If you're planning to install peel-and-stick tile flooring in your home, you may be concerned about the lines where the tiles butt up against each other. This is where moisture can sometimes seep into the flooring under the tiles or where dirt and grime can accumulate, making it hard to keep the floor clean. Many tile manufacturers, therefore, often suggest sealing the seams. Even if the manufacturer of your tiles does not, it is something you should consider to avoid possible water damage.
You can seal peel-and-stick tiles by using a vinyl seam sealer kit.
Peel-and-stick tiles are generally inexpensive compared to other flooring materials, such as ceramic and wood. They are also easy to install for the average do-it-yourselfer.
Peel-and-stick tiles are typically made from vinyl. To adhere the tiles to the floor, the backing is peeled away to reveal the glue; then the tiles are pressed to the floor. Note that while peel-and-stick tiles are easy to install, they are usually difficult to remove.
Installing the Tiles
You can install peel-and-stick tiles right over a concrete or plywood underlayment. Sweep and clean the surface with a moist rag first; then fill in any cracks and holes with a patching compound. If the tile manufacturer recommends a layer of primer, prime the surfaces with the recommended primer. A clean and primed surface helps ensure better adhesion and a more watertight installation.
Plan out the tile arrangement by measuring and marking the floors with a pencil and straightedge or a chalk line to show where the rows of tiles should go. Remove the backing and start to lay the tiles on the lines and make sure that they all face the same direction. Tiles should be installed flush against each other.
Peel-and-Stick Tile Sealer
After rolling the newly tiled floor with a floor roller, you can seal the lines to prevent moisture from seeping in between the tiles where they meet one another. This may be an optional step, or the tile manufacturer may recommend it. To seal the seams, you will need a liquid seam sealer or a vinyl floor seam sealing kit, usually available where vinyl tiles are sold.
How to Seal
Clean the tiles and seams with a rag moistened with lacquer thinner or soapy water. Wipe the tiles with a wet rag and wait for the area to dry. Then squeeze a thin line of seam sealer, per the manufacturer's directions, along the seam lines and wipe away the excess sealer on the tiles with a clean rag or sponge.
You can also use seam sealer to repair small nicks or scratches in the tile by fusing them together. If your tile has larger gouges or burn marks, you'll have to remove the damaged area and install a replacement patch. If you're unable to find matching tile for the damaged area from a retailer, you may be able to lift an undamaged section from your existing floor that's in an inconspicuous area.
Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.