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Concrete to vinyl in under 4 hours

A self-adhesive vinyl tile proved to be the easiest project in this couple’s garage makeover.

  • There's a new floor in town

    Self-adhesive vinyl flooring tile for garages has been available for only a couple of years, but it's already gaining converts. The couple shown installing tile on these pages was sold on the easy, mess-free application, price (about $3 a square foot), and good looks of the solid vinyl.

    The tiles have a pressure-sensitive adhesive (formulated for garages) on their backs, so you just peel off the thin protector film and press into place. No gooey, sticky, troweled-on adhesives or mortars necessary!

    Don't overlook two more benefits. First, the 24x24" tiles go down four times as quickly as 12x2" tiles (fewer joints to match up). And if you choose a checkerboard look, the pattern of alternating colors isn't as intense as with smaller tile.

    Cutting tiles proved to be the most time-consuming task. The couple realized they could have eliminated cuts on the front wall (where the garage door falls) by moving the centerline 6" toward the back.

  • Start with the bonding primer

    The day before laying down the tile, Zac rolls out a coat of Behr's Concrete Bonding Primer. The primer prevents the concrete from absorbing the adhesive. (See slide 10 for removing the stains.)

  • Chalk lines to find center

    8:00 am To mark the center of the floor, Zac snaps a chalk line across the length of the garage. A second chalk line (shown next slide) will mark the center of the other axis (side walls).

  • Work from the center out

    8:05 am After peeling off the release paper, Sarah carefully aligns the first tile with the centerpoint and the chalk lines. (Tile can be peeled up and repositioned during this stage.)

  • Keep your tiles square

    8:15 am While Sarah lines up the sixth tile, Zac uses a 24" carpenter's square to check the alignment of adjacent tiles. Still square and looking good!

  • Edge tiles may need to be trimmed

    8:45am With one quadrant of 24x24" tiles in place, Zac turns a tile over to mark the cutline on the white release paper for a partial tile along a side wall.

  • Marking the cutlines

    8:46 am Zac uses the carpenter's square to connect the marks. When flipped over, the cut edge will be against the wall, where it's least noticeable.

  • Score and snip

    8:47 a.m. After scoring the tile twice with a utility knife, Zac uses aviation snips to finish cutting through the tile. He trimmed about 6" from each tile along the side walls.

  • Roll out the air bubbles

    11:00am With all the tile in place, Zac rolls the floor to remove any remaining air bubbles. The 75-pound linoleum roller rented for $15 a day from a hardware store.

  • Prep work: No-scrub removal of oil stains

    Before applying the bonding primer, inspect your floor for stains. Spills such as latex paint won't be a problem. Oil? That's another story.

    The bonding primer won't seal stains from oil or gas (or any petroleum-based product). For this, you'll need to use an oil-fighting product designed for concrete, such as Pour-N-Restore. (We purchased ours at a hardware store. Or buy it through using the link below.)

    Squeeze Pour-N-Restore on oil stains and wait overnight as instructed. Presto! The gel-like product turns to powder after absorbing the oil. Broom away the residue, then roll out the bonding primer as directed.

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