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Whether you’re undergoing a full-blown remodel or doing a quick DIY project, a fresh set of tiles can take your bathroom or kitchen’s ambiance to the next level. That said, with great tiles come great responsibility. Since there are so many materials, styles, and price points to choose from, finding the perfect tile for your space can feel a tad overwhelming.
But, if you’re looking for that sweet spot between elegance and affordability, vinyl tiles have you covered. Made with synthetic materials like fiberglass, vinyl tiles are not only water-resistant and low maintenance, but they’re also incredibly durable. (It’s no wonder why vinyl tiles are nicknamed resilient flooring.) Oh, and did we mention they’re budget-conscious, too?
When shopping for vinyl tiles, you’ll naturally want to take the aesthetics into consideration — a tile’s shape and pattern will sway your space’s overall style. But, you’ll also want to consider the size of your room. Depending on your square footage or layout, you’ll need to decide between sheet vinyl or individual tiles. Another thing to determine is the thickness and finishing of your vinyl tiles. To get you started, check out the best vinyl tiles currently on the market.
Best Overall Vinyl Tile: Armstrong Imperial Texture Standard Excelon Commercial Vinyl Tile
While many people choose vinyl tiles for their durability and flexibility, one attractive quality is the unique looks they can provide as well. Yes, you can find vinyl tiles in the same styles as hardwood and stone tiles, but the elegant, white style of the Armstrong Standard Excelon Imperial Texture set is a good example of how unique vinyl is. This is why the Armstrong Excelon is the top pick on this list: durability meets elegance with this set.
This set is known as a Vinyl Composition Tile, a popular and economical choice in many commercial builds known for a durable, easy-to-install surface. The color of the set is a neutral white with subtle patterns and grains that add some contrast in hue. Made of North American limestone, the tiles are all low VOC and eco-friendly. Each tile measures 12 x 12 inches and is 1/8 inch thick.
Best Budget Vinyl Tile: Chaucer Resilient Vinyl Tile
Vinyl tiles are a popular choice for people on a budget. Depending on the style and brand, you can find tile sets that rival some of the best budget carpet and hardwood options. To maximize the possible savings while getting a few different options for the look of your tiles, the Chaucer Resilient Vinyl Tile set is one of the most versatile and affordable tile sets around.
The tile set comes in a variety of looks ranging from traditional wood paneling to stone tiles. Regardless of the design, all the tiles are extremely durable and provide a high degree of moisture resistance due to their vinyl construction. Each tile measures 12 x 12 inches and goes on via an easy, peel-and-stick installation method that eliminates the need for grout or nails when laying them down.
Best Wood Vinyl Tile: TrafficMASTER Seashore Wood Peel and Stick Vinyl Tile Flooring
There is nothing quite like the look of hardwood floors to define the style of a space. True hardwood floors are durable but expensive. Even laminate options can test the budget depending on the brand. That is why vinyl tiles that have the same look and feel of wood paneling can be a great, more affordable alternative. These tile sets provide the same benefits as all vinyl tiling with the addition of mimicking the natural look of wood flooring.
The TrafficMASTER Seashore features a varied wooden texture that mimics the typical look of staggered hardwood flooring. Coming in neutral tones, this tile fits with a variety of interior decor styles. The pattern itself is repeating and seamless so you can lay the tiles any way you want without having to worry about the “big picture.” Each tile is 12 x 24 inch and comes with additional sound absorbing material for quiet walking.
Best Groutable Vinyl Tile: STAINMASTER Groutable White Waza Peel and Stick Luxury Vinyl Tile
Vinyl tiling has developed over the years to provide natural, authentic looking wood and stone surfaces. This has led to many people using vinyl tile sets to create the same style of tile flooring as real stone which requires grout. If you want to recreate this same style to convince others that your floors are the genuine thing, you need a groutable vinyl set like the STAINMASTER Groutable White Waza set.
Each tile has a neutral, white look with built-in grooves for grouting. Installation is simple using the easy peel-and-stick approach. Once the tile is set, you can scrape the grout over the surface just like real stone tiling. Wipe away the excess to have a solid, traditional stone tile look with the extra benefit of moisture resistance. The entire carton comes with 36 individual 12 x 12 inch tiles.
