Peel and stick tiles, otherwise known as vinyl tiles, are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate, insulate, cancel noise, and waterproof your hardwood floors. The real question is: will vinyl flooring ruin a hardwood floor if placed over it?
Peel and stick tiles will typically not ruin hardwood floors. In fact, they can be advantageous for their ability to protect against spills and general wear. However, if removed incorrectly, they can cause permanent damage.
The average person would have to do their research before undertaking this DIY project to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing outcome while maintaining the integrity of your original hardwood flooring. Below is a discussion of what to consider before – before, not after – placing peel and stick tiles down on your hardwood floor.
Why Vinyl Flooring Might Be the Perfect Design Choice
There are five main reasons why peel and stick flooring is precisely what you might be looking for to spruce up your home:
- Moisture and temperature resistance
- Low cost and higher convenience
- Easy maintenance
- Comfort and soundproofing
This flooring option can withstand more than a little wear and tear, sometimes even accommodating immense amounts of foot traffic with minor damage.
Despite its easy application and soft feeling underfoot, this material is ideal as a low-maintenance yet long-lasting flooring solution.
2. Moisture and Temperature Resistance
Waterproof? Not necessarily. But it’s no surprise that vinyl flooring is a wildly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms, spaces with lots and lots of moisture, humidity, spillage, and other water-related risks.
No rippling, swelling or warping to worry about.
This is especially useful because it can protect the flooring beneath in the process.
Read more about the distinctions between waterproof and water-resistant flooring here.
3. Low Cost and Higher Convenience
Naturally, the higher the quality of the vinyl, the higher the price, but you can still achieve a finished look and have all of the advantages of vinyl flooring with a low budget.
You’ll also be saving big time on installation fees because you can install them yourself.
4. Easy Maintenance
Vinyl flooring is coated in a layer of water-resistant plastic coating, which makes it incredibly easy to clean.
Wiping your tiles off or mopping them with a mild detergent now and again should do just the trick to keep them looking brand new.
This should remove stains, marks, scuffs, and dirt.
5. Comfort and Soundproofing
Vinyl flooring can be a good insulating material for your home, as well as being comfortable underfoot.
Although a more insulating option would be carpet, you can add extra insulation to your flooring by adding an insulating underlayment.
Naturally, the thicker your tiling is, the warmer it is, but this also applies to soundproofing.
While this material won’t be entirely soundproof, it’ll add an extra element of privacy to your home, which might be helpful in upstairs and loft areas.
Why Vinyl Flooring Might Be a Mistake
A fair amount of research and planning goes into any home improvement project. Although one of the more straightforward DIY undertakings, peel and stick tiling isn’t exempt from this planning stage.
Some disadvantages of vinyl flooring include the following:
- Difficult removal
- Toxicity and respiratory risks
- Made from non-biodegradable materials
- Less durable than hardwood
- More severe damage is irreparable
1. Difficult Removal
Adhesives used to apply these tiles may make removal difficult and even detrimental to the integrity of your tiles and original flooring.
No matter how careful you are in the removal process, there’s a good chance the tiles won’t remain intact for reuse.
The adhesive can also stay behind on the hardwood flooring and damage it, requiring you to sand your flooring and even pay for repairs by a professional.
2. Toxicity and Respiratory Issues
Vinyl flooring, especially vintage ones, are made using asbestos.
This can cause toxic chemicals to be released into your home, which will lead to illness.
Most modern tiles are very low in toxic substances, but if you plan to buy cheaper peel and stick tiles, you run the risk of buying tiles that contain toxic substances.
Low-quality flooring can release these substances for up to two months after being installed, while better quality ones will typically only release harmful gasses for up to two weeks after installation.
3. Made From Non-Biodegradable Materials
This plastic home solution is non-biodegradable and, depending on the type of plastic used, can even be challenging to recycle.
The risk of irreparable damage is relatively low but never zero, so if you think you’ll have to discard the tiles in the end, perhaps consider a more environmentally-friendly option.
5. Less Durable Than Hardwood
Sure, the added layer of material on top of hardwood will reinforce it, but on its own, it’s not nearly as sturdy as original hardwood flooring.
Therefore, if you’re looking to put in vinyl tiles purely for strength purposes, you may not have to after all. They’re just no match for hardwood in that department.
6. More Severe Damage Is Irreparable
If the tiles break for any reason, there’s no use trying to repair them.
They have to be discarded and replaced entirely. So if, for example, you have one damaged tile, to replace it, you’d have to displace the flooring from the wall, replace that tile, and then place the tiles back against the wall.
It’s no easy feat and is more effort than it’s worth in the end.
Vinyl tiles are a versatile and easy way to make your house feel more like home, but when deciding whether or not to add them to your floors, consider whether or not the flooring is suited to the environment you live in.
Cheers, tools owners!