Ultimate Guide to Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring

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vinyl plank flooring

A new floor in under an hour and with minimal effort or tools? Can it be true?

The answer is yes.

With peel and stick vinyl tiles and planks, you can have a brand new floor in a short amount of time.

You also don’t need a degree in floorology or carpentry to get it done, nor are you required to hire a professional installer for a great looking result.

Peel and stick is not a new thing, but the technology behind the flooring solution has gotten a lot better in the last decade.

You are no longer stuck with flimsy sheets of vinyl and subpar adhesives.

In this article we are going to cover everything you need to know so you can make a well informed purchase decision and decide if peel and stick vinyl is right for you.

Top Peel and Stick Vinyl Brands

You won’t find an abundance of peel and stick vinyl brands flaunting their massive styles. However, there are a few that are worth taking a closer look at.

  • Armstrong Peel and Stick Vinyl. Armstrong has arguably the most durable and easy to install vinyl tiles on the market.
  • FloorPops Peel and Stick Tiles. If you want to accent your floors, walls, or even your ceiling, FloorPops (by WallPops) give you the most selection in the best designs.
  • TrafficMaster Peel and Stick Flooring. If you are looking to stay on the budget-friendly side, look no further than TrafficMaster.
  • Achim Peel and Stick Vinyl Planks. While you may not have heard of Achim, odds are you’ve walked on their floors at one point. Now you can have them in your home.

What is Peel and Stick Vinyl?

peel and stick vinyl

Peel and stick vinyl, as the name implies, are sheets of vinyl with an adhesive backing. You peel off the paper covering the adhesive and stick them to the floor. Unlike the word “floorology,” we aren’t making it up, it is that easy.

The vinyl comes in two basic shapes, square tiles or rectangle planks. Based on the look, style or pattern you want to create, the choice is up to you. You can even mix and match if you so desire.

The vinyl usually only has two layers, the vinyl layer and a top coat wear layer. How thick the tiles or planks are will depend on the brand, size and type you purchase. Other than that, it is exactly what you think it is, pieces of square vinyl stuck to the subfloor. Easy.

Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in Peel and Stick Vinyl

buyers guide peel and stick vinyl

Now, before that credit card burns a hole in your pocket and you rapidly press the “buy now” button, there are things to think about.

Various factors need to be accounted for, so you make the best purchasing decision possible. Luckily, we have a list of those very factors.

Style Options

One thing about the peel and stick option is that you have choices. If you want a wood-look or stone-look tile or plank, there are multiple color and grain patterns to choose from.

However, for the more daring (and modern) you can also choose from a wide variety of designs and patterns. You will find everything from hexagonal mini tiles, to checkerboard patterns. Depending on the brand you choose, your options will vary from a few to a few dozen.

Tile or Plank Sizes

One of the biggest factors though, is the size of the tiles. The most popular option is a tile which comes in squares. The most popular of which are 12×12 inches, or one square foot. However, there are some smaller options such as 6 or 8 inches and even larger ones up to 24 inches.

If you are looking for planks (which are rectangles) you will have more options. Most plank styles are 2 or 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. However, this can also vary to 8 or 10 inches in width and 2 or 4 feet in length.

Knowing the size of your tiles or planks is critical. You will need to know how much to buy to cover the space you intend.

Also, as an aside, when you do make your purchase, buy more than you need. It will allow some mistakes while cutting or installing and save you a trip back to the store later.

Underlayments

Unlike other flooring options, peel and stick vinyl doesn’t require an underlayment. However, the subfloor you stick the tiles to does have a few strict requirements.

The floor under the tiles or planks must be uniform and even. It must also be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Any dirt, debris, wax, UV coating or grease and oils must be removed.

Finally, if you are installing directly on concrete it is recommended you first use a latex primer. This will prevent moisture from attacking the adhesive and causing damage to the flooring.

Vinyl Tile Construction

The construction of a vinyl tile or plank is quite simple: it is vinyl (or a composite derivative) with adhesive on the back and a photo layer which resides underneath the wear layer.

