How much does it cost to install vinyl tile flooring?
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Vinyl Tile Flooring Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Vinyl composite tile is a low-maintenance alternative to stone, wood, and ceramic tile floors. This durable material contains the same polyvinyl chloride that makes sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl planks but is available in a wide range of colors. VCT is usually glued with the different tiles fitting tightly so that the seam is hardly noticeable.
The national average cost to install VCT is $800 to $1,800, with most people paying around $1,200 for 200 sq.ft. of VCT installed in a 2-color pattern on the floor. This project’s low cost is $600 to install 200 sq.ft. of a single color of VCT with a peel-and-stick backing. The high cost is $2,000 to install an intricate pattern using 4 colors of VCT in a 200 sq.ft. space.
Cost to Install VCT Tile
|VCT Tile Prices|
|National average cost||$1,200|
What Is Vinyl Tile Flooring?
There are two vinyl tile flooring types - vinyl composite tile (VCT) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT). VCT is made of a small amount of polyvinyl chloride mixed with limestone and other fillers, while LVT is made of solid vinyl. VCT comes in solid and bright colors with small flecks of other colors. Unlike LVT, it cannot mimic wood, stone, ceramic, or other materials.
VCT has been used since the 1930s and is similar to linoleum in color and feel. It is less flexible than solid vinyl tiles, becoming brittle with time. It is glued to the floor by applying adhesive or with a peel-and-stick backing. The tiles come in solid colors, so they are frequently installed in patterns of two or more colors for a more interesting floor.
VCT is low maintenance but does not last as long as LVT or luxury vinyl planks. This is because it can become brittle, resulting in cracks. However, the adhesive holding it becomes harder, so it rarely comes loose once installed.
VCT Tile Cost per Square Foot
VCT comes in several thicknesses and qualities. Plainer varieties cost around $1 a square foot. VCT with brighter colors and softer textures costs as much as $4 a square foot. The cost to install the material ranges from $2 to $5 a square foot, depending on the design complexity. Because VCT comes in solid colors, mixing two or more colors in a pattern is common. Complex patterns cost more to install. Peel-and-stick tiles usually cost less to install because they do not require the same pressure and rolling that true adhesive tiles need. This makes the total cost range of VCT between $3 and $9 a square foot. Below are the average costs to install VCT in spaces of varying sizes. Costs are for the material and installation.
|Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
|100 sq.ft.||$300 - $900|
|200 sq.ft.||$600 - $1,800|
|300 sq.ft.||$900 - $2,700|
|500 sq.ft.||$1,500 - $4,500|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $9,000|
Vinyl Floor Tiles Price by Installation Type
VCT is a fairly flexible tile meant to be glued to the floor. It comes in two types - peel-and-stick and glue-down. Peel-and-stick is easier for homeowners to install, but you can have them professionally installed. The tiles have an adhesive backing - remove the backing and press the tile to the floor to install it. Glue-down tiles require professional installation. In this situation, the glue or adhesive is applied to the subfloor, and the tiles are placed and rolled with a heavy metal roller to adhere them to the floor. Both types have a range of costs, but the glue-down may have more colors.
|Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)|
|Peel-and-Stick||$0.50 - $2|
|Glue-Down||$1 - $4|
Peel-and-stick VCT costs $0.50 to $2 a sq.ft. This material is fairly easy to install. It comes in several colors with an adhesive backing. You need to peel off the backing and press the tile to the substrate to install it. This makes it a popular choice with DIY homeowners. Peel-and-stick vinyl is not as strong or as long-lasting as glue-down VCT. If not properly installed, it can peel up.
The cost of glue-down VCT averages $1 to $4 a sq.ft. This is among the most common forms of VCT. The tiles do not have an adhesive back. Instead, the adhesive is spread onto the substrate. The tiles are pressed into place and rolled with a heavy roller. This rolling is crucial because it strengthens the bond between the material and the adhesive. Once down, it is very difficult to get this material back up. The adhesive becomes stronger with time, so it can be time-consuming and expensive to remove after a few decades.
