How Do I Prepare Plywood For Vinyl Tiles?

Recently I received a question on a public forum about how to prepare plywood for vinyl tile:

Concerned reader asks:

So I’ve moved into a home that has wall to wall carpeting in every single room. That includes the kitchen and the bathroom. I was rather amazed and a little appalled that someone would do that on purpose. I pulled up the carpet in the bathroom, and there was vinyl tile underneath. It’s not the best stuff, but it’s not carpet, so there you go.

My problem is really the kitchen. As far as I can tell (I’ve only ripped up a pretty small corner so far) plywood is all that’s under the carpet. My thought is to rip the carpet up and apply self-stick vinyl tiles until I can either afford something better or until I move out. I’ve looked up a whole bunch of pages on laying vinyl tiles, but they all leave me a little bit leery of the plywood I’ve got to work with. Should I sand it before I lay the tiles? It looks like it’s in good shape, as the carpet installation was pretty recent. Do I need to put putty in all the little staple holes from the carpeting? I’m not finding a whole lot of info on this, so I’ve come here for help!


2659841176_750e7a7083Here is my response complete with what to be careful of:

If it’s actually bona fide plywood is down. . .not “OSB”, particle board or like that – yes, you can apply directly. When applying vinyl tile, you need to prime the floor first, either with an adhesive primer or a paint primer.

Basically you need to create a surface that the adhesive on the tile will be able to stick down to. Otherwise you could see the corners on the tiles lifting up. You can also go overkill and apply a vinyl tile adhesive down before applying peel and stick tiles, but make sure the correct type of glue is being used, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands.

If it is an OSB or particle board subfloor, you will need to put down a 1/4″ underlayment first and then install the vinyl over it.Using underlayment will add too much height to the floor, you can overcome the biggest hassle by checking your doors to make sure you have the clearance – you can always plane these down if need be. Now if ‘planing’ is not an option and/or subfloor is simply not happening, your only option might be a floating vinyl (pet friendly) flooring. Either sheet goods or plank form, can both be used.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!