Bathroom Update: Luxury Vinyl Peel and Stick Groutable Tile Over Ceramic Tile

Bathroom progress:peel and stick groutable floors

Hi friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!! I know I promised that I’d keep you updated on changes at the Hosta House, but . . . life. We work a little more sporadically than most people (I imagine). We work a little here, and then a little there, and have yet to complete anything.  But the hubs and I sat down last week and decided we were going to tackle the 1st floor bathroom with a budget-friendly DIY makeover, and we promised that we would see it through to completion before starting anything else.  So we started with the floor!!!  Let’s get to it!

The 1st floor bathroom is a small full bathroom with a bazar sort of built-in tub/shower. While it had seen a small update within the past decade or so I believe, it needed quite a bit more love in my opinion.  Yes, that is actually dust on the sconce below (barf)

Bathroom Before

Since it’s such a small space and will mainly be used as a powder room, I didn’t want to go crazy with it, so we decided we’d update the walls with some vertical paneling and the floors with peel and stick luxury vinyl groutable tile.  (Scroll to the bottom for a quick video walk through).

Before: Wall panels and baseboards removed

So I shared a little about this tile on IG stories and received so many questions.  So I’m taking this opportunity to give you my honest to goodness, review of the product as well as some tips and tricks to make installation a breeze.

The tiles are by Style Selections from Lowe’s.  I actually almost put these tiles in our Victorian Bathroom out of desperation, but later realized they weren’t a great fit for that space.  But when it came to this bathroom, I realized it was a great opportunity to use them.  I love the style, the size and variation in color which makes them look a bit more real, and because I’ve used groutable tiles like this in the past (here), I knew exactly what to expect.

Disclaimer:  It is not recommended by the manufacturer to install these tiles over tile.  If you choose to do so please do so at your own discretion.  I have installed tiles like this 3 times, and every time I installed them over ceramic tile, and had no issues.

And disclaimer #2:  I was unable to get grout in the color I wanted charcoal) from any of the hardware stores near me, so my husband picked up Keracaulk, (sanded caulk by Mapei) and I was very skeptical.  But I decided to give it a try in a small area and ended up doing the entire floor 😆.  It worked, (with some shrinkage) but with patience you can do it too, but if you’re not in a jam like I was, I recommend using vinyl tile grout.

How to install groutable vinyl tiles over ceramic tile

 

Now for my vinyl tile installation tips (what you’re really here for): I won’t go into detailed instructions, because you can find that from the manufacturer.  What I want to share with you is my tips and tricks to make these tiles work best for you!

What you’ll need:

  • Luxury Vinyl Tiles
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Utility knife (with extra blades)
  • Spacers (I used 1/8′)
  • Sponge (I use a basic scrubber sponge)
  • Bucket or bowl for water
  • Vinyl Grout (but I used Keracaulk silicone sanded caulk)
  • Snips
  • Adhesive-optional (loctite, tile adhesive, or liquid nail)
  • Straight edge or speed square for guiding cuts
  • The manufacturer recommends a weighted roller for flooring-(I omitted this step)

Where to start laying your tile:

The manufacturer’s instructions give you pointers on how to find the center point, blah, blah, blah, I just eyeballed it and decided to start, I figured that anyway these tiles were put down would be an improvement so I wasn’t too fussy about it.  One thing to consider though, is the orientation of the tiles.  I could have put them so that the point of the hexagon leaded into the bathroom or the flat side of the hex leaded into the bathroom.  I found that the flat side would be a little easier.

Excuse the grime on this baseboard, this house has been abandoned for some time, and there’s just SO. MUCH. GRIME.   I wanted to share this image so you can see how the tiles are lined up with the threshold.

How to cut the tiles:

These tiles cut very easily.  Using a utility knife, and a straight edge, just scour the tile and snap! Easy peasy!

For detailed cuts I used a pair of snips.  I used my miter saw to make the first cuts to ensure they were straight.  The miter saw works well, but of course can be messy.  It was just easier for me to cut the tile perfectly in half to get a nice, straight starting point.  I started at the threshold and used it as my guide.  

Fitting the tiles in a tight/awkward space:

These peel and stick tiles come with a paper backing.  What I like to do when it comes to tricky cuts is use the backing as a template. Trim the excess paper down using your utility knife, then peel the paper carefully so it doesn’t rip.  I then place the template in the space (accounting for grout spaces) and then cut around pipes, the toilet, or awkward angles with my utility knife.  I then transfer that cut onto a tile, if you have a little scotch tape, it helps to keep the template in place as you trace and cut.

Spacers!

For the spacers, the size of the grout line you choose is up to you. I like a pretty thin grout line, So I went with 1/8 spacers 2 per side.

The tricky part of the peel and sticky:  Laying the Tile

Be sure to clean the floor very well.  Remove the paper backing and place the tile onto the floor, applying pressure.  Yes these tiles are peel and stick, but if you’ve read the reviews the number one complaint is that the adhesive isn’t strong enough. And it’s true they don’t adhere super well,  especially if your surface is less than smooth (as my tiles had some texture) but I managed to work around it, being careful not to walk on the tiles too much and keeping spacers in place.  Just takes a bit of finesse and lots of patience.

I received several comments after I had finished a good portion of the floor regarding customer reviews of the tiles on the website.  Many of the reviews mentioned the fact that the tiles don’t stick well.  So here are some workarounds:  you can use adhesives such as Loctite, liquid nail, actual tile adhesive or you can use a heat gun to activate the adhesive backing on the tiles.  I did try this on a few tiles that were particularly un-sticky and it worked fine, but I would use the adhesive sparingly.

