Questions about flooring

I really want to change the flooring in my bathroom, but the budget doesn’t allow for that right now. Currently, the floor is sheet vinyl flooring. Two cheap solutions have come to mind and I’d like to know if there are problems with either or both of them. Now, I’m only looking for a quick n’ dirty solution, it doesn’t have to last more than a year or two.

  1. Paint the flooring with latex paint. I know it will wear, but the paint I spilled on similar flooring is wearing like iron. Remember it only has to last a year or two and I wouldn’t fuss about having to touch it up.

2.I can buy enough stick-on vinyl tiles to do the whole floor for $20. I would just stick them directly on the clean floor.

So, what am I missing here? Has anyone done anything similar? Does anyone have another idea for me? The sheet vinyl on the floor is in great shape, the color is just all wrong.

Go with option #2.
Latex paint won’t look good, and may not stick worth a damn.

I just did my bathroom with slate-look self-stick vinyl squares. It looks surprisingly nice. So far (6 months) it’s worn perfectly, although I recently noticed a bump caused by a nailhead that’s starting to protrude. If you go this way, make sure that the surface is a flat as you can get it. The whole job cost about $40, and took a long afternoon.

beowulff, did you stick the tiles onto the old flooring or pull that up and put the tiles down on the subfloor?

I tiled both the “WC” and the powder room. The powder room had carpet, which I ripped up. When I took out the carpet in the WC, there was ancient tile underneath. Since I didn’t like the idea of a “bump” at the transition between the two rooms, I decided to remove the tile. This was by far the hardest part - It was stuck down with black mastic, so I ended up using a heat gun, which softened the mastic, and let me pull up the tile. Actually only took about a half an hour. I then used a roller and rolled primer on top of the mastic, to provide a nice clean surface for the new tile. I also took the time to put some drywall screws in the floor to take care of some squeaks that were driving me crazy. The self-stick tile goes down really fast, but cutting irregular notches for door jambs, etc. can be a hassle. Hope this helps.

Less than a month ago, I laid self-stick tiles over an existing ugly sheet vinyl floor as a “temporary” quick fix until we can wrangle up the funds and initiative to move appliances and plumbing fixtures to do the whole area (kitchen, powder room and laundry room) as one contiguous expanse of ceramic or stone tile.

You do need to put a little thought to surface prep. Scrape off any lumps (blobs of jelly, paint spills, etc.) and watch for any curling areas at the edges. I trimmed off about a 1/2" strip that curled up at a doorway, and a similar width at a bad seam. The cut-out areas then need to be filled in with something unsurprisingly called “floor filler” - you pour/spread it into the low spots and it sets up pretty quickly.

Now, it’s time to give the old floor the best scrubbing it ever had. The surface needs to be completely clean - no dirt, grease or waxy buildup can remain - and completely dry, or the new floor will come loose.

Few other things about self stick tiles:

  1. The tip about getting your floor as clean and smooth as possible is IMPORTANT. The adhesive on the back of the tiles does not stick to dirt, oil, soap residue or other gunk. Any high spot, like a nail head, will prevent the tile from sticking around that area (The bump lifts the tile away from the base, like a tent pole. Low areas must also be filled.

  2. The adhesive is a “stick once” type. This means that if you have to reposition a tile, throw it away. Sure it still feels sticky on the back, but peeling it off ruined up to 80% of the adhesive strength.

  3. When all the tiles are down, roll them down with a heavy weight. A rolling pin with your body weight pressing down on it works nicely. Roll them once north south, and then east west.

  4. A great trick to nearly double the life of self stick tiles in wet areas (ie bathrooms) is to give them a coat of “No buff wax” like Mop and Glo. It gets into the cracks between the tiles and acts as a seal, keeping out water, foot oils, soap, and other stuff that will cause the tile adhesive to degrade.


Ahhh…peel & stick tiles…they’re basically crap. They’re only good for one thing–but that happens to be exactly the thing that you want to use them for. And for a quick’n’cheap fix in a small area where you don’t expect longevity, they’re great.

Lots of good advice here on preparing the area.

Choose the design carefully. Avoid bold designs and shiny finishes–they’ll end up looking really cheap. A more subtle design will look better, like the slate-look that beowulff mentions.

I looked into this about a month ago. Self-stick floor tiles run about $1-$1.50 per square foot.