VCT Tile Prices by Brand
Vinyl composite tile has been around for decades and is made by many manufacturers. Each may have their own colors and basic formulas. Some use more limestone or other fillers, changing the material’s sustainability or how well it lasts. Below are some of the more popular brands of VCT manufacturers.
|Brand||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)|
|Armstrong||$1 - $4|
|Congoleum||$1 - $4|
|Tarkett||$1 - $7|
The cost of Armstrong VCT is $1 to $4 a sq.ft. Armstrong is one of the largest producers of VCT. They make dozens of different tile colors. This includes soft flecked colors and some bright, bold colors, such as yellow and purple. Their material is primarily used in commercial applications and is fairly uniform in thickness and quality. The brighter colors are slightly more expensive than the neutral shades.
Congoleum VCT averages between $1 and $4 a sq.ft. Congoleum has been making vinyl products since the 1940s. They have multiple lines of vinyl tile, including VCT. This includes several colors and surface finishes. Their plainer tiles tend to be less expensive, while their more fashionable tiles are more costly. Like their other product lines, Congoleum has some products with a thicker cushioned layer and some antibacterial.
The cost of Tarkett VCT ranges from $1 to $7 a sq.ft. Tarkett makes a wide range of VCT products. They have bought out other VCT producers, such as Johnsonite, acquiring their lines over the years. They have many of the same solid and flecked colors as other brands. However, they also have some VCTs that mimic other materials, including types of stone like French limestone.
Labor Cost to Install VCT Tile
Vinyl composite tile costs between $2 and $5 a square foot to install. These costs vary depending on whether the material is peel-and-stick or glue-down. If you use more than one color of VCT in a pattern, you may also have higher costs for labor and installation. The more complex the pattern, the higher the labor costs. VCT is easy to cut and work with, but laying the adhesive and rolling the floor may take time.
Ideally, VCT should be installed on a very level and clean substrate. If your substrate requires work to be ready for installation, your labor costs could be higher.
Below is the average cost to install each type of VCT, along with their total average costs.
|Installation Type||Labor Costs per Sq.Ft.||Total Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|Peel-and-Stick||$2 - $3||$2.50 - $5|
|Glue-Down||$3 - $5||$4 - $9|
VCT Installation Patterns
Vinyl composite tile comes in a selection of solid colors and solid colors flecked with a second color. The tiles do not come in different patterns, so it is very common for people to choose two or more colors and create a unique pattern during installation. This raises your costs by about 20% because you need extra material to create the pattern and additional time for the installer to put it in properly. Because this material is so easy to work with, you can create many abstract patterns and color fields. Some of the most popular patterns include checkerboard, step pattern, stripes, and large squares.
Checkerboard patterns use two colors alternating in straight rows. You can also install them diagonally for more interest. Checkerboard patterns work well in vintage and retro-style installations. A black-and-white or red-and-white checkerboard can work well in some retro kitchens.
A step pattern also uses two colors in alternating rows. In this pattern, the difference is that one color is positioned a half-tile off the first, above it. This makes it appear to be “stepping off” the first tile. This is a more playful pattern than the checkerboard.
Instead of alternating the colors in a checkerboard, you can also create stripes or rows of solid colors. This can be done with two or more colors to create different designs. This is a playful pattern that works well in children’s playrooms or basement rec rooms. Consider bolder colors or colors that contrast to make the different stripes pop.
Using two or more colors, you can create a pattern of larger squares. One color acts as the field color, covering most of the floor. The other color makes up larger square or rectangular sections, sometimes with a different color at the center of each square.
Vinyl composite tile is one of the higher-maintenance vinyl flooring types. It must be waxed to protect it and help it look its best long term. This is because of the limestone content in the tile. The limestone makes VCT porous, while other vinyl tile types are not. Once it has been waxed, maintenance is simple. It can be swept and mopped to remove debris and surface stains. Waxing involves mopping the wax onto the floor shortly after installation. Strip the wax and reapply it every 6 to 12 months to keep the floor from staining.