Once all of your tiles are laid, you should allow them to sit over night.  There’s a very good chance that once you remove the spacers the tiles will still slide. So you’ll have to adjust them a few times.  

“Grouting” the Tiles

Because I used the caulk “grout,” this step will be a bit different if you go with a traditional grout.  The Keracaulk is silicone based, which means it is flexible, as opposed to grout, so once it dries, it hardens.  The Keracaulk takes 72 hours to dry—so again more finesse!

To use the Keracaulk, cut the tube at an angle, creating a small hole.  Slowly and carefully squeeze out a bead of caulk into to spaces, the more carefully you fill the lines, the less cleanup you’ll have.  Be sure to work in small sections, so the caulk/grout doesn’t dry.

  1. Using a wet, gloved finger, lightly smooth the caulk grout into the lines.
  2. Gently wipe the area with a scrubber sponge dipped in water.
  3. Change the water often and alternate between the sponge and scrubber side, rinsing often and until the tiles are clear.
  4. Let dry for 24 hours and then go back with a clean sponge and warm water to remove any leftover haze.

And those are my tips for installing this type of tile!!

A few people have asked how I feel about the Keracaulk as opposed to real grout, and to be honest, the end result is the same.  I do feel that the Keracaulk requires a bit more work to rinse clear, but overall not bad, as I was able to get my desired end look.

Now, would I recommend the tile?

Absolutely!  I think this option, although it can be a little tricky, is a great DIY update.  Otherwise, I would have had to demo the tile, install cement board, spread mortar, use a tile saw (which is messy in itself), it just would have been a lot more work, and a lot more mess–so I definitely recommend it, if you are in the same boat as me, and just want it done.  This is a much easier and less expensive option.

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18 Comments

  1. Abbie
    December 28, 2020 / 2:46 pm

    What did you do with the space where the original sink and cabinet were for a seamless transition?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      December 28, 2020 / 8:39 pm

      Hi Abbie! I filled that space with a piece of 5/8th plywood.

  2. Colleen
    December 30, 2020 / 12:10 pm

    Looks amazing! I love that bathroom, so moody and beautiful.

    • madebycarli
      Author
      January 3, 2021 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you Colleen! <3

  3. Elizabeth
    February 2, 2021 / 2:35 pm

    I have a very less than perfect sheet vinyl kitchen floor. Would this be something I could use without too much prep work? It’s a small 1950 kitchen in a temporary phase one state until we decide and make our permanent decision.

    • madebycarli
      Author
      February 17, 2021 / 9:02 am

      Hi Elizabeth! I think it would work fine on sheet vinyl. Just be sure that it is clean, and you may want to consider using an adhesive as well, like tile adhesive or liquid nail.

  4. Candie
    April 1, 2021 / 12:18 am

    It looks great! I have used the vinyl tiles in 3 rooms, one over ceramic tile, one over subflooring and one over old sheet linoleum with great success. I used extra adhesive everytime and grouted all of them. The only real issues I have had has been with grout. But I would suggest that over ceramic tile, you need to fill in the grooves where the grout is between the tiles to make all parts of the floor level. Over time the vinyl tiles will sink down into those grooves. We actually had that happen on the vinyl tiles we put over the subfloor where we had to replace part of the subfloor and there was a very slight difference in the floor. It hasnt affected the flooring except for a slight indention…not very noticeable. We filled in the grout lines over the ceramic floor and after several years all of the floors have held up great.

    • madebycarli
      Author
      April 2, 2021 / 3:20 am

      This happened in out kitchen years ago when we used it over ceramic tile, but the grout lines from the ceramic tile were pretty wide, which is why I think it became somewhat noticeable. But still a very huge improvement ☺️ Thanks for sharing Candie!

    • Katie
      July 22, 2021 / 10:14 pm

      This came out so great!! I’m considering this for my ceramic tile kitchen floor. How does it hold up with cleaning? I usually use a steam mop. Thanks!

      • madebycarli
        Author
        July 23, 2021 / 1:48 pm

        Hi Katie,

        Thanks so much! It holds up well. It’s a small bathroom that doesn’t get a lot of use. But so far it’s held up really well.

  5. Stacy
    April 10, 2021 / 9:25 am

    We’ve actually already purchased this exact tile and started to demo our existing ceramic tile today. Two tiles in we decided there has to be a better way! haha Our existing tile and grout looks to be a similar size to what you have under your hex tile. My question is have you noticed telegraphing of the ceramic tile grout lines coming through the vinyl or is it not noticeable? Thanks!

    • madebycarli
      Author
      April 12, 2021 / 5:05 am

      Hi Stacy! Not at all! I installed the same type of tile years ago (but square shaped, in a diamond layout) and I noticed it slightly, I think because the grout lines on the underlying floor were larger than normal, but I definitely haven’t noticed it in this bathroom. Good luck!!!

  6. HockeyGirl74
    April 12, 2021 / 9:42 pm

    This is a gorgeous, thrifty transformation! It’s so good it makes me want to do the same to my bathroom!😉

  7. Tina Parra
    April 18, 2021 / 8:38 am

    I want this same tile and can’t find it anywhere! Can you post a link to where I can buy it please?!

  8. MarshA
    April 28, 2021 / 2:09 pm

    I just bought up all the boxes at my Lowe’s. They cannot be shipped. Just look on site for locations that still have some. The guy at Lowe’s told me they are on clearance and he is not sure if they will be restocked. So just in case, you better get em’ now while you can!

  9. Kristen
    May 18, 2021 / 12:14 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing! No issues with the tile being too tall for the threshold?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      May 18, 2021 / 3:24 pm

      Hi Kristen! Nope ours cleared the threshold just fine 🙂

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