Best Tile-Specific Vinyl Set: Achim Home Furnishings Vinyl Tile, Spanish Rose
The look of classic vinyl may seem outdated, but it can create a unique style when done right. The key to the traditional vinyl look is moderation. In other words, avoid the outdated look by choosing a simple looking set like the Achim Home Furnishings FTVMA44620. When combined with more modern, up-to-date elements and furniture, this vinyl set will add that vinyl look to any bathroom or kitchen without screaming “old.”
This set brings back the traditional look of Spanish tile with the modern durability and moisture resistance of vinyl. Using a peel-and-stick method of installation, each tile back is fixed with a strong self-adhesive that binds directly to the subflooring underneath. The top of each tile sports a high gloss, Spanish rose design that blends well in traditional design styles. Measuring 12 x 12 inches, each set comes with 20 individual tiles.
Best Stone Vinyl Tile: Achim Home Furnishings Vinyl Tile, Geo Rustic Slate
Classic stone tiling is a staple of many kitchen, bathroom, and patio design styles. Real stone tiles are visually appealing but expensive and fragile if not treated properly. Moisture, in particular, can be a danger to stone tiling over time. Vinyl stone tiles like Achim Home Furnishings FTVGM32620 mimic the classic look of stone tiles without the complicated preparation or installation.
The FTVGM32620 creates a rustic stone look when everything is laid down. Coming in a variety of colors, each tile includes the same variation in hues and tones for a natural look. The front is seamless so you can lay each tile down in whatever position you wish for the best look. Installation is a simple peel-and-stick approach using a strong self-adhesive on the back. Each tile measures a standard 12 x 12 inch.
Best Marble Vinyl Tile: TrafficMASTER Carrara Marble Peel and Stick Vinyl Tile
Marble tiling has a special place in traditional interior design. Marble is a great choice for brightening up a space or making the classic Greek/Mediterranean design style work in your house. Unfortunately, real marble is also prohibitively expensive when you want to add this look to your flooring. Like other vinyl tiles, the TrafficMASTER Carrara set does a great job of replicating the natural grains of marble without the expensive price tag.
Coming in a white tone with natural-looking dark grain patterns, each tile measures 12x12 inches in length and width. Each tile various in color and pattern arrangement so the overall look won’t unnaturally repeat. You can install the tiles over most soundproofing and subfloors, including existing wood, vinyl, or concrete so you can lay down a new surface without having to remove the existing flooring.
What to Look For in Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl tiles might be known for their durability and easy-to-maintain upkeep, but they’re not created equal. Before you add a style to your cart, you’ll want to decide whether you should spring for a sheet vinyl or individual vinyl tiles. So, what’s the difference? We’re glad you asked:
· Vinyl Sheet: If you’re looking to deck out your bathroom floor in one fell swoop, vinyl sheets might be the most bang for your buck. Think of this category as a larger sheet of vinyl that’s designed to cover more square footage. Depending on the size of your room, you might only need one to two sheets to get the job done. But, while vinyl sheets might be the more economical decision — flooring company Parterre estimates it’ll cost $1 to $4 per square foot — it does have the reputation of being less durable and more difficult to repair.
· Vinyl Tiles: Unlike sheet vinyl — which covers way more ground per slab — you’ll need more vinyl tiles to fill your room’s floor. But, if you can look past their initial sticker shock — Parterre estimates these will set you back $2 to $5 per square foot — vinyl tiles come with plenty of perks. Since vinyl tiles are individually cut, you can buy as many as you need to fit your unique space. (Translation? This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a space that can be broken down into one or two slabs.) Not only are they more durable than their sheet counterparts, but vinyl tiles are reportedly easier to repair. In other words, you might save more time and money in the long run.
· Vinyl Planks: As you continue your tile search, you might stumble across “vinyl planks.” Typically, this refers to large portions of vinyl that best resemble planks of wood. So, if you’re looking to bring the tiled treatment into your space, you might want to stay away from the plank.
