1) It’s not difficult to install yourself. It just takes patience and time.
2) There are no special tools required. We used simple tools like a hammer, pliers, wide drywall compound spatula (or even better, a wood chisel if you have an old one you won’t mind throwing out after the project is finished), tape measure, and a utility knife. A metal straight edge – 12-inches long – would also be beneficial.
3) After taking up the carpet and perimeter tack strips, if your place is like ours, you will find the old vinyl asbestos floor tiles that have a fake wood parquet finish. Start in one area and work across the room; getting started and finding a rhythm is the hard part. You will discover there’s a knack for getting the old flooring up. If you take the chisel and get under one corner of the tile, hit it just right with a hammer, the tiles will just pop right up. Once you get the knack of this, getting the old flooring up will go very quickly. Be sure to wear a dust mask because it will be a dirty operation.
4) Underneath the tile may be black mastic adhesive (if not, you're fortunate) . We did not remove this. I guess you could, but I wouldn’t know what you would use to remove it. The black stuff is sticky, so you may want to put down some protective paper in the adjoining rooms so you don’t track it through the rest of the house.
In the black mastic will be the residual grid outline of where the old tiles were. We used this to lay out the position of the new floor. It worked perfectly. We selected a vinyl tile that had the adhesive already on the back of the tile, protected with a paper backing. You just peel off the paper backing, lay the tile into position, and apply pressure.
5) **This is important: Acclimate the new tile to the room temperature by storing the product in the room where it will be installed a minimum of 24 hours before starting the installation. This is really important.**
6) Also, I bought a small tub of flooring adhesive because some of the tiles didn’t want to stick. I still have no clue as to why this happened, and not every floor tile was affected – maybe a half dozen or so. You won’t need
|2012: Our kids on the finished tile floor|
7) To cut the vinyl tile, use a sharp utility blade to score the face of the tile. There is no need to cut all the way through the tile. Gently bend the floor tile back and forth along the scored mark, and the tile should snap. You will master this very quickly. For tricky areas around door jambs, around the stair, etc. I used one of the paper backings to create a template. Using a pencil, I traced the outline on the paper backing, then cut it out with a pair of scissors. Test fit the template into position. Once the template was correct, I traced the outline onto the surface of the tile and then cut it out with the utility blade.
8) For the transitions to rooms with carpet, we bought pre-finished oak thresholds. They’re kind of expensive, but look really nice. You will need to drill holes for the anchoring screws; a masonry bit will be required because the concrete is so hard. Center the threshold in the opening and cut to fit. Using a pencil, locate the positions of the screw holds. Drill a pilot hole that is slightly larger than the screw, and then tap a plastic insert in place; the kind used for wall anchors to hang pictures are perfect for this. Gently tap the plastic anchor into the pilot hole with a hammer until flush with the concrete floor. Set the threshold into position, lining up the holes, and then gently ease the screw into the anchor being careful to not over tighten.
9) Once the flooring is installed, you will need to purchase new quarter round for the baseboards for a finished look.
10) I recall that the entire project took several weekends.