Tile & Grout Cleaning and Sealing

No matter how nicely the rest of the basement is finished, if the floors are cold and the room feels damp, nobody is going to want to spend much time down there. It’s a common problem in a finished basement because concrete floors continually release moisture (making a basement feel damp) and they act as a conductor for the cold from the ground under the foundation. In the past, people have tried to address the problem by laying down a wooden sub floor before installing their basement flooring, but over time a wooden subfloor that is in direct contact with the damp concrete will degenerate. The wood doesn’t do anything to prevent moisture, so the room will still feel damp.

The Solution – Floating Subfloor Systems
Fortunately, the construction industry has come up with a solution for cold, damp basement floors, floating sub floor systems. While there are numerous manufacturers of these systems, they all work essentially the same way. They create a moisture proof air gap between the concrete floor and the basement flooring.

They are usually built from either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), bonded to a corrugated underlay in 2′ x 2′ tongue and groove panels that fit tightly together. A floating sub floor keeps a basement floor warm and comfortable.

How Do They Work?
The underlay (made from heavy duty polyethylene or styrofoam insulation) creates an air gap under the plywood surface (and above the concrete) so the wood never touches the concrete. As a result, the wood won’t get wet and rot over time. Plus, the air gap allows air movement under the floor that will dry any moisture coming up through the concrete and at the same time the moisture-proof underlay acts as a barrier to stop dampness from rising into the finished room above. So, there won’t be any dampness and no musty odors in the room. With the basement floor now warm and no odors or dampness in the air, a finished basement with a floating sub floor system becomes quite livable.

Are There any benefits?
Manufacturers claim the engineered wood floor won’t warp, split, or peel. The panels are alleged to be strong enough to support heavy furnishing or things like a treadmill or a pool table, too. Most back up these claims with warranties of up to 25 years. You can install carpet, laminate, engineered flooring, ceramic tiles, or vinyl tiles on top of the panels. (Vinyl tiles require a 1/4-inch plywood sub floor while ceramic tiles need a base of cement board.) The floating sub floors are comfortable to walk on, since the soft underlay has a little “give” to it and softens each step.

What Are the negatives?
The panels must be installed on a level surface, so the basement floor must be leveled beforehand. It will be difficult in basements that don’t have much head room since the panels are about 1-inch thick.

Over all, a floating subfloor will help make your basement a comfortable living space.


Installing linoleum tile is a great way to update or replace an old floor. It is not only a quick and easy project, but an inexpensive one as well. A new linoleum tile floor will add to the appearance of any room, while enhancing the beauty of your entire home – not to mention helping increase its value. There exists a great variety of linoleum tile from which to choose in a wide range of colors, shades and patterns that will allow you a greater amount of choice to compliment – or change – any room décor. Additionally, linoleum tile flooring is easy to maintain and with a little know how can be installed in a few steps.

Materials Needed:
•Linoleum tile
•Tape measure
•Chalk line
•Utility knife

Step 1 – Take Careful Measurements
Determine the square footage by multiplying lengths by widths. Calculate the amount of tile needed by dividing the room square footage by the number of square feet each box of tile contains. Once you’ve determined the number of needed cartons, add an additional 10 percent to cover waste and mistakes. Once the tile is purchased, place all cartons in the room where they will be used, allowing them to reach room temperature.

Step 2 – Prepare the Floor
Linoleum tile flooring can be installed over any existing tile floor, concrete floor or other subfloor. Make sure the existing floor is even. If not, use a leveling product applying it with a smooth edged trowel. Make sure if the floor is concrete that it is smooth and dry. It has to be clean. You’ll need to replace any damaged subfloor with a ¼ inch plywood sheet. Make sure all cracks are filled and sanded smoothly.

Step 3 – Find the Center
Take a room length measurement, marking the center of the line. Locate the center of the room and mark it. Divide the room in half by snapping a chalk line. Make sure to check to see where the lines cross is square and, if not, readjust the lines until you get them square.

