The basement bathroom, which we started a few weeks back, is still very much in progress, but we’re making plenty of progress. We’ve put in a new sink, and now we have a floor! You’ll remember, the linoleum floor we had in the bathroom was the same blue, yellow and white flecked linoleum we had on the back stairs:
The floor was in bad shape, stained and cracked at the edges. The concrete floor underneath is very uneven, so to lay tile (which is what we preferred) would require leveling out the floor. Not that big of a project, but we started this bathroom remodel in an effort to get it done quickly, inexpensively, and as easily as possible. We looked into a few different options, like commercial vinyl tiles, but finally landed on peel and stick vinyl tiles for several reasons. First, they’re incredibly cheap. We got the ones we ended up with for only 49 cents apiece. At only about 24 square feet, we could totally cover the floor for under twelve bucks! Second, because it would be such a cheap investment, we thought this would be a great temporary fix, and if we wanted to upgrade to ceramic or stone tile in the future, it would be no great loss. So, we settled on black glossy peel and stick tiles from Armstrong.
Before installing, I used floor leveling compound to repair cracked edges and cleaned the surfaces well with TSP (available at any hardware store).
To install, all we had to do was find the center of the floor by measuring the length of opposing walls, marking the center, and using a carpenter’s square to draw lines to the center. There’s plenty of good how-to’s online for installing peel and stick tiles, so this won’t be too detailed. Suffice it to say, we found the center, squared off a grid from that, and aligned the first tile against the center mark. Then, we bordered each subsequent tile on the edge of the first centered tile. It’s really important to get the first tile perfectly square – the rest of the tiles depend on this one being right!
Because this is meant to be a temporary floor fix, we decided not to remove the toilet and installed the floor around it. The center tiles go on easily, but then when the tiles get close to the walls and fixtures (like the toilet), they have to be trimmed to fit. To do this, we created patterns out of thick paper. This paper was left over from Catherine’s classroom, and we cut it down to a 12″x12″ size – the same size as the self-adhesive tiles.
Then, we used the patterns to lay them down by the toilet (or wall or whatever the obstruction was), and traced around to create a pattern by which to trim the tile to fit.
After trimming the pattern down, we made sure again that it fit,
turned it upside down on the back of the tile, traced it, cut it down using industrial scissors, and laid the tile back down in place before peeling the backing off and sticking the tile to the floor.
Once all the trimmed tiles were put into place, we caulked around the toilet, walls and shower basin to cover the gaps between the trimmed tile and the object. To create a clean line, we used painters tape to make a clean border.
Then, we smeared caulk into the space and peeled the tape up before the caulking was dry. It’s important to pull the tape up while the caulk is still wet to create a clean line.
After only a couple of hours worth of work, we had a finished floor – all for about $12!
Only a few more projects, and we’ll be all done.