Tiles come in various shapes — and those vinyl models are no exception. Enhance your tile knowledge with a quick refresher on these top styles:
· Subway: As one of the most popular tile types around, this style is an oblong rectangle designed to mimic the New York city subway system.
· Hex: Just like you learned in geometry class, a hex tile has six sides — just like a hexagon — and can fit nicely together like a puzzle.
· Herringbone: Want to incorporate a pop of pattern in your flooring? Opt for herringbone tiles, which are comprised of a bunch of slim, oblong tiles that fit together to form a chevron.
· Penny: Sure, penny tiles might be as small as a coin; however, they create a gorgeous, textured flooring when pieced together.
· Square: For a classic style that can transcend time and trends, you can’t go wrong with a simple, symmetrical square.
And, once you find your desired shape, you’ll want to think long and hard about the specific pattern. From versatile solids, to elegant basketweave, to a fetching mosaic, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Wear Layer Finish
What makes vinyl tiles a resilient flooring? The magic lies in the wear layer, a film that lays on top of the tile to keep scuffs, dents, and stains to a minimum. According to the Home Depot, there are three types of wear layers: no-wax vinyl, urethane, and enhanced urethane. As a general rule of thumb, thicker the wear layer, the more durable your tiles your will be. So, while no-wax vinyl might be a budget-conscious option that stays shiny and combats stains, urethane wear layers are more resistant to scuffs and dents. But, if you really want to go the extra mile, enhanced urethane wear layers are the most durable and stay shiny the longest.
Before you add some vinyl tiles to your cart, it’s important to take a close look at its thickness. While the wear layer makes vinyl tiles ultra-durable, Jupps Floor Coverings argues a thicker tile can provide more stability and comfort as you walk across your room. Typically, tile thickness is measured in millimeters, and most vinyl tiles range from 2mm to over 8 mm thick. While thicker tiles are reserved for commercial spots, you might want to consider a sturdier set for high-trafficked spaces or homes with children and pets.
What Are Vinyl Tiles?
Vinyl tiles are made with 100 percent synthetic materials, specifically polyvinyl chloride plastic or PVC. In most cases, vinyl tiles have a fiberglass base and are then coated with a PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. From there, vinyl tiles are sandwiched with a few extra synthetic coats, including a wear layer that protects each tile from wear and tear.
Some vinyl tiles are finished with an eye-catching print, while composite vinyl tiles are decked out with a crushed stone dust to give them a more realistic effect.
How Do You Install Vinyl Tiles?
Most models have a click-and-lock installation method, which them pretty easy to install. To start, remove any trim molding so your tile flooring can seamlessly meet your walls. From there, make your subfloor (a.k.a. the floor below your tiles) is leveled. Concrete subfloor might need a concrete patcher, while plywood will require a floor-leveling compound.
Next, go ahead and place your tiles. Since many vinyl tiles have an adhesive back, they’re designed to stay put. To keep mistakes to a minimum, we recommend laying out your tiles beforehand. But, before you install your own vinyl tiles, read through your manufacturer’s instructions so you can get the job done right and in style.
We know what you’re thinking: what about vinyl sheets? In fact, this option is considerably more difficult to install. (After all, it can be difficult to maneuver this material in the first place.) When in doubt, you might want to enlist a professional.
How Do You Clean Vinyl Tiles?
Turns out, the secret to cleaning your vinyl tiles is already lurking in your home. To start, sweep any loose dirt with a vacuum or broom. From there, add a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water. (Not too many though; more suds equal more legwork.) Or, if you’re working with a very visible stain, apply a paste made with baking soda and water — and watch that stain fade away in a snap.
How Do You Remove Vinyl Tiles?
Want to trade in your vinyl tiles for a new pattern or style? Fortunately, removing vinyl tiles is a lot easier than you'd think . Once you've removed any perimeter trim, start from the middle and work your way outward. While some tiles can be easily peeled off your surface, glued-down parts might require a pry bar. But, if you're working with some sticky glue, use hairdryer to loosen up the adhesives and free your tiles once and for all.