Groutable Vinyl Tile: The Right Choice for your Home?
Good value, easy installation, and excellent day-to-day performance are a few of the very convincing reasons given by homeowners who love vinyl tile. This type of flooring holds up well even in heavy-traffic areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom. If you'd like to create a higher-end look, you can grout some vinyl tiles to increase their resemblance to natural stone or ceramic tile. Be sure to purchase tiles labeled as groutable, plus the type of grout recommended by the manufacturer, and follow up with a coat of sealant for the sake of the grout. (Tiles don't need it, since they're already waterproof.) IMPORTANT: Your local building code may actually require bathroom floors to be grouted, so that they will be impervious to moisture and dirt.
Are you unsure whether groutable vinyl tile will work well in your home? Check out this flooring material's pros and cons so that you are equipped to make an informed decision.
GROUTABLE VINYL TILE -- PRO
1. Groutable tile is fast and relatively easy to install. You will be able to grout immediately after the vinyl tile floor installation, with no waiting for thinset mortar to dry. Your bath, foyer, laundry room, or other area that can't afford much "down time" will be out of commission for a considerably shorter period than is the case with other types of tile.
2. You won't need a tile cutter or a wet saw to cut and shape your vinyl tile prior to installation as you would with ceramic or stone. Instead, you can simply use a utility knife or kitchen shears.
3. Save the time and hassle of removing your old floor. Groutable vinyl tile may be laid right on top of existing tile, as long as it is clean and in good condition. Most vinyl tile is thin enough that it does not add substantially to the floor height and its flexibility means it works well over a subfloor that is not perfectly even.
4. Vinyl tile is simple to care for, once it has been installed and grouted. Remove dust and grit with a broom or dust mop. For spills and stickiness, it's no problem to damp mop the tile, as long as the grout has been properly sealed.
5. Durable vinyl tile will stand up to hard wear without cracking or scratching. If one of the tiles does eventually need replacement, it is a simple matter to remove. The same goes for the whole floor, when you decide you'd like to update the look a decade or so down the road.
6. Besides its looks and durability, vinyl tile is warm, resilient, and comfortable underfoot, unlike most other varieties of floor tile. It is perfect for a home with small children and kind to your back when you are standing for long periods. What's more, it is quieter, making it ideal for modern open-plan homes or upstairs condos.
GROUTABLE VINYL TILE -- CON
1. The most luxurious versions of vinyl tile may be surprisingly more expensive than you'd expect.
2. The self-adhesive backing on groutable vinyl flooring makes it hard to adjust the position once you've put each individual tile down.
3. Applying grout will add considerably to the labor required to install vinyl tile.
4. Vinyl tile's edges tend to lift. There is a cure for this, though: grout well and don't get the tiles too wet during installation.
5. Grout between vinyl tiles sometimes has problems due to cracking. Flexible grout with polymer additive will reduce the potential for this kind of trouble.
For professional groutable vinyl tile installation, hire an expert flooring contractor.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.
Updated December 10, 2017.