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, where when grout 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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57 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.

      • Jessica
        March 9, 2022 / 10:56 pm

        Can you feel the old tile underneath? Like feel where the old grout lines are or anything?

        • madebycarli
          Author
          March 10, 2022 / 7:35 am

          Hi Jessica, nope, not at all🙌🏾. However if it’s a concern—you could always fill the grout lines in before installing the tile.

          • Amy
            December 16, 2023 / 3:14 pm

            Hi! When you say “fill in the grout lines” of the old/existing tile, what do you recommend filling them in with? Thank you so much! This is gorgeous!

          • madebycarli
            Author
            December 18, 2023 / 7:09 pm

            thank you!! You can use a self leveler, to fill in the grout lines, but if its a small space I’d say its not really necessary.

  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!

      • Shannon Bennett
        August 29, 2021 / 4:04 pm

        Hi there! This looks AMAZING! Great job!!!

        I’m looking to do this over pre-existing tile as well. What would you suggest filling the old grout lines with to make it an even layer?

    • Amber Swann
      June 22, 2021 / 7:14 pm

      Candie- May I ask what you used to fill in the grout lines on the pre-existing floor?
      Carli- Do you know of anything that would work to fill in the grout on the existing tile? LOVE your bathroom by the way!! Good job!

        • Mary P
          November 22, 2022 / 6:58 am

          Did you consider painting the ceramic tile instead? Pros and cons? I am not crazy about the tile color in my bath so weighing options. Never thought of vinyl, it looks great!

          • madebycarli
            Author
            November 22, 2022 / 4:08 pm

            Hi Sandra,I did, however ai didn’t want to have to touch it up all the time and was hopi g for something durable. It’s held up really well goi nag in 2 years now☺️

    • 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.

    • Amanda Lottermoser
      November 1, 2023 / 6:41 am

      What did you use to fill the grout lines, Candie? Thanks!

      • madebycarli
        Author
        November 1, 2023 / 10:42 am

        Hello, I used sanded caulk.

  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!

    • Christine Nguyen
      January 11, 2022 / 6:13 pm

      Hi Marsha! Is there any chance you have any leftover tiles from your project? I used this exact same tile in my bathroom this weekend, but I’m short like 8 tiles because I miscalculated the number of tiles needed (I even bought an extra 10% buffer, but somehow it still wasn’t enough!). I’ve literally checked every Lowe’s in my area, and they’re all out of stock and telling me they’re discontinued. I’d love to buy any leftovers you have if you do have any! Please let me know if that’s the case!

  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 🙂

  10. Angie
    September 16, 2021 / 7:54 am

    Could I use this over my existing tile backsplash?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      September 16, 2021 / 8:19 am

      I haven’t seen it used on a wall, but I don’t see why not! I would use a tile adhesive on a kitchen backsplash just in case! Good luck!

  11. Lisa Ruble
    September 19, 2021 / 9:52 pm

    Do the underlying tile lines show through? Our did you level them off before overlaying to the new ones?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      September 21, 2021 / 6:48 pm

      Very, very slightly, it’s basically unnoticeable unless you know, if that makes sense.

  12. Britt
    October 6, 2021 / 1:11 am

    Did you have to seal them with anything? Have you seen any issues pop up from the water in your bathroom? I’m worried about putting something like this in my kitchen where it is exposed to water/spills and maybe bubbling or something over time. Or if my appliances have to be moved the vinyl gets scratched or something.

    • madebycarli
      Author
      January 11, 2022 / 9:31 pm

      Hi Britt, they’ve held up really well so far, but this is also a small bathroom, with average use. We have a shower in here and I haven’t noticed any issues with them bubbling or popping up——but I’ve heard that they are now discontinued😩.

  13. Shalla
    October 16, 2021 / 7:13 pm

    Hi there, this is beautiful and you have given such thorough directions….I have a question though! My floor is uneven…our house is very old and the owner before us installed a very thick type of expensive vinyl – ish product….BUT it has yellowed over the sections most travelled. So to replace we either have to have the floor evened out or this may be a solution…. It is not obviously uneven…just one section is slightly higher than the other. Do you think this could work!?!? I think it could. Also, this would be the kitchen….do you recommend just making the kitchen out of use for a few days and use the basement fridge and a portable microwave or something?!?! Or is it possible to walk on them in between?

