Vinyl Tile Tips (Removal Cost, Use Cement Board, Grout)


Vinyl tile offers a durable flooring solution to your home. However, over time, its exposure to foot traffic, cleaning agents, food and drink spillage will wear it out, requiring removal and replacement. Before removing your Vinyl tile, you should understand the cost implications for better planning.

So, how much does it cost to remove vinyl tile? Generally, it will cost you an average of $2000 to remove vinyl flooring. This cost falls between repairing and installing the floor, and professionals will give varying quotations depending on the materials and location. This cost may also increase or decrease depending on the area covered, time taken to remove, and whether the quotation includes disposal.

Repairing worn-out or damaged vinyl flooring is very difficult, making replacement the best solution. As such, you should be aware of the costs to ensure you don’t delay your home renovation process. I will help you understand these costs in the following section.

On average, it will cost you slightly above two thousand dollars to remove your vinyl tile. This cost will vary depending on your location, the area covered by the tile you want to remove, and whether the tradesperson will dispose of the waste. If you are unsure of the latter, you should always confirm lest you pay extra for them to clear the waste from your premises.

Unveiling hidden surprises like disposal costs will keep your remodeling budget at a minimum. This is why knowing the average prices in your area is ideal for you to make accurate estimations. If you have not removed vinyl flooring before, I will recommend that you hire professional contractors to do the job for you.

While sourcing for remodeling services, get at least three estimates before settling on one. Doing this is free and will give you a range to work with. While doing this, be open to price fluctuations, as these companies have different overhead and operation costs. From the quotations, budget with an extra 7-15%, as your home complexity or area may add to the cost.

The method of installing vinyl tiles greatly contributes to its high removal costs. To start with, the adhesive you use to glue down these tiles is difficult to remove mechanically unless with special tools and solutions. This explains why some people leave their old vinyl flooring intact and place a new covering on top.

While this solution may work, it is ideal if the covering you will put is laminate, carpet, or some other type of wood flooring. Placing new vinyl tile on an old installation is not advisable and will not last. Thus, for a structurally damaged floor, you should remove it before installing a new one on the level floor.

Given the complexity of removal, it is best to leave vinyl tile removal to professionals. It is also advisable to hire professionals if you installed your floor in the 1980s, as it may contain asbestos, which can be dangerous if released into the air.

Professionals know how to protect themselves against this dangerous compound, and you should hire them under such circumstances. Given the above chemical risk, the first step to safely remove vinyl tiles is contacting a consultant to test your floor.

They can come to your home or request a sample. If your floor contains asbestos, they will recommend an asbestos remover contractor who will use solvents or heat to remove the flooring.

As a DIY expert, you can handle the project yourself if the asbestos test is negative or hire a professional to do the job. You will need a special tool to scrape up the flooring and a special solvent to dissolve the solvent.

To protect yourself, wear a respirator or mask when working. With the above in mind, you will incur the cost of purchasing materials and take more time to do the job and hiring a contractor who will come equipped and take less time is sometimes ideal.

Will Vinyl Tile Stick To Cement Board?

The subfloor you lay your vinyl flooring on dictates its durability depending on how strong the bond will be. So, will vinyl tiles stick to cement boards?

If you want to lay vinyl tile over existing vinyl flooring with a plywood subfloor, you do not need to remove the vinyl flooring. Instead, you can apply a layer of cement backer board.  The cement backer board will provide a stable surface for you to place your tile.

Sticking your vinyl tile to a cement board rather than removing it saves you the difficulty in removal, given that the adhesive that holds it gets stronger with time. Also, if you installed your vinyl tiles before the 1980s, it likely contains asbestos fibers, and you cannot remove them unless through the help of professionals. Thus, if you desire a new floor, a backer board on top of the vinyl is ideal before tiling.

Since most vinyl tile floors are thin, they will provide support for the backer board and tile. You can also choose a ¼ inch backer board to resolve thickness issues. For this installation, start by cleaning the vinyl and removing grease or wax build-up that may affect the bond between the mortar and backer board.

If you are unsure of your vinyl tile origin, do not scrap it, as it could cause asbestos poisoning. Next, examine your vinyl tile for loose areas and screw this area to the subfloor. This step is vital as the backer board will be as secure as the vinyl underneath.

With the subfloor set, you can now layout your backer board to the vinyl floor to test the fit.  Once you establish the specific sizes, cut your cement backer board using a circular saw to fit your floor. While doing this, cover your eyes and wear dust protection.

You can always double-check the floor fitting as you do this to minimize waste. To install your backer boards onto the vinyl, spread a layer of mortar on vinyl, and using a trowel, evenly spread the mortar across the floor.

You can use the trowel’s edge to check that the mortar is in even depth.  Afterward, leave the mortar to dry for at least 24 hours and tape the board seams using fiberglass mesh tape. From here, you can install your vinyl tile over the backer board and old vinyl.