Step 4 – Apply Adhesive
Starting where the chalk lines cross in the middle of the room, apply linoleum adhesive using a notched edged trowel when not employing self-sticking linoleum tiles. Make sure to lay full linoleum tiles working from the center toward a wall. Repeat laying one row after another, leaving the outside perimeter close to the walls to fill with cut tiles. Roll over the tile with a tile roller to make sure you create an effective bond.

Step 5 – Cut the Irregular Tiles
Measure the “bare” perimeter spaces, cutting tile to fit. Create a template for tiles to fit around different shaped areas or where piping protrudes through the floor.

Step 6 – Baseboard
Either re-install the old baseboard and trim or use new material.

Important Tips:
1. Make sure to wipe clean any excessive adhesive from the top surface are of the newly installed tile with a recommended cleaner
2. Never use any harsh commercial cleaners. Damp wiping with a soft cloth or mopping is all that is required to clean your new linoleum tile floor.

Linoleum tile is commonly used in kitchens, bathroom, and entry ways for easy to take care of floors. Installing linoleum tile is a very straightforward process that is well within the skill sets of a general do-it-yourselfer.

Cutting linoleum tile can be something that you should take your time doing. It is not a hard process, but when you have the right tools to do the job it is a much easier process.

Straight Edge
As with any type of cutting, a straight edge is an important part of the cut. A straight edge can me any thing that has at least on perfectly straight edge to it. Many home centers will sell a metal straight edge that is commonly used, but you can make your own straight edge with a table saw, a sharp blade, and a good rip fence.

Sharp Cutting Tool
A regular utility knife can do the job of cutting the linoleum tile, but it can also be difficult. Line your straight edge up and work the utility knife over the back of the tile several times to make a clean cut.

Your best bet would be to buy a vinyl tile cutter from a home improvement center. These cutters easily cut through vinyl tile with little problem.

Linoleum is one of the easiest flooring materials with which you can work. All you really need to consider is what color you want because it’s recommended as flooring material in all areas of the home.

Linoleum was the most popular flooring material choice between its invention in 1860 through the middle of the 20th century when hardwood flooring production techniques became the number one choice. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, linoleum was popular in home construction because it was inexpensive and durable. It became associated as a kitchen floor material due to its water resistance and resilience, making it comfortable to stand upon and easy to maintain. The better grades were commonly called “battleship linoleum.” This grade was actually used for flooring in warships. However, it proved unsuitable because it was highly flammable.

There are several types of linoleum in use, based on what they are made of and their colors and shapes or patterns.

Sheet Linoleum – The most popular choice for linoleum flooring. Sheet linoleum is available in the widest selection of patterns and colors and comes in 6’6″ rolls, making it incredibly complex to install. Unless you possess the necessary skills, sheet linoleum flooring installation should be conducted by a professional

Linoleum Tile Flooring – Similar in shape and handling like any tile flooring material, but provides a different set of benefits than using ceramic or stone files. Its organic make-up allows for eco-friendly use in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities or homes needing an anti-allergen environment. It has natural water resistance that makes it a lower maintenance alternative to ceramic or natural stone tiles. Linoleum has a different feel to it than ceramic or natural stone, and hence it’s considered a better material to stand upon for long periods of time.

Floating Linoleum Flooring – Considered the best choice for do-it-yourself projects when installing kitchen flooring. This type of linoleum is installed onto a floor frame featuring click and lock edges that snap into place. It comes in planks that require no adhesive, so there’s minimal mess. The end result is a great looking linoleum floor.

Forbo Linoleum – This is actually a linoleum brand, which produces different kinds of linoleum with names such as Artoleum® Graphic, Scala, Piazza, Passione and others. The Artoleum® Graphic product is the most popular, mainly due to its dirt-camouflaging technology. These linoleums are durable and more resistant to heat than general types.

