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)
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).
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.
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)
- 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.
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.
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.
- Using a wet, gloved finger, lightly smooth the caulk grout into the lines.
- Gently wipe the area with a scrubber sponge dipped in water.
- Change the water often and alternate between the sponge and scrubber side, rinsing often and until the tiles are clear.
- 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.