Finishing Basement #2: VCT tiles are in

Blog entry by Paul posted 04-14-2010 05:56 PM 13233 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The build out project so far Part 2 of Finishing Basement series no next part

We went with 2 color scheme for the floor using the VCT tiles from Congoleum. Black and red are the colors we chose (Ebony AL-21 and Santa Fe Clay AL-64). They seem to go real well with the rest of the room. Both colors were a special order from Menards and we had to wait about 1.5 weeks to get them in.

Each color ended up being 9 boxes. At the end of the job we are left with 1 box each. At this point I’ll probably end up keeping those.

For the pattern we chose the diamond checker board using 4 tiles at a time. Alternating the colors every 1 tile would have looked too busy on the floor for us.

Let me tell you I’m 35 years old, but my knees and back were killing me at the end of this job :). I was able to lay down the 650 sq.ft in 2 days with a quick help from a friend and my brother who helped me move over the pool table.

Other materials and tools used:

- Knee pads (must have!!)
- 1/16” x 1/16” x 1/16” square notch trowel
- VCT tile cutter
- VCT glue
- Glue cleaner
- Utility knife (extra blades)
- Tape measure
- Vinly gloves (keep those hands clean)
- Pencil
- Square
- 100 lb. roller (rental place about $15 a day)

Before laying down the floor I had to fill in the concrete control joints with some vinyl cement. It wasn’t the prettiest job, but the cracks were filled. After the cement set I used a hand held grinder to get rid of any large bumps and flatten it as much as possible.

The whole floor was vacuumed and mopped.

I put down the tiles (quick dry fit) to see the best starting point for my room. Since the pool table was in a way (help wasn’t arriving till later that day), I decided to start out not in the center of the room. I had to move the tiles a few times to get the right layout. When done dry fitting I traced the 4 starting tiles with a marker.

Next came the glue. I was prepared for a really smelly glue, but to my surprise it wasn’t at all. I picked up (2) 3 gallon buckets. The info on the bucket said that using the 1/16 trowel you should get about 180 sq.ft from 1 gallon. I ended up with about a third of the second bucket when all said and done.

Glue went on nice and smooth. It was a bit of work though to get the floor covered. It takes about 30 minutes for the glue to go from yellow to clear. This is when you are ready to start laying down the tiles. Glue should be tacky, but not come off the floor when touched with a finger. This tacky part stays on for 24 hours. This gives you plenty of time to lay down the tiles, take a break or two. Once ready, the tiles went on pretty quickly.

One thing to remember is that these tiles are fairly fragile when bending. If you need to bend them a lot (going over really uneven floor or during cutting a pattern out and snapping it) use a heat gun first (blow dryer might work). They should become more playable.

Once you put one down on the glue, its extremely hard to get it off. Make sure you look at your pattern and that you align the tile correctly from the get go.

Every so ofter when I was done with a section I would use the 100 lb. roller to go over the tiles. You could hear this little crackling sound letting you know that the tiles are sticking real nice to the glue.

The longer part of the work was the finishing work. I did get a chance to use the VCT tile cutter, but not as much. Reason being that the cutter cannot cut the 12” tile diagonally (unless you need a very small triangle piece). The blade is not long enough and it’s really just meant for straight cuts. I should have thought about that, but you live and learn. Instead I used a straight edge and a utility knife. Few quick scores over the tile and snapping it did the trick.

Because the glue is tacky and not in liquid state when laying down the tiles, I didn’t get any of the tiles dirty on the surface. Nothing oozed through the nice tight joints. That saves an extra step of cleaning up.

After the tiles cure for 72 hours or so, it is recommended to seal them and apply polish or wax. I will get to that step a little later. My body needs to recover first :).

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Todd Thomas

735 posts in 5395 days

posted 04-15-2010 12:10 PM

looks good….last time I did VCT I used a paint roller to put the glue down..seemed to work well and fast…..I understand the knees and back part :-)

-- Todd- Oak Ridge, TN

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4 posts in 4937 days

posted 04-15-2010 08:53 PM

I was told to do that, but this being the first time (hopefully the only time) I decided to go by the book :).

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