Solid Colored Linoleum – Extremely popular, providing a variety of colors and shades. The colors are durable, resisting fading even over a long period of time.

Marble Linoleum – Provides a great and elegant look. Marbled patterned linoleum tiles provide that fancy, sophisticated look at an inexpensive price.

Flecked Linoleum – Provides a unique pattern that adds distinction to any room where installed.

Patterned Linoleum – Available in almost an exhaustive variety of patterns, providing a wide selection of different looks. These tiles are made tough but may require more to install so you can perfectly match seams.

Do a little research when picking out linoleum, deciding on factors such as ease of installation, cost, maintenance, color and pattern. Visit sites online where you can view tile images to help with your decision-making process. Check tile in person to examine surface and thickness.

Vinyl flooring offers a durable, beautiful alternative to other flooring types, and it’s easy to install over a a variety of subfloors. To install vinyl flooring over ceramic tiling, check out the guide that follows.

What You’ll Need:
Self-leveling compound
Utility knife
Straight edge
Pry bar
Caulk gun
Tape measure
Seam sealer
Flooring roller

Step 1 – Prepare the Room
Before you can start installing vinyl over the top of ceramic tile, you must prepare the room. Use your pry bar to remove the baseboards from around the edge of the room.

Smoothing out the Tile

Then, smooth out the ceramic tile before laying the vinyl. Ceramic tile has grout joints that are uneven, so if you were to install the vinyl over top, you would see the grout joints underneath the vinyl.

Use self-leveling compound to fill in the grout joints. Give the compound time to dry before moving on to the installation process.

Step 2 – Apply the Adhesive
Next, apply adhesive to the floor. You can apply most vinyl adhesive with a trowel or roller, but you should look at your manufacturer’s instructions for specifics. Spread the adhesive out over the floor, so that it is thoroughly covered and evenly distributed.

Once you apply the adhesive, allow it time to set up. The adhesive should be tacky to the touch, but it should not come off on your fingers when you touch it.

Step 3 – Lay the Vinyl
After the adhesive has been applied, install the vinyl flooring. Unroll the sheet of vinyl and spread it out over the room. Press the vinyl down into the adhesive as firmly as possible.

Step 4 – Roll the Vinyl
Next, roll the vinyl sheets with a flooring roller. You should take the roller over the entire surface of the vinyl to remove any air from below the vinyl.

Step 5 – Attach Seams
If you have seams between two pieces of vinyl, cut the two edges with a utility knife and a straight edge. Once you put the two pieces of vinyl together, use the appropriate type of seam sealer to attach the two pieces to keep the seam from coming apart in the future.

Step 6 – Allow to Dry
Allow the vinyl a few hours to dry. If you wish, you can put a bead of caulk around the edge of the vinyl floor, so that water cannot get underneath. Then, put your baseboards back. To upkeep your new look, polish the vinyl flooring regularly.

Self-adhesive vinyl tiles are a very popular flooring material commonly used in a number of different applications. You will often find them in kitchens, utility rooms, and bathrooms. However, if you decide that you want to remove these at a later time to change up your decor, a fair amount of work will be involved. Here are the basics for removing these vinyl floor tiles effectively.

What You’ll Need:
Utility knife
Mineral spirits

Step 1 – Assess the Condition of the Vinyl Tiles
The first thing that you will want to do is assess the condition of this flooring. Often, the adhesive of these tiles will not be what it was when they were installed; it will start to release its hold on the floor over time. Therefore, you may be able to simply go along and lift them up off the floor. Get down on the ground and try to pull on the corner of a tile anywhere in the room. If it comes up easily, your job will also be very easy. However, if it is stuck pretty well, further measures will be necessary.

Step 2 – Cut the Tiles
If the vinyl tiles are still firmly attached, take a utility knife and start by scoring each one of them. Cut a slit right down the middle, deep enough to get under the surface finish.

