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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Flooring Category: Vinyl Flooring

Improvement Project:

How to replace a vinyl tile.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Appropriate replacement tile

  • Latex tile adhesive

  • Putty knife/joint knife

  • Hair dryer

  • Tile adhesive notched trowel

  • Rubber mallet

  • Piece of wood block

  • Dampened cloth/rag

  • A piece of plywood that is exactly or is a bit bigger in size than the tile being replaced

  • Bricks for weights (around three or so)/weights



In the course of maintaining the floor tile scheme of your house, you may have to replace one or several tiles over time.  With a bit of sweat and effort, this can be done in no time.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with electrical devices, such as a hair dryer, that generate heat, make sure you take precautions.  When dealing with chemicals, such as those found in tile adhesives, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 

Replacing a vinyl tile can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Using a hair dryer as a heat source, warm up the tile (and the underlying adhesive) you intend to remove by aiming such a hair dryer at it, and continue to apply heat with the dryer until the tile that is to be removed has its adhesion to the floor consequently loosened, increasingly softens and becomes manageable to be removed with a joint knife, poking this knife underneath one of the tile corners to ultimately remove the whole tile.

  2. Upon gently removing the tile that needed to be removed, use the same joint knife to remove the adhesive remnants left behind from the removal of the subject tile; remove as much of the remnants as possible.  Be careful not to accidentally damage neighboring tiles in this adhesive-remnant-scraping process.

  1. Using a tile adhesive notched trowel, spread an even layer of new latex tile adhesive onto the ground that is exposed as a result of the removal of the previous, old tile, all for the preparation of the installation of a replacement tile over such a spread.

  2. For about two minutes or so, use the hair dryer to warm up the replacement tile before you install it in the place of the already removed tile.

Upon warming it up just a bit, carefully install the tile in the place of the already removed tile, over the newly spread tile adhesive, aligning one edge of the replacement tile with that of an already installed tile as you lower the replacement tile into place so that it ultimately it is squarely aligned on all sides as it sits in its permanent place.

  1. Next, to make sure the replacement tile is sitting properly on the ground, gently tap its surface down with a wood block that is hit with a rubber mallet.

  1. After you go over the surface of the replacement tile with the rubber-mallet tapping of a wood block, use a dampened cloth/rag to wipe off any excess tile adhesive that might have spewed out of the tile sides.

  2. For overnight, while the replacement tile cures/dries, place an appropriately sized piece of plywood over such a tile with weights (three or so bricks could be the weights) on top of the plywood in order to hold the plywood evenly over the tile surface.

  3. The next day, or after about 24 hours, remove the weights and plywood off of the surface of the newly installed replacement tile.

That's how to replace a vinyl tile with a new one.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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