You won’t find multiple core types or edging and bevels like you will with luxury vinyl planks (LVP) or laminate planks. In total, most peel and stick vinyl is between 2 and 6mm thick, with the bulk of the options sitting at 4mm.

The wear layer is what is truly important here. There are three types: no-wax, urethane and enhanced urethane. No-wax is among the most popular. It is more affordable and easy to clean, but more susceptible to damage.

Urethane wear layers are also affordable and easy to clean, but they are less likely to scratch and will maintain that new tile look much longer. If you need more durability (for medium or heavy traffic areas) enhanced urethane will offer more protection but at a higher cost.

VCT Vs. VET Vs. SVT

One of the most often overlooked (or unknown) factors is the actual type of vinyl used in the construction of the flooring. Standard vinyl peel and stick is just that, a sheet of pure vinyl with a design, color or image on it.

However, it is highly advised you do a little more research and look for one of the three variants. Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) is the same price and has the same style options as standard peel and stick. However, it is made from vinyl, epoxies and resins to offer a stronger tile or plank that will last longer.

If you want a little more, look for Vinyl Enhanced Tile (VET). Usually these will only be labeled in small print on the back of the packaging. However, VET is a little higher priced and is much more durable than even VCT.

Finally, you have Solid Vinyl Tiles (SVT). These bad boys are the toughest around, are made from pure vinyl and offer a durable, rigid product that can last for years. The downside, though, is that SVT is rare, and usually only found in a few wood and stone-look options. If you want colors and designs, SVT is not the option for you.

Installation

Installing peel and stick vinyl is the easiest flooring to install. You need a straight edge, a utility knife and a thumbnail not bitten down to the cuticle (thumbnail requirement is optional).

It also helps to have a 100-pound floor roller, too, but you can rent one from almost any home improvement store for a low cost.

The install process is so simple, in fact, we cover the entire thing in the following section. However, just like any other flooring solution, you can opt to have a professional perform the install for you.

If you don’t know how to find a flooring pro, that, too, is easy. Head over to our free pro finder and get instant results for licensed contractors in your immediate area.

Cost

One of the greatest things about peel and stick vinyl flooring is the cost. Unlike most other styles of flooring, such as bamboo or engineered hardwood, you don’t need cork underlayments, circular saws and a bunch of know-how.

If you are looking for a cheap answer, standard tiles can be found for less than a dollar per square foot. However, most cases will call for VCT or VET options and even those are affordable.

On average, you can expect to spend between $1.30 and $2.10 per square foot. There are outliers too, though, and for SVT and more premium options, you can expect to pay up to $3 or more per square foot.

How To Install Peel And Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring

install peel and stick vinyl plank

Installing peel and stick tiles or planks is quite simple. You will need a few basic tools and enough time to complete the project. Most DIYers find they can finish a single room in about an hour.

Before you begin, you do need to get some items handy.

  • Cleaning supplies. These are used to clean the subfloor so make sure you have a broom, vacuum and even a mop nearby.
  • Straight edge. Some of the tiles may need to be cut to fit the space. A straight edge, or ruler, will help you get a perfect line every time.
  • Utility knife. A simple utility knife or razor blade will be plenty to make the required cuts.
  • Trash bag. Your clean up will entail throwing out the adhesive backing paper. It’s a tough job, but you can do it.
  • 70 to 100-pound floor roller. This is optional, but for a low rental fee you can help your tiles stick better and stay in place longer.

DIY Installation Steps for Peel and Stick Vinyl

Once you have everything ready there are some things you should start with. The first step is to acclimate the boxes of vinyl tiles to the room where they will be installed. Most brands and manufacturers will recommend 48 hours. If you want more, feel free.

After the two days pass, you need to clean the floor that the tiles will go to. As long as the flooring is flat, level and smooth, you won’t have any issues sticking the vinyl down. However, there cannot be any debris, old adhesive, dust, waxes or oils. Make sure that the subfloor is clean and dry before you start.

Next you want to find the center of the room. You can use a chalk line to help mark it or put a little x on the floor with tape. The center is where your first tile will lay. Unlike LVP or hardwood planks, which start along the longest wall of the room, peel and stick starts exactly in the middle of the room.

