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Thread: Installing Subfloor for Vinyl Tile

  1. #1

    Question Installing Subfloor for Vinyl Tile

    I am laying a vinyl tile floor. The exisiting floor is plywood and uneven. I used leveling compound to get the floor as level as pos. Is it correct to
    1: use luan before laying the tile and
    2: I read I should not screw it into the joist since it is going onto the plywood-is this correct
    3: How often should I put screw? I was told every six inches and if this is correct, do I do it every six inches on the entire board?
    4: Should I leave an 1/8" between sheets for expansion?
    5: Is there anything else I need to know

    Lowe's told me to use tempered hardboard - now the floor is wavy and this is the second time I have to lay this floor - I do not want to do it a third time!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Best product to use is 4x4 sheets of multi-ply. This is 1/4" plywood that has no voids in the inner plies. Fasten according to directions with counter-sunk screws. The seams and screw depressions need to be filled with a filler that dries hard and doesn't shrink. Sand them smooth and you're good to go.

  3. #3

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    Gary,

    What would you recommend in the way of underlayment for a cement floor, and how would you go about nailing it in?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What are you putting on a cement floor? Wood, vinal, tile, engineered product? Does it need to be flattened? Makes a big difference how you approach it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5

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    Vinyl stick-on tile.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I don't think that will adhere really well to concrete. I'm no expert here, but what I have used in my own basement is Armstrong commercial tile and adhesive. Just like they use in stores. It's more expensive than the sticky backed vinyl, but it will stay down and last forever. It can be removed with heat if need be.

  7. #7

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    Actually, I already installed this floor, and it adhered to the concrete very well except around the toilet flange. There was a mound or "hump" there, and after I set the toilet, those couple of tiles on the mound tended to pull up and needed extra glue to keep them stuck.

    That's why I was wondering if I should have tried to nail down some sort of underlayment to insure an even surface. Or did I need to use some sort of self-leveling concrete product?

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    That mound or hump is why the tile didn't adhere. The floor should have been level. Actually smooth is probably a better adjective to use. Self leveling compound would have gotten the floor smooth for you, but since you used some additional adhesive, I think you should be OK. After all, the finished flooring that is under the toilet isn't for looks. The toilet rests on its base rim and the flange, so the space between the base rim and the outer edge of the flange serves no function except to fill the void so that moisture, leak or otherwise, can't collect there.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    it adhered to the concrete very well except around the toilet flange
    That's sort of like, it didn't stick well right?

    I like using sheet vinyl on concrete. It's much more pliable.

    If using wood over wood, many installers use ring shank nails.
    They tell me that scews will sometimes have heads that pop off.
    They dimple the plywood, and fill the holes, sand, and install.

    The better ones center the pattern to the room.
    Try not to put a pattern line near a wall.

  10. #10

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    They had a linoleum floor that I removed prior to installing the tile. She bought the self-stick tile, and that's what I used.

    BTW, in this old adobe house, none of the walls are straight, and she didn't want me to install any kind of baseboard or shoe molding to cover the rough edges. I used a vinyl tile cutter from QEP and just caulked around the entire perimeter of the room. It came out very well.

  11. #11

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    I've done a few sheet vinyl floors. I always use the presanded 1/4" plywood (make sure you use the sanded side up). I always secure it with 6d ring nails. Then roll on floor primer (I believe Armstrong was the brand I used last). It's sort of just like thinned out Elmer's Glue.

    Use floor leveler on any gaps (if using multiple boards) and make sure it is perfectly smooth. Also make sure you leave some space for expansion on the edges. Don't put it super tight against the walls or you will have issues later (floor could bow upwards because it expands).

    I have done 4 floors in my home like this and they have all been perfect for several years. Much better than previous flooring.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharky
    I've done a few sheet vinyl floors. I always use the presanded 1/4" plywood (make sure you use the sanded side up). I always secure it with 6d ring nails. Then roll on floor primer (I believe Armstrong was the brand I used last). It's sort of just like thinned out Elmer's Glue.

    Use floor leveler on any gaps (if using multiple boards) and make sure it is perfectly smooth. Also make sure you leave some space for expansion on the edges. Don't put it super tight against the walls or you will have issues later (floor could bow upwards because it expands).

    I have done 4 floors in my home like this and they have all been perfect for several years. Much better than previous flooring.
    How do you secure the plywood to a cement floor?

  13. #13

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    Ahh, a cement floor. I've never secured plywood to a cement floor personally. I've always attached it to a wood subfloor in upstairs rooms.

    You can attach vinyl directly to concrete. Just make sure you level it properly first.

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