Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
If you are looking for a wall or flooring type to revamp your home on a budget, look no further than peel and stick tiles or self-adhesive vinyl tiles. These are resistant, durable, and easy-to-care tiles that can be installed anywhere in the house, including kitchens and bathrooms. We know that they can withstand some spillages, but are they really waterproof?
Peel and stick tiles are waterproof, as they’re made of multi-layer vinyl that makes them water and moisture-resistant in humid environments. But if water is left on them, it can penetrate the gaps and damage the wall or subfloor. Avoid this by covering the tiles with a sealant or clean up any spillage.
Peel and stick tiles represent an excellent option for anybody who wants the beautiful design of tiles without going through the time and effort-consuming installation process. Here’s all you need to know to protect the tiles from daily wear.
What Are Peel and Stick Tiles?
Peel and stick tiles are a stylish, yet inexpensive, way to upgrade your home at a fraction of the cost of other tiles. Also known as self-adhesive vinyl tiles, they are a thin, layered material that can be fitted on walls, backsplashes, and floors.
They come in a wide range of designs and patterns, just like regular tiles would, and in terms of quality and durability, they largely depend on the quality and price of the tiles.
They have become an increasingly popular option among homeowners who want to revamp their homes on a budget. However, peel and stick tiles are suitable for rental places because they are easy to install, remove, and replace without replacing the subfloor.
What Are Peel and Stick Tiles Made From?
Peel and stick tiles are a type of vinyl flooring made of several layers of vinyl, also known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Other compounds are added to these layers of material to increase the tiles’ durability, hardness, and flexibility.
If you have opted for tiles that look like stone or wooden materials, you might also find that the material used is enriched with mineral particles to give the tiles the right natural-looking texture.
Depending on the quality of tiles used, you might find that luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) is sometimes used. This type of flooring is relatively new, and, unlike regular vinyl, it boasts a harder, more flexible backing that allows it to be semi-rigid.
Do Peel and Stick Tiles Stay Waterproof?
One of the reasons that make peel and stick tiles so attractive is that you can use them anywhere around the house. Depending on the types of tiles you choose, your floors should stay waterproof for many years.
Generally, higher-quality tiles are resistant to moisture that can repel water, which means that you can set them up in humid locations, such as the bathroom or kitchen. Self-adhesive vinyl tiles can also withstand spills and outdoor moisture that is tracked in from shoes and boots. However, it is important not to leave water on them for long durations.
Peel and stick tiles don’t require grout for installation, which is why this type of flooring is so appealing, but this lack of grout creates a gap between the tiles. Due to these gaps, water can seep through the flooring and damage the subfloor.
To prevent this, there are three simple options:
- Clean up any spills as soon as you notice them to keep water from reaching the subfloor.
- Cover the tiles with a sealant to prevent water from running through the gaps between the tiles.
- Add an ideal underlayment between the tiles and the subfloor to protect them from water infiltration.
Where Can You Use Peel and Stick Tiles?
Most peel and stick tiles have a degree of water and moisture resistance. Depending on your peel and stick tiles’ quality, you could apply them in the rooms in the house with the highest humidity levels, including flooring, backsplash, and walls in the shower, kitchen, or bathroom.
Check the manual that comes with your tiles and speak to an expert, especially if you want to position them in a high-humidity area.
Installing Peel and Stick Tiles: What You Need To Know
If you want to create a water-resistant floor, you should understand how to install the tiles to obtain the best results. Generally, the adhesive on these tiles is strong enough for you to stick them directly on most underlayments.
Alternatively, you can stick the self-adhesive tiles directly onto a smooth, clean floor, which some homeowners opt to do, once the floor has been adequately prepared.
The adhesive on peel and stick tiles are usually strong enough so you can’t adjust the tiles once they are stuck onto the floor. You’ll need to plan, get them ready, and keep a steady hand throughout the process. Lay the tiles out in the pattern you want before removing the backing, so that all you need to do is remove the backing on only the tile you’re working with.
If you notice that your peel and stick tiles start to become loose over time, it could be that the floor underneath is grainy, dusty, or uneven. If you want them to last longer, you might consider investing in a suitable underlayment that allows you to enjoy a clean and smooth surface for your tiles.
You can find out more about installing peel and stick tiles in the video below:
Benefits of Peel and Stick Tiles
Many reasons have made peel and stick tiles so popular. Here are some of the benefits to consider:
- They are inexpensive, especially compared to standard tiles, and at an average price of $15 per square meter, these tiles don’t require installation or maintenance.
- They are durable and resistant to wear and tear.
- They are easy to install, with or without underlayment.
- They are easy to remove and replace if needed.
- They are water-resistant, making them a suitable and inexpensive choice for high-humidity environments, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
- They come in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs. Since the vinyl is color-safe, you can enjoy the original pattern for a long time.
- They create a noise buffer, making your home more soundproof.
- They are comfortable to walk on because they spring slightly against the underfoot, especially if you have added a layer of underlayment.
Drawbacks of Peel and Stick Tiles
If you have been looking for a waterproof, highly resistant type of flooring, peel and stick tiles are the right option for your needs. However, they have some drawbacks that are worth considering:
- They require an even, clean, and flawless underlayment to be long-lasting, which can also prevent the subfloor from becoming damaged by water and spills.
- The glue used by these tiles can be toxic.
- They might not be made with environment-friendly materials, and they are not recyclable.
- The lack of grout can leave gaps uncovered, through which water can infiltrate and damage the subfloor.
How Much Do Peel and Stick Tiles Cost?
One of the best characteristics that have made these tiles so appealing is their reduced cost, but how much you will spend on self-adhesive tiles truly depends on their quality, design, and texture.
Some factors to keep in mind when trying to revamp your home on a budget include:
- They are priced by square feet and depending on the quality, you might pay a few cents to several dollars per square foot.
- The average price of peel and stick tiles is around $1-$1.5 per square foot.
- Certain types of tiles, such as those that mimic stone or hardwood texture, might be more expensive.
- Some waterproof tiles might be more expensive. However, if you want to put them in the shower or use them as a kitchen backsplash, you might need to be willing to spend a little more per square foot.
How Do You Maintain Peel and Stick Tiles?
Peel and stick tiles are easy to care for and require little maintenance. You can clean them with the products that are already in your house, and prevent water damage by wiping your peel and stick tiles regularly.
Or, if they are installed in a high-moisture location, you might apply a sealant on top to close the gaps between the tiles. If you want to increase the adhesive power of your tiles, you might consider:
- Cleaning the floor underneath
- Applying a flawless underlayment
- Applying another whole layer of adhesive
In some areas of the house, self-adhesive vinyl tiles might be more prone to “unsticking.” In this case, you should consider adding another layer of adhesive and maintain them often to prevent damage.
Peel and stick tiles, also known as self-adhesive vinyl tiles, have become increasingly popular thanks to their versatility, durability, and reduced cost. They are waterproof and resistant to most spillages and splashes, which makes them perfect for highly humid rooms, such as showers, kitchens, and bathrooms.
However, remember that these tiles don’t require grout for installation. While this is undeniably a benefit, it leaves a gap between the tiles, so if water is left on them, it can get through the gaps and damage the subfloor. A sealant can help you prevent such damages.
- Wikipedia: Polyvinyl chloride
- Hunker: A Homeowner’s Guide to Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF)
- B&Q: Vinyl flooring buying guide
- FixR: How Much Does It Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring?
- Reader’s Digest: How to Clean Vinyl Floors: 11 Tricks You Need to Know
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