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Tips for laying tile effect stickdown LVT

Steve Ball shares his top tips for floorlayers when it comes to installing tile effect stickdown LVT.

THE LVT market is experiencing a strong resurgence in tile designs in domestic and commercial applications, as customers seek the perfect blend of aesthetics, durability, easy maintenance, and quick installation. The popularity of light, neutral schemes, and the desire for cleaner, streamlined-looking interiors is also helping drive the trend. This presents retailers and contractors with good business opportunities for installing LVT. Stickdown LVT offers the benefits of seamless installation, temperature resilience and stability.

For concrete subfloors, it’s important to check the moisture levels and consider the building’s age, as older constructions, typically pre-1970s, may lack a damp-proof membrane. Just like rigid LVT, acclimatising the flooring products in the room where it’s to be installed is crucial. You should also ensure underfloor heating systems are commissioned and turned off two days before installation. Proper subfloor preparation is essential for a smooth finished result, with different solutions required for timber and concrete subfloors. Trusted adhesive suppliers can provide solutions for various subfloor challenges.

When planning the layout, finding the centre of the room is critical for a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look, while minimising uneven cuts and waste. Many manufacturers, including Malmo, feature directional arrows on the flooring to help installers maintain a consistent laying direction, so pay careful attention to them. Working from multiple packs of flooring helps create a mix of planks or tiles with a natural variance, replicating the real material. It’s always good practice to promptly clean off excess adhesive from the face of the flooring throughout the installation process to prevent damage.

These are my top tips for laying tile effect stickdown LVT:

  • Start by laying your stickdown LVT tiles from the centre line of the room’s longest direction. Look for the directional alignment arrows and make sure they all point in the same direction for a consistent appearance of colour and texture.
  • Set a centre line across the room at a 90deg angle to the first line. This will help you make equal and greater than 75mm cuts to the end walls.
  • Use the right sized notched trowel as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer. Apply the adhesive to the subfloor and wait until it reaches its dry-tack state before laying the first row of tiles.
  • Place the first row accurately against the chalk line, with tight joints between the tiles, and firmly push them onto the adhesive. Check the tiles are in alignment and aren’t running out.
  • Leave a 2mm clear edge expansion gap around the perimeter and any fixed objects in the body of the floor.
  • Existing subfloor expansion gaps or breaks with a concrete subfloor should be mirrored within the LVT floorcovering. If they’re not, any movement between subfloor sections will create issues with the unbroken floorcovering above it.
  • Roll the floor in both directions using a 75kg roller before the adhesive fully cures, ensuring good contact between the tiles and adhesive.
  • When cutting tiles to fit the edges, measure the distance and use a sharp utility knife and a straight edge to score the surface of the tile before snapping it at the score line.
  • For cutting shapes around fixed objects, use a pattern made from heavy paper. Place the pattern on the tile, make the cuts with the blade, and snap the tile to shape. Trim any rough edges with the knife.
  • Continue installing row-by-row, checking alignment regularly.
  • After finishing the installation, roll the floor again before the adhesive cures completely.
  • Allow the adhesive to cure for the time specified by the manufacturer before using the floor.
  • Install appropriate transition mouldings where the planks meet other types of flooring.
  • Add trims or skirtings around the room’s perimeter as needed.

    My final piece of advice is to take the time to read the full instructions of the brand you’re installing prior to starting. There are many common principles to LVT installation but they’re not all the same. This will ensure a long-lasting tile installation that’s fully warrantied and to contentment of all concerned.
    08457 298298
    Steve Ball is technical services manager for Malmo
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