Pros and Cons of VCT
VCT comes in many bright colors that are fairly easy to install. They can be laid in several decorative patterns and can be soft and comfortable underfoot. Once waxed, vinyl composite tile is fairly low-maintenance and durable. Properly installed, this material can last for decades. Because this is a composite tile containing natural ingredients, it is much more environmentally friendly than other vinyl types.
Without wax, vinyl composite tile is porous. This means it needs the wax so that it does not stain. VCT does not come in many patterns or styles, so it is not as versatile as other materials. Due to its popularity as a commercial material, it is not as common in residential settings. This material becomes brittle over time, meaning it may crack, but it does not easily come up once the adhesive sets.
VCT vs LVT
VCT and LVT are vinyl flooring subtypes, but they are very different from one another. VCT is vinyl composite tile made from a mixture of PVC and limestone with other fillers and pigments. It is thin, flexible, and available in 12” squares in many bright colors.
LVT is luxury vinyl tile. It is made of 100% PVC in many layers with an inlaid pattern. This means it can mimic stone, wood, or ceramic tile. LVT may be glued down but is more frequently click-locked to create a floating floor. LVT is stronger, more durable, and longer-lasting than VCT. It is also available in more colors and styles. LVT is frequently more expensive than VCT but may be easier to install. Below are the costs comparing the two materials for a 200 sq.ft. installation.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|VCT||$800 - $1,800|
|LVT||$800 - $2,400|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
When installing VCT in a room that abuts a space with different flooring, you need to use a transition strip. This can be a threshold or thinner material that makes a smooth transition between the floorings. They cost $5 to $30 each, depending on the material.
Radiant Floor Heating
You can install radiant floor heating beneath VCT. Radiant floor heating heats the people and objects in the room directly, making it more comfortable and efficient. Installing radiant floor heating costs $10 to $25 a sq.ft.
Vinyl Vapor Barrier
If you install your VCT in a damp area like a basement, you may want to put a vapor barrier down first. This prevents moisture from seeping into the tiles, causing stains and moisture problems. The cost of installing a vapor barrier is $100 to $150 per room.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Thickness. Most VCT tlies are ⅛” thick. Some luxury types may be slightly thicker.
- Pets. VCT can make good flooring for pets, provided it is waxed. If unwaxed, pets may stain this flooring.
- Sustainability. VCT is more sustainable than other vinyl flooring types. This is because it contains limestone and other natural fillers, so it is more eco-friendly than most vinyl.
- Warranties. VCT usually has warranties ranging from 10 to 20 years, but it may have as low as 5 for some products.
- Underlayment. VCT should not be installed over an underlayment except for a vapor barrier in wet areas.
- Lifespan. When properly maintained, VCT can last for 50 years or more.
- What is the difference between vinyl plank and vinyl tile?
Vinyl plank flooring is made of solid vinyl or vinyl with a wood or stone composite core. Vinyl tile may be solid vinyl or a composite of vinyl with limestone and other fillers. Solid vinyl and vinyl plank flooring are more durable than composite vinyl.
- Do you need an underlay for vinyl floor tiles?
No, you do not need underlayment for vinyl floor tiles, except for a vapor barrier in a damp area.
- What is the thickness of VCT tile?
The most common thickness of VCT is ⅛”, but some luxury types may be thicker.
- Do you need to seal VCT tile?
VCT should be waxed to seal the surface and prevent stains. Use a floor wax designed for VCT.
- Does VCT tile contain asbestos?
VCT no longer contains asbestos. Until the 1980s, some VCT and related adhesives were produced with asbestos. Dark-colored tiles were more likely to contain asbestos than light-colored ones.
- How often should you wax VCT flooring?
VCT should be stripped and rewaxed every 6 to 12 months, depending on traffic levels. The higher the traffic, the more often it should be waxed.