RENEWING VINYL TILES
Vinyl tiles are a popular choice for the kitchen because they are both hard-wearing and easily cleaned. However, they can be damaged by a careless cigarette end, and over a period of time they will show signs of wear. This happens particularly in areas that come in for a lot of heavy traffic, such as in front of the sink, fridge or cooker.
If accidental damage or wear occurs, there is no need to relay the whole floor; you can simply replace the tile or tiles involved.
1. Start by cutting the damaged tile diagonally in both directions with a trimming knife.
2. Next, remove the tile piece by piece using an old wood chisel.
Work from the centre outwards. Taking care not to damage any of the surrounding tiles.
3. If you find it difficult to remove the tile, you can apply heat to melt the adhesive. An electric iron is ideal for this, as you can concentrate the heat on a very small area. But put down a sheet of thick brown paper over the tile to prevent marking the base of the iron. Over a large area the professionals use a blowlamp, but care must be taken not to damage the surrounding tiles. And if you are dealing with contact adhesive there is a severe risk of fire as it is highly inflammable.
If the tile was originally stuck down with mastic, it is best to heat just enough of it to allow you to get the edge of the chisel underneath. If you then prise the tile up, the old mastic should lift with the tile.
4. Once the tile is up, scrape any remaining adhesive or mastic off the floor with a scraper knife, taking care not to damage the base surface.
If you have to relay several tiles, mark out an area one tile beyond the worn tiles in all directions. By relaying slightly beyond the worn area, there will be less risk of the new tiles standing proud of the rest of the surrounding tiles.
Removing the old tiles should not prove too difficult, though you may run into problems if they were originally stuck down with an overgenerous layer of mastic.
5. When laying the new tiles, take care that any pattern runs in the right direction.
Use either mastic or contact adhesive to stick the tiles down, as recommended by the makers. If you are using a contact adhesive to hold the new tile in place, spread a thin layer on the back of the new tile and also on the surface of the floor. When the adhesive is touch dry, place the tile in position.
If using mastic, do not apply it too thickly: this can cause a lumpy surface or the mastic may ooze up around the edges of the tile, giving you the problem of cleaning it off.
The edges of the new tiles may stand slightly proud, but if you fear this is going to happen, you can take steps to eliminate the problem before you lay the new tiles. All you need to do is to chamfer the edge.
Choose the tiles which you are going to lay around the perimeter of the worn area and decide which edge of each tile is going to abut the edges of the old tiles. Make sure they are lying in the same direction as the rest of the pattern.
Turn these tiles upside down and rub down the appropriate edge with fine glasspaper. When you eventually lay the tiles, if you place weights around the edges of the newly laid area, the tiles should bed down to fit in with the surrounding surface.
If, after you have laid the tile, it still stands proud, lay a weight over the proud edge and leave for a time. This will help the new tile settle in line with the surrounding old ones.