Why You Should Consider Adhesive Floor Tiles vs. Self-Stick Tiles

  • 01 of 03


    Tiling a Floor 112790382
    Tiling a Floor. Getty / Marius Gheorghe Barzu

    When it comes to methods of laying resilient tile, you can use either the self-adhesive variety, locking/floating luxury vinyl tile, or the type that requires the use of a separate floor tile adhesive.

    The "separate adhesive" type may sound daunting, but it's actually not all that hard to lay.  First, look at some of the downsides of the self-adhesive kind, especially in comparison to "separate adhesive" tiles.

    Adhesive vs. Self-Adhesive

    Self-adhesive tiles are good in some...MORE instances, but there is a very good reason why they haven't taken over the entire tile-laying industry:

    • Hard To Reposition:  Self-adhesive tiles are very sticky. You need to get your placement right because they are difficult to shift around. "Difficult" is putting it nicely; usually, they are impossible to move.  By contrast, floor tile adhesive has a long working time, usually up to a full day and night, and this allows for repositioning.
    • Sticking For Good vs. Curling Up:  Tiles adhered with floor tile adhesive usually will not come up by themselves. But self-adhesive tiles have a bad habit of curling up later on down the road.
    • Bad Subfloors vs. Perfect Subfloors:  Using separate adhesive allows you to stick tiles on surfaces that are less than perfect. For self-adhesive tiles, you pretty much need smooth, dry floors or you will have problems.

    Adhesive vs. Floating LVT

    I love luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank flooring because much of it is a tongue-and-groove, locking type.  But I have yet to find a locking mechanism that is "positive."  That is, when it's locked, it's locked.  

    Tile Adhesive Isn't To Be Feared

    Contrary to popular belief, the smell is not very strong, and it easily dissipates. You can buy latex-based, water-soluble floor adhesive for easy cleanup.

    Low Cost, High Coverage Rates

    While it depends on the product, you can figure about 180 to 400 square feet per gallon. Price depends on perspective, but it generally is not too expensive--around $10 to $14 per gallon.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Roberts 2057 VCT Adhesive: Clear Drying and Low Cost

    Roberts Vinyl Composition Tile Adhesive
    Roberts Vinyl Composition Tile Adhesive. Copyright/Courtesy Roberts

    Roberts is a Florida-based company that deals in all manner of flooring related products.


    Roberts Tile Adhesive is good for the non-pro, DIY tile installer because it has good grabbing capabilities, yet allows for some repositioning. This floor tile adhesive is designed specifically for vinyl composition tile.


    From clear to clear.

    In any floor tile adhesive, you'll want to look for clear-drying as a product feature because tile adhesive does tend to squeeze up through the seams....MORE Roberts goes on clear, dries clear.

    Tile adhesive should dry clear. But spreading clear is a different matter. Clear adhesive can be hard to see. So, adhesives that go on beige, but dry clear, are very helpful.

    Working Time

    24 hours


    One gallon covers about 180 to 200 square feet. 


    $11 per gallon

    Buy on Amazon - Roberts Vinyl Composition Tile Adhesive

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Henry Floor Adhesive: Long Working Time, Good On Bad Surfaces

    Henry Tile Floor Adhesive
    Henry Tile Floor Adhesive. Copyright/Courtesy W.W. Henry Co.

    W.W. Henry is a Texas-based company that has been in the flooring materials business for over 75 years.


    Henry Floor Tile Adhesive is made just for composition (VCT) or asphalt tile. Like most floor tile adhesives, it sticks well to unfriendly surfaces like concrete, bumpy tile, and existing resilient flooring.


    From beige to clear.

    This professional-grade floor tile adhesive starts out as a beige color for easier identification, then dries clear.

    Working Time

    24 hours.


    One gallon...MORE covers about 350 to 400 square feet. 


    $13.59 per gallon