To install your vinyl tile, use a chalk line to mark reference lines at right angles near the center of the room, where you will have a joint in the tile. You can then spread your tiling adhesive on a few square feet where the two chalk lines intersect.

Place your first four tiles at this intersection, butt them together, then work your way out from the center to the walls. While doing this, spread more adhesive if necessary as you lay the tiles using the lines you marked with chalk lines as your guide. Using your vinyl cutter, cut the tiles accordingly to fit the spaces along the walls.

Do You Grout Vinyl Tile?

Grout bound tiles together after installation, preventing the edges from chipping or cracking. As such, it is both aesthetic and functional. You can use a colorant, latex additive, or sealant for this function, Read on as I clarify whether you should grout your vinyl tiles and the benefits and disadvantages of grouting.

If done correctly, grouting your vinyl tiles will make all the difference, giving your floor a sophisticated look. Grouting your vinyl tiles gives an authentic feel to your home, not to mention the extra protection against moisture damage to your flooring.

Groutable vinyl tile design mimics the appearance of ceramic tile but is lighter, thinner, easier to install, and affordable. Also, you can install this tile anywhere you can install the standard vinyl floor. It will also take you a few hours to install, making it a better option than ceramic tile.

Before discussing whether you should grout or not, it is worth understanding that grout is available in cement and epoxy versions. Cement is more porous, hence prone to cracking and staining, while the epoxy is stain and waterproof given its non-porous characteristics.

Depending on the foot traffic in your home or office, you will want to select a grout that will stand this stress, given that vinyl tile corners are very susceptible to lifting and peeling. However, talk to your flooring manufacturer for the best recommendation whenever you are unsure.

In addition to a suitable grout for your home, you should adopt a cleaning and maintenance schedule to ensure your floor’s durability. Among the cleaning practices you can follow include sweeping daily, cleaning spills and accidents immediately, mopping your vinyl tile once a week, and avoiding the use of harsh detergents on your floor. To effectively clean your floor, use grout-specific recommended cleaners, including a soft brush, vinegar solution, and a soft cloth.

Even if you are not a novice DIYer, you can grout your vinyl tile with just a few steps. Start by gathering the necessary materials, including a utility knife, tile spacers, Groutable vinyl tile, utility knife, straight edge, floor roller margin trowel, a bucket of water, spray bottle, and vinegar or ammonia-based cleaning agent.

Once you install your vinyl tile, you are ready to grout its seams and joints. Hence, start by removing the spacers you used to gap your vinyl tiles. Next, use your floor roller to press your vinyl tile on the floor for a firm hold. Loose tiles will cause your grout to crack, affecting durability.

Using a grout float, apply the grout to the joints. You should ensure you mix your grout properly in small amounts at a time. Also, you should work on small sections of your floor at a time for the best results.  The grout you choose should match your tiles since not all vinyl tiles are suitable for grouting. As such, you should talk to your manufacturer to give you tiles meant for grouted edges. 

When done grouting, wipe the excess grout and allow your tiles to dry. Using a sponge, wipe away residual grout to remove unwanted haze. Ideally, manufacturers recommend that you wait for about 24 hours before walking on your floors.

As earlier stated, grouting contributes to the sophisticated look of your area, enabling you to achieve the desired look at almost half the cost. This process also adds a layer of protection against water seepage to the subfloor, preventing damage from mold and mildew. If you apply correctly, you will benefit from durable and rigid vinyl tiles, especially in wet places such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms.

Compared to other flooring options, vinyl tiles are also easy to install, and you can grout them as soon as you install them before the mortar dries up. Cleaning and maintenance are also easy, using home-based cleaning agents, not to mention their comfort and durability. This flooring solution features a soft surface and will remain warm during the cold season, making it suitable for homeowners with pets and kids.

Finally, while vinyl tiles provide an affordable flooring solution to porcelain and stone, grouting may increase your overall costs, and you should factor this during the budgeting process to avoid surprises.

Also, you should be careful during installation, especially if you are doing it yourself. You should map your floor correctly before removing the self-adhesive backing on your tiles since after laying the tiles, it will be difficult to adjust, and your floor may end up looking unattractive.

Wrap Up

Removing vinyl flooring is a hassle, and you may need to hire a professional to do the job. This is especially true if your tiles test positive for asbestos or lack time. Therefore, the removal cost may be high but this will vary depending on your floor area, time taken, disposal, and the contractor.

At times, you may not want to remove the old vinyl tile due to logistic issues and laying it over cement is a possibility. In such cases, you can apply a cement backer board layer to provide a stable surface for your vinyl tiles.

Lastly, grouting will give your vinyl tiles a sophisticated look if done correctly. This process also adds extra protection against water penetration, contributing to your floor durability. Also, it will take a few hours to grout, achieving a look mimicking ceramic floors for an elegant home.

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