Next you want to lay the tiles on the floor where they will go, without revealing the adhesive. Starting with the first tile in the middle, lay tiles to the walls and edges of the room. This will show you how many tiles you need and which ones, if any, need to be cut.

Now it is time to install. Head back to the middle piece, remove the adhesive backing paper and stick the tile down in place. From here you want to split the floor into quarters, working one quarter at a time. Head straight out from the center tile to the wall, rotating the tiles to match the pattern.

Cutting Tiles

When you reach the wall, you may need to cut a tile to make it fit. First, rotate the tile to line up the pattern as you have done before. Without removing the paper on the back, lay the tile down and mark where it needs to be cut.

Using the utility knife and straight edge, carefully cut the tile until it is sized to fit. Make smaller cuts than needed, testing the fit after each slice. If you cut too much, you will need to use a new tile.

Repeat this process each time you reach the wall on the row you are working until the entire floor is complete.

Now it is time to roll the floor. A floor roller is a large, weighted wheel that presses the tiles in a uniform manner, ensuring they are pressed into the subfloor so the adhesive will stick.

A few rolls over the floor and you are done. You should allow the floor about 24 hours before you install baseboards or trim molding. During this time the tiles may expand to fit their new home.

After 5 days you can begin your care and cleaning routines. Your floor is complete. Congratulations!

Peel and Stick Vinyl Pros and Cons

pros and cons vinyl plank

As with everything in life, peel and stick vinyl comes with good sides and bad sides. Let’s take a closer look at both so you know what you are getting into.
What We LikeWhat We Do Not Like
Easily  affordable for most budgetsMore easily damaged than LVP
Extremely simple installationDoes not add value to a home
Low maintenanceCan be cold and stiff depending on subfloor type
More modern styles, colors and optionsImage layers may not be the most realistic
Various types and sizes to pick 
Ideal for low and medium traffic areas 
Can be mopped 
Install over virtually any other flooring style 
Higher-quality tiles and planks can be easily removed 

Top Peel and Stick Vinyl Brands

When it comes to the flooring industry, there is good, better and best. Of course, as a consumer, you only want the best. That’s what this section is for.

We will cover the top brands for peel and stick vinyl and let you choose the one that fits your needs and expectations best.

Armstrong

Armstrong is a flooring company that often finds itself at the top of any “best of list” (such as the best vinyl plank flooring). This list is long and distinguished because Armstrong is a premium flooring company with a mid-range price.

Armstrong’s peel and stick vinyl is no different. You will get premium 4 and 5mm tiles and planks for what other brands sell their budget options at. While the cost is alluring, so are the style choices.

With over a dozen colors to choose from, you also get to select from wood look or stone look vinyl, too. While Armstrong may not have the selection of some of the other brands, they have a sophisticated palate that will fit most decors and budgets.

FloorPops

FloorPops is the most modern brand to spring into the forefront of peel and stick life. Their parent company WallPops creates wall art that you can stick to almost any surface, including PVS wall art and back splashes.

If you are in a modern décor mood, you can choose from over 40 different vibrant colors, patterns, style and textures. They have the boring old wood and stone too, of course, and marble if you fancy that.

What makes the brand stand out is their budget-friendly pricing, with even the most premium of tiles costing less than $1.80 per square foot. Add on that some of the most intriguing and eye-catching designs and you have a new floor that definitely stands out.

Most of the tiles are designed to look great but won’t last forever. While they may have the lowest life expectancy of the group, the easy to replace tiles are worth it for the 5 to 8 years you will have them.

TrafficMaster

TrafficMaster is a Home Depot exclusive and they have one of the best stone-look and wood-look peel and stick selections available. While they won’t have much to offer in the way of more eclectic designs, they do have some of the most realistic tiles you will find.

The price is also the lowest of any mid-range brand. As long as you don’t expect too much from the tiles. These are mostly standard vinyl tiles with a few VCT non-wax options thrown in.

Ideal for low and light traffic areas, they are perfect for entry ways, hallways and guest rooms. The look is great and the feel is comfortable. However, they will require more frequent cleaning and care than other brands.

