Before engineered wood burst onto the scene or bamboo became popular, vinyl tile was the go-to option for many homeowners on a budget. While available in many forms, peel and stick vinyl is by far the easiest to install if you plan to handle the installation yourself.
That’s far from the only advantage this style of flooring brings to the table, however, and our guide will break things down to help you decide if it’s the right type of flooring for your home.
The Pros and Cons of Peel and Stick Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring comes in several different forms, although peel and stick tile remains a favorite for a variety of reasons. If you’ve never used this style of tile before, here are the positives and negatives…
Peel and Stick Vinyl Pros
Looking for flooring that’s affordable and easy to install? Well, peel and stick vinyl fits the bill considering you can cover an entire floor in under an hour or less depending on its size. Even the most luxurious peel and stick vinyl are considerably cheaper than most other styles of flooring as well.
If you want floors that look like wood or stone, that’s an option with vinyl tile. There are thousands of options between patterned, colored, and wood that resemble natural materials, and it’s not as cold underfoot as tile. Vinyl tiles are also water-resistant to a degree and can be easy to replace if damaged more often than not.
Unlike hardwood or ceramic tile, you won’t need special tools to work with peel and stick vinyl. A razor knife is capable of making any cuts you need, and there’s virtually no mess to deal with. We also like the fact you can lay vinyl tile over another style of flooring provided it’s been properly prepped.
Peel and Stick Vinyl Cons
One reason luxury vinyl tile and engineered products are so popular is the fact they are more realistic than vinyl tile. Regardless of the texture or techniques, you won’t be fooled when comparing vinyl stone or wood tiles against the real thing.
The ability to remove tiles is a perk, but only it’s easy to do which isn’t always the case with cheaper tiles. On that note, peel and stick vinyl tile flooring is not going to increase the resale value of your home. In fact, it could cause issues with potential buyers down the line.
Peel and Stick Vinyl Floor Tile Buying Guide
You don’t need to have a degree in engineered or be an expert in flooring to pick out peel and stick vinyl thanks to their simplistic nature. You do need to be aware of a few key areas however including variants and wear layers.
Types of Peel and Stick Vinyl Floor Tile
Unless you are a flooring aficionado, you may not be aware that there are several types of peel and stick vinyl. Most tiles are simply deemed “peel and stick” and are made from vinyl with no designation. That said, here are a few alternatives you should be aware of.
A VCT or vinyl composition tile is just like a regular peel and stick vinyl tile but with an extra measure of toughness. They are still affordable, easy replace, and a breeze to install. If you want something even tougher, a VET tile may be better suited to your needs. The E in VET stands for enhanced, as these tiles tougher with better abrasion resistance. They can be harder to find or could be lumped in with VCT tiles depending on where you shop.
The next step up from a durability and quality standpoint, would be solid vinyl tiles, which carry the abbreviation SVT. Usually found in the commercial class, these tiles don’t have the same range of colors or styles as a VCT tile, but require less maintenance. They are ideal for high-traffic areas, although not budget-friendly compared to their composite brethren.
The only other thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to types of vinyl tiles are the edges. You don’t get a choice of profiles like you’ll find with traditional tile, but you can choose groutable vinyl tile flooring that mimics stone. This specialty tile adds an extra layer of realism to your flooring but is just as easy to install.
Vinyl Tile Styles
After you decide on the type of peel and stick vinyl tile you like, it’s time to start thinking about style. Considering how wildly people’s tastes can vary, we’re not going to spend much time here. There is a color or pattern for almost everyone, including consumers that long for hardwood floors.
Wood look tile is one of the hottest trends around and something easy to find. Aside from parquet or planks, they are not nearly as realistic as stone which tends to be the top seller and looks amazing with grout. Colors can range from a wintery White to Raspberry, Yellow, or any other shade you can imagine if you look hard enough.
As mentioned, this type of vinyl tile can be easy to remove and replace if you change your mind. While that gives you more freedom than you’ll find with permanent types of flooring, you still need to consider your décor and furnishings carefully beforehand.
Whether you choose marble tiles that look like they belong in ancient Greece or a textured tile for your bathroom floor tile, the wear layer is critical. This is the only thing that stands between that lovely pattern you picked out and structural failure, and it varies just as wildly as you’d expect.
