you’ll be happy to know that you can get pretty much the same look with vinyl flooring. The difference isn’t just in the cost, although that’s a major benefit. Wood-look-alikes in vinyl resist water far better than wood flooring, making them a good choice for the kitchen and bathroom. Here are a few choices you can make:
Wood Look-Alike Planks – You can get vinyl planks measuring 6” x 36” to mimic the layout of real wood flooring. They can come in rich colors, to simulate oak, spruce, and even mahogany. You lay then out like real wood planks, except they’re basically peel and stick. The planks are more expensive than tiles, for the same square footage, but the way they add to the illusion of a wood floor is unmatched because you lay them out and cut them like you would wood planks. That means, you can start on one end of the room and work your way to the other end, row by row.
Wood Look-A-Like Tiles – There are also 12” x 12” square tiles that have a wood design on them. They also come in different colors, even medium oak hardwood. You might have less work installing these since they are square, but you’ll also need to line them up really well to keep the illusion of planks going through the flooring design. Plus, you will start in the center of the room and work your way outwards.
Marble and Stone Look-A-Like Tiles – If you want an even more upscale look, you can opt for a dark or black marble design. The 12”x12” tiles mimic exactly the real shape of a marble tile, making the look very convincing. However, if you have a small kitchen or bathroom, it’s better to go with a light marble pattern so that the room doesn’t feel closed in. However, there are black faux stone tiles even have a textured effect that mimics the rough texture of real stone.
Prepping & Installing New Floor
Step #1: Prep the Floor
If you’re looking at removing an old floor, it can pay to have someone else come and tear it up and remove the old adhesive. They will even fill in uneven spaces, with wood filler, to make the floor level so that the new vinyl floor looks its best when laid out. This is the hardest part of laying a new vinyl floor, making sure to prep the floor surface correctly, and it makes a big difference. So, make sure it’s done right. Sweep the area and make sure it’s clean.
Step #2: Measure and Mark
You can get a ballpark square footage by measuring the length and width of your room with a tape measure, in inches, and multiplying it together. Then, divide that result by 12 to find out how many square feet you need to cover. While you are at it. Mark the center of the length and width to find the exact center of the floor where the two come together. Then, pencil out two guidelines across the floor to separate the floor in quadrants.
Step #3: Do a Dry Run
Buy enough tiles to cover the floor and also for potential mistakes. Then, lay them out, starting at the center point and going outwards WITHOUT removing the peel and stick. You will be able to see if the tile looks right by doing this dry run. It will also clue you in to if you’re short tiles. Cut cardboard templates for odd shapes along the wall and use a utility knife to cut the tile using the template as a guide. Adjust the design and tile placement for entrance ways where you should see at least half a tile.
Step #4: Go For It!
Once you have it laid out, it’s time to actually do the real thing. You will peel and stick, wiping excess adhesive off as you go along. Once it’s done, make sure it is as flat as possible, and let it set. You’re all done.