Vinyl flooring is still as popular as ever, and these days you will find everything from varieties that look like fine marble to grouted tiles. Many of these patterns look very realistic, and it takes reaching down and feeling the flooring to realize the material is actually vinyl. Unfortunately, vinyl flooring is not as resilient as real marble or ceramic tile, and it can become damaged with sharp objects or stained. Even those who are very careful can accidentally damage vinyl flooring, but luckily it is easy to repair. Marks and scuffs can easily be removed, but if vinyl flooring has been sliced or deeply scratched, or if vinyl tiles are curling around the edges, it is important to repair the damage before the problem worsens.
Tar, Scuffs, and Other Stains
Stains are usually easy to remove from vinyl flooring – if they have not soaked in below the surface. If regular cleaning does not work to remove scuff marks and other stains, try a little baking soda and water. Baking soda will provide just the right amount of abrasiveness needed to safely remove marks. For more difficult spots such as tar, use commercial adhesive remover according to product label instructions or a small amount of mineral spirits. Apply it to a clean white rag and dampen the stain. Allow the product to soak into the stain for several seconds before wiping it away. When in doubt about the safety of using mineral spirits or adhesive remover on vinyl flooring, try it in an inconspicuous area before using it to remove a particularly difficult mark to be sure it will not further damage the floor.
Vinyl flooring that has been improperly installed, or single tiles that did not have enough adhesive upon installation can begin curling around the edges. To repair tiles with curling edges, begin by removing old adhesive using mineral spirits. Apply the mineral spirits to a clean rag, and follow product label instructions. Use a small putty knife to carefully scrape away old adhesive. After the area has dried, apply vinyl flooring adhesive, and use an old rolling pin to press the curling edges into place. If they still curl up, roll the edges into place once again, and place something heavy over the area until the adhesive dries. If the repair does not look satisfactory, or if the flooring or tile appears damaged, it will require patching.
It is very easy to repair vinyl tile flooring if extra tiles have been saved. To repair a single tile you will need a metal scraper, an iron, tile adhesive, mineral spirits, and a trowel with notches. You will also require a few rags, an old rolling pin, and a paper bag that has been cut open. The paper bag will be used to place over vinyl tile flooring when heating the old adhesive. It will prevent surrounding tiles from damage caused by direct contact with the heated iron.
Begin by warming an iron so it is just hot enough to heat the adhesive beneath the tile to be removed. Cut and place a section of paper bag over the flooring to prevent it from melting when coming in contact with the hot iron. Use the scraper to pry up the old tile once the adhesive becomes soft. If it is already curling around the edges, more than likely it will be easy to remove and might not require heating.
After the old tile has been removed, apply mineral spirits to the old adhesive using a rag. Do not allow the mineral spirits to soak into surrounding tiles. Once the old adhesive begins to soften, use the metal scraper to scrape it from the floor. Be careful not to gouge the surrounding tiles. Make sure the floor is dry before continuing with the repair.
Use a notched trowel to apply adhesive to a new tile, and press it into place. Wipe away any adhesive that seeps through the cracks, and use an old rolling pin to roll out any air bubbles and to smooth the underlying adhesive. Once again, wipe the excess adhesive away using a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Allow the adhesive to dry according to product label instructions before walking over the area. The completed repair should blend in with the surrounding tiles, and in any case it will look better than it did before the repair was made.
Patching Vinyl Flooring
Sheets of vinyl flooring are also easy to repair – if scraps of extra flooring were saved. Otherwise it will be necessary to find a match in a store, or flooring can be taken from an inconspicuous area to complete the repair. Consider using vinyl flooring from inside a closet if possible, or if other options are not available, flooring beneath solid pieces of furniture can be used if the furniture will remain in place.
To repair an area of vinyl flooring you will need a scrap section that will match the pattern, a fine-tip black marker or pen, a sharp utility knife, sharp scissors, a small metal putty knife, and mineral spirits. To complete the repair you will also require vinyl adhesive, a notched trowel, an old rolling pin, and clean rags.
Begin by placing a scrap piece of flooring over the area requiring repair, and match the pattern. Cut it to size using sharp scissors or a utility knife. With the new patch in place, trace around it, and cut away the damaged floor covering. If necessary, apply mineral spirits to old adhesive on the floor, and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Do not use too much. It should not seep into areas that do not require repair. Once the adhesive has softened, carefully scrape it away with a small metal putty knife.
Next, apply adhesive to the back of the patch using a notched trowel, and carefully press it into place like a puzzle piece. Use a rolling pin to work out any air bubbles and even out the underlying adhesive. Wipe away any adhesive that seeps out of the cracks using a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Allow the patch to dry completely before walking over the area. If the pattern matches well, the repair will blend into existing flooring, and it will once again look almost as good as new.