In our experience, 90% of peel and stick vinyl floor tile are either 12” x 12” or 16” x 16”. The most popular styles are found in 4-inch increments as well, so 20” and 14” tiles are popular as well. With that in mind, there are some oddly shaped variants which vary depending on the brand, series, and style.
Vinyl tile thickness is measured in millimeters, even if it’s not listed that way on some tile sites. Thicker tiles are usually better, but you generally won’t find many tiles in the peel and stick class beyond 6mm. Those are somewhat rare, whereas 4mm tiles are suitable for most consumers’ needs.
Vinyl peel and stick tiles may be cheap, but quality products should still come with a solid warranty. How long that warranty is depends on the grade of flooring, and you may be surprised by the lengths offered by some manufacturers.
While there is no average, TrafficMaster has groutable and regular tiles with limited-limited lifetime guarantees. Armstrong, on the other hand, has a tiered warranty system at 5 and 10 years along with lines sporting a limited lifetime warranty. With less-known or cheaper brands, you can expect 5 years at a minimum and 10 years if you’re lucky.
Vinyl Peel Cost and Installation
Like most flooring products, vinyl peel and stick tiles are priced by the square foot and sold by the piece or case. While affordable, prices can range between $0.20 to well over $2.50 per square foot. On average, you can expect to pay around $0.60 to $1.20 for most styles and patterns.
Normally this is where would give you a breakdown on the pros and cons of installing peel and stick vinyl floor yourself. Well, this is one occasion where you may be able to leave the pros alone, considering how easy this form of tile is to install.
A case of vinyl tile isn’t hard to move, and you shouldn’t need any tools aside from a utility knife. If you choose groutable tile, you will need to purchases sponges, a bucket, trowel, and some mix but those are all inexpensive.
Keep in mind, peel and stick vinyl is only easy to install if your subfloor is sound. You may have to do some prep work, and if you’re removing carpeting or working with an uneven surface, you may want to use our tool to find quotes on contractors in your area.
The Best Peel and Stick Vinyl Brands
Due to the surge in popularity with floating tiles and luxury vinyl planks, there aren’t as many companies making peel and stick tiles as there were a decade ago. With that in mind, here are a few of the top brands currently available.
Armstrong is a leader in flooring, so it comes as no surprise they excel in peel and stick vinyl floor tiles as well. They have more styles and sizes available than most brands, and you won’t have a problem finding their products locally or online.
If you like the look of classic tile, you’ll appreciate Armstrong’s products. While they don’t have too many irregular sizes, there are a wealth square tiles with low, medium, and high gloss finishes. The company’s tiles are represented in collections although most fall under the stone, wood or decorative categories.
Another advantage of Armstrong is their pricing. It’s very reasonable with prices starting at around $0.75 and topping out at close to $2.00 per square foot for their premium designs. They also have a small, but solid lineup of groutable tiles. You can find Armstrong peel and stick vinyl tiles at local flooring stores along with big-box retailers like Lowes and Home Depot.
The Trafficmaster brand falls under Shaw’s umbrella, another company that specializes in flooring for residential and commercial use. They have just as many styles available as Armstrong but in different styles and varied sizes.
Trafficmaster has a variety of tile that range from industrial stone to wood look and solid colors. Their square tiles are sized 12” x 12” or 18” x 18,” but they also have a 12” x 24” rectangular tiles. While they aren’t many patterns to choose from, they have some of the best color options and some interesting hues like Oxidized Metal as well.
Trafficmaster is sold through Home Depot, but you can occasionally find it for sale by 3rd party sellers on sites like Walmart and Amazon as well. Pricing is in-line with Armstrong, but Trafficmaster’s premium lineup is more expensive at close to $3.00 per square foot. They also have a better warranties across the board.
WallPops is relatively new to the world of peel and stick tiles, but they’ve made a big impact in a short amount of time and have received stellar reviews. The company’s tile is also unique as you won’t find any solid colors or wood look tile – just an array of slick patterns.
Whether you prefer something with a classic vibe like Comet or truly different like Noleby, Wall Pops! has a style for you. That includes colorful patterns that resemble china or pool tile along with more subtle monotone tiles. Their tiles are not groutable and only come in 12” x 12” sizes, but you won’t find this style of peel and stick anywhere else.
WallPops! are designed for consumers looking for vinyl with modern designs, and in the middle of the pack in regards to pricing at $1.53 per square foot. You can purchase these tiles directly or through online retailers, including Wayfair and Amazon.