Still, for having over 90% of their 35+ selections falling below $1 per square foot, TrafficMaster peel and stick vinyl is hard to beat.

Achim

Achim is a premium vinyl dealer that also has home furnishings and other lavish products at a discount. Their peel and stick line known as Nexus offers you a 5-year warranty and comes in much larger packs than most other brands.

While TrafficMaster and others offer you 10 to 15 tiles per box, Achim has options as high as 45 tiles. Buying fewer boxes is easier on the wallet in the long run and you can rest assured that the patterns on the Achim tiles will always line up.

With great care and attention to detail, you can even find stone-look tiles with a beveled edge. This allows you to install the peel and stick vinyl and then use grout for an even more realistic look and feet.

Care and Maintenance of Peel and Stick Vinyl Planks

Caring for your peel and stick is actually quite easy. You can sweep it with a broom as often as you like or as needed. It also cleans up will with a vacuum made from hard flooring. Just make sure the brush roller is either rubber, foam or can be shut off.

You can also damp and wet mop the floors, too. You just want to be careful to use a mop that doesn’t slosh water all over. While wet mopping is okay, too much water can damage the adhesive.

When the flooring gets dirty, a normal cleaning regimen is expected. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to do. You don’t have sealants and grout to worry about and there aren’t any wax finishes to reapply.

If a tile gets too dingy, worn or damaged, you can pull it up and replace it with a new one.

While these floors aren’t designed to last forever, with proper care and regular cleaning, many of the higher quality brands will last you at least 5 to 8 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq vinyl plank flooring

Now we will answer some frequent questions that pop up when talking about peel and stick vinyl. Of course, there are many more questions, and if you have one of them, please feel free to use the comment section below the article.

Q. How do I install peel and stick vinyl plank flooring on concrete?

  1. Installing peel and stick vinyl over concrete is performed just the same as any other installation type. There is one difference, though and that comes before you install the vinyl.

For concrete in high humidity areas, cold climates or in areas where moisture is prone (or, just to be extra safe anyway), a latex primer should be painted on first. This will prevent moisture from getting to the adhesive backing and causing damage to the tiles.

Q. Can I install peel and stick vinyl plank flooring in a bathroom?

  1. You can install peel and stick vinyl in any room of the house, even wet areas. However, because of the higher humidity levels and moisture content in bathrooms, your tiles may not stick or lay flat as long as they will in other rooms.

Some brands may limit a warranty if installed in wet areas, so make sure you check that before you buy. However, even cutting the lifespan in half (not common) you will still get 3 to 4 years of solid performance in a bathroom.

Q. Is peel and stick vinyl any good?

  1. Peel and stick vinyl is a good option for many situations. While you may not want to cover your entire home with it, it makes a great flooring solution for low traffic areas. If you want to spruce up a room with a different look, peel and stick is a great choice.

It also offers you the ability to remove the flooring and replace it with a different color or style should your décor or moods change.

Q. How long does vinyl peel and stick last?

  1. When properly installed, rolled and cared for, most brands of peel and stick vinyl will last at least 5 years. Many options will even double or triple that expectancy to 10 or 15 years depending on conditions and traffic on the floor. However, for a best estimate and average across the country, expect 5 to 8 years for the floor.

Q. Does peel and stick vinyl require grout?

  1. No. Unlike actual tile, peel and stick doesn’t require any grout at all. However, there are a few specialty stone-look peel and stick options that come with beveled edges so you can apply a peel and stick grout. Known as “grouted vinyl tile” the deeper edge grooves give you a place for the grout and adds strength to the individual tiles.

Conclusion

Peel and Stick vinyl flooring may not be at the top of your attention grabbing to-do list. However, it is an easy, affordable solution for those quick sprucing jobs that need doing.

There are several brands that offer you dozens of color, style and look options. You can choose from a more natural stone or wood-look tile to crazy and bizarre neon green hashes (if you want).

Whatever your décor choices are, there is a peel and stick vinyl solution. And now, you know exactly what to look for, what to expect and how to install your new peel and stick vinyl floor.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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