Up until about a month ago I had carpet in my bedroom and I HATED IT. Between allergies, constant city dust, and senior dogs, having carpet just wasn’t right for our lifestyle. I rent and didn’t think changing the floors would ever be an option, but when it was time to renew our lease and our manager offered to replace or clean our carpet, I seized the opportunity to ask if we could replace the floors at our own expense instead. They surprisingly agreed to my request and gave me the freedom to pick the flooring option of my choice.
I knew whatever option I chose wouldn’t match the rest of the apartment anyway, so I decided to give in to my desire for white floors. I did some research and the easiest and most cost effective of our options seemed to be VCT (vinyl composite tile). Plus, I’m always down for a mid-century vibe and you can’t get anymore mid-century than vinyl tiles.
I ordered a bunch of samples and ended up choosing Armstrong’s Carnival White , an off-white color with multicolored specks priced at $0.91 per square foot. It’s really cute and has the vintage speckled look I was going for, but was the most cost effective for me as well. Since I rent I didn’t want to invest too much, if you get what I mean.
This was my first time installing VCT tiles so I’m no expert, but I can tell you that there are some very good and thorough tutorials on YouTube that can explain the techniques you need better than I can through pictures. If you’re planning on doing this project I highly recommend watching several of them.
Luckily my room is pretty much a square so there wasn’t many complicated cuts and I was able to finish the room within a day, by myself, spending less than $300 total.
Here’s a terrible picture of what I started with. As you can see the dark beige carpet and old pink paint absorbed most of the light in the room. The first thing I had to do was remove the old carpet. That was a lot easier than expected and I was able to do it all in one piece. After that I pried up the tack strips and used pliers to remove any stray staples in the floor.
Then we took the opportunity to paint the walls a nice high reflective white .
After the walls were done I got started on the floor. I used a chalk reel to mark the center points of the room where I would begin laying tiles.
Next I dry laid some tiles to make sure they would be even and to decide on which way I wanted the speckled pattern to run. A lot of of the time the tile is installed with an alternating pattern but I decided to run mine all in one direction for a seamless look.
Then I had to use a small notch tile trowel to apply adhesive to the floor. I want to note that this took longer than expected to dry, and didn’t dry clear like the container said it would. I let it dry for SEVERAL hours until it was tacky and a dark amber color. If you start laying the tiles too soon they’ll slide around and make you regret everything. Also, wearing knee pads will save your life.
At this point my dog decided to get around my barricade and lay directly in the glue, promptly getting stuck and full of the stickiest glue that no dog shampoo on earth could remove. After throwing him in a bath to soak and cutting his hair, I was able to continue onto actually laying the tile.
I didn’t get pics of that process because I had to move fast, but I started from the middle line and worked my way out. Once I got to the edges I used a utility knife to cut the edge tiles to size. YouTube will explain all that to you in better visual detail.
As you can see there were some small gaps between the tile and the wall. You can put a piece of trim around there to finish it off or you can use caulking to fill it in like I did.
For the threshold I simply used a piece of flat molding and wedged it in the door frame. Simple and sleek. I let the tile set for about a day and then mopped it and applied four coats of floor polish with a microfiber mop.
What a difference! My room feels so much cooler, fresher, and brighter! I only wish I had done this sooner. Here’s how it looks furnished. Much better than before!
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