  14. Beth
    November 17, 2021 / 12:11 pm

    Hi Carli! Looks amazing. Can you share the paint colour you used on the wall? Thank you.

    • madebycarli
      Author
      November 17, 2021 / 8:21 pm

      Hi Beth, thank you! It’s Graphic Charcoal by Behr 🙂

  15. Andrea DeCaro
    January 8, 2022 / 3:30 pm

    Can I ask where you got the spindle legged sink/vanity?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      January 8, 2022 / 8:07 pm

      Hi Andrea, it was actually a DIY. I made it with stair balusters and a wall mount sink😊

  16. Christine Nguyen
    January 11, 2022 / 6:14 pm

    I know this is a but of a stretch, but do you happened to still have any leftover tiles from that project? honestly if you do, I’d love to buy them from you! My fiance and I started this project (our first big house project) in our bathroom, and sadly realized that we’re literally like 7-10 tiles short of completing the project 😩. I called every Lowe’s in my area (even in the state lol sigh), and they’re all out of stock and discontinued 😭 So basically our only hope is finding someone who might have any spare tiles leftover😬 So if you have any to spare, please let me know! 🙏 And if not, thank you at least for hearing me out 😅

  17. Shelby
    May 18, 2022 / 4:36 pm

    This looks beautiful! I have been thinking about using these for my bathroom as well. I feel like the pictures on Lowe’s have a lot more color variation than what yours look like, which I love that they look more black in your space. Do you think that it’s just your lighting or are they really as gray in spots as Lowe’s portrays? TIA! 😊

  18. Diana
    June 10, 2022 / 1:12 pm

    Love the tile. Do you know if this can be used over existing vinyl tile?

  19. Susan
    September 30, 2022 / 12:05 am

    Can this be used over tile walls too?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      October 4, 2022 / 7:02 pm

      Hi Susan, unfortunately, I don’t think it is recommended for walls.

  20. Cindy Gul
    August 1, 2023 / 8:47 pm

    Hello Carli, I love how realistic caulkable vinyl looks, and yours looks perfect, love the color too! I’m in a rental and want to recreate this in my kitchen floor which is currently old ceramic. Since it’s a rental, I was wondering whether removing these caukable vinyls is just as possible as removing those peel and stick ones that don’t use caulk?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      August 2, 2023 / 5:16 pm

      Hi Cindy! Unfortunately, I have no experience removing caulkable vinyl tiles. I imagine the vinyl part is pretty easy to emove, but the grout/caulk might be a different issue.

  21. Leah
    September 21, 2023 / 12:48 pm

    Where can I find these tiles to purchase??

    • madebycarli
      Author
      September 24, 2023 / 2:15 pm

      Hi Leah, unfortunately, they’ve been discontinued.

  22. Char
    October 5, 2023 / 8:32 pm

    Wow I love it! So creative and budget friendly. Thank you for all your tips! I’m going to try this in my bathroom. I live the hexagon tile.

  23. Christina McCarroll
    October 19, 2023 / 10:09 pm

    Hi there! Such a beautiful remodel!!! Do you still love the product over time period? Any concerns? Thank you in advance!

    • madebycarli
      Author
      October 21, 2023 / 6:42 am

      Hi Christina, Thank you! yes, We still love them, the floors have held up really well-it’s a shame they’ve discontinued the product.

  24. Sylvia
    November 22, 2023 / 8:26 am

    Where did you get the lovely bathroom console sink ?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      November 24, 2023 / 7:03 pm

      Hi Silvia, thank you for your kind words, the sink was a DIY project.

  25. Lindsay Hanzlik
    February 20, 2024 / 11:25 pm

    So pretty! Can I ask why you went with a tile that still required caulking? Is it just more stable?

    Also, I’m considering doing this same approach for our large master bathroom. I’m wondering if it’ll hold up okay with water falling on it from baths and showers (not soaking or flooding of course haha). What has been your experience using the peel and stick vinyl outside of showers or baths?

    • madebycarli
      Author
      February 23, 2024 / 10:31 am

      Hi Lindsay. Thank you! I chose this tile because I wanted the look and feel of real tile without the headache of demoing the old tile. I’ve used this type of tile in a few different bathrooms, and in a kitchen and never had any issues 🙂

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