Monday, January 21, 2008

Q&A time! More Sticky Tile Advice

We are still on Hiatus, but I got a question today that I think is worthy of a small update. A lady named Marie posted a comment on this post asking for help with her self-adhesive tile installation:

i had tile put down this summer 12x12 good tile he pull up all the old tile & cleaned the floor put down some wood then the self stick tile now every time i walk on it ,it sounds sticky.What can i do about it. THANK U MARIE

Marie, I'd have emailed you but you didn't leave an email address :)

It sounds as though your installer did not level the floor properly. Applying a new substrate is only part of the job - the substrate must be levelled and smoothed with a filling compound and allowed to cure, then sometimes re-levelled, before tiles are applied. This is even more important with larger or self-adhesive tiles, as they require a perfectly level surface to adhere properly.

The right application tools are very important. Having some way to press the tiles down, such as a roller, is crucial to bonding the tiles in place. If this is not done immediatley after the tiles are applied (usually after the entire floor has been laid), the tiles can release from the floor due to temperature fluctuations, and make a sticky noise when the floor is walked on. It is equally important not to walk on the new floor for the time recommended on the tile package, as walking on it may cause the adhesive to slip while it is curing.

Also, the quality of the self-adhesive tiles can significantly affect their sticking power - I've used expensive tiles and cheap ones, and universally had cheap tiles slip, peel and creep, even when thoroughly pressed down with a weighted roller. I've had best luck with the Armstrong brand of self-adhesive tiles, though the quality of tiles they produce is also affected by the price range and intended use. Some cheaper tiles will peel right up on a hot day, for example.

A slightly uneven surface is one of the reasons we chose small, ceramic tiles for our bathroom. The cost would have been approximately the same for inexpensive tiles (our ceramic tile was about 1.80 a square foot) + grout + substrate + leveling and filling compound vs quality self-adhesive tiles (generally about 3.00 or more a square foot) + substrate + leveling and filling compound.

On the positive side, it tends to be fairly inexpensive to pull up and replace self-adhesive tiles in order to correct insufficient floor leveling. Good luck!


  1. I've found that sticky tiles offer a short-term fix, but tend to "go bad" in about 3-4 years. I'm sure that "quality" sticky tiles last a bit longer, but as you said, you start getting up into the price of ceramic. If someone has the choice, clearly ceramic gives you the resale value. Sticky-tiles are something many homeowners are already considering replacing when they're looking to buy a house.

    Nice blog, BTW.

    One Project Closer - Updates Daily!

  2. If the PO's of my house had never heard of sticky tiles I would be a MUCH happpier person! I HATE them. HATE them. They are the cheap ones, of course... $.40 a sf, when I had to go buy 10 more to replace a few months ago. My dogs and toes find all the edges and pull them up. Plus, they look so CHEAP!

  3. Yes, I am all about sticky tiles as a temporary solution - but they will ALL be gone before I ever conider selling (or even renting) my house.

    I only resorted to them to cover some ugliness for a small amount of money until the greater project could be undertaken (in my case, and at my mom's house, a kitchen - as well as a bath at mom's, which is slated for removal when the porch restoration begins).

    FWIW, one of the reasons they are attractive as a sort of "makeup" over ugly things is their ease of removal. I know I can just scrape them off when I demo out the old lino in our kitchen (in the case of the 'backsplash', it's on top of godawful masonite "tileboard" and removal will be a snap), so the eventual demo is less intimidating.

  4. great ideas! thanks for the advice on the tile tips!

  5. One way to fix the problem is pull the tiles that have become un-stuck and lightly spray them with some 3m spray glue and also spray the floor where they go and then put them back down / press. Even if the floor is uneven this will work.


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