Step 3 – Just Add Water
Once you have cut the tiles, get a bucket of water and dump some on each tile. If you know you are on a wood subfloor, make sure that you do not pour out too much water as it could damage the wood underneath. However, if you are on concrete, this should not be an issue.

Thoroughly cover the surface of the vinyl with water, and then allow it to soak in for a while. By cutting the tile and pouring water inside the cut, you will help release the adhesive. This will make it much easier to take up the tile without damage.

Step 4 – Scrape up the Tile
When the water has had a fair amount of time to sit, it is time to start scraping. This is the hardest part of taking up vinyl and there is no easy way around it. Take a long-handled scraper and start working it under the tile. Start on one end of the room, and then work your way across the floor. Try to take up the adhesive with the tile instead of just breaking it off. Many people will scrape up the tile and leave all the adhesive because it is easier. However, you will need to remove the adhesive if you plan on installing anything else in its place.

Step 5 – Clean Up
Once you have scraped up the tile, it’s time to clean up the area. If there is any adhesive still left on the floor, use mineral spirits to clean it off. Dispose of any rags soaked with this chemical properly when you’re finished. As a result of your work, you should have a completely clean subfloor to work with for your next project.

There are many reasons to remove vinyl flooring. Although vinyl floors can be long lasting and hardy, over time they can tear and become damaged. Additionally, homeowners may occasionally want to replace old flooring because it is out-of-date and unsightly.

Regardless of the reasons for removal, pulling up vinyl flooring takes time and patience to be done correctly. When removing the flooring, be careful not to damage the subfloor underneath, since it will be necessary to repair any damage before laying down new flooring.

What You’ll Need:
Flathead screwdriver
Pry bar or claw head hammer
Utility knife or floor knife
Heat gun or hair dryer
Vacuum or shop vac

Step 1 – Clear Room of Furnishings/Appliances
Remove all of the furniture in the room. Also remove any appliances that are placed over the vinyl flooring.

Step 2 – Remove Trim
Remove any trim along the floor, including baseboards. If you plan on salvaging the trim to use it again, carefully use a flathead screwdriver to pry the baseboards and trim away from the wall in sections. Remove any nails and set the trim aside.

Step 3 – Remove Tacks, Nails or Staples
Check along the edge of the vinyl to determine if it was tacked, nailed, or stapled down along the edges. If you discover nails, tacks, or staples, carefully pry them out of the vinyl with the end of a small pry bar or claw head hammer. You will need to remove tacks, nails, or staples from the entire edge of the vinyl before pulling it up further. Safely discard these items so others do not step on them.

Usually vinyl is also glued in place with adhesive.

Step 4 – Begin Pulling up Vinyl
Check along the corners of the vinyl and locate a place where the vinyl is not glued down. Use a utility or floor knife and cut strips out of the flooring that are about 12 inches wide.

Step 5 – Scrape Adhesive
Use the strips to slowly begin to pull up the vinyl. With a scraper, pull up any areas that are especially difficult because of glue or adhesive.

Step 6 – Soften Stubborn Adhesive
For areas that are especially stubborn, spray a mixture of soap and water on the adhesive. Allow this several minutes to be absorbed and then use the scraper to pull the vinyl away from the adhesive. As you progress, carefully remove as much glue and adhesive as possible.

Step 7 – Clean Floor
Once the majority of the vinyl is removed, use the shop vac to remove any remaining small pieces of.

Step 8 – Further Soften Stubborn Remaining Adhesive
Use the heat from a heat gun or hair dryer to soften and loosen any adhesive that remains on the floor. Working slowly, heat small sections of the floor and scrape off the glue and adhesive, being careful not to damage the subfloor below.

Step 9 – Re-vacuum Floor
Once all of the vinyl and adhesive has been removed, vacuum the floor again. Carefully examine the subfloor to detect any damage that may have occurred while removing the vinyl flooring or has already existed prior to removal. Any subflooring that has suffered damage will need to be repaired or replaced before new flooring can replace your old vinyl.