I Used Peel-and-Stick Tiles on My Kitchen Floor — Here’s How It Went

published Oct 17, 2019
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

While you’re saving up the cash for a big renovation, small, inexpensive updates can help to hold you over. For example, we bought a home with a kitchen we didn’t love because the price and the location of the home were perfect. Instead of jumping right into renovating, we lived in the house for a bit (good advice for avoiding renovation regrets, BTW) and in that time, we realized that we wanted a much bigger renovation than we originally thought — and, more importantly, that we’d rather pay down our mortgage first before renovating.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Our kitchen is fine — tiny and outdated, but generally useful. It gets good natural light and we’ve added an island (which we painted ourselves!) to create more workspace. But for two years, I’ve been haunted by the worn-out linoleum. Beige, cracked, and stained … it never looked clean. I spend a lot of time in our kitchen (testing recipes for this very site and feeding my family of four), and hating the floors made me feel anxious to renovate. So this spring we decided to spend a little bit on a quick update: peel-and-stick tiles!

Here’s how our temporary update went, plus how our peel-and-stick tile is holding up to daily use in our busy kitchen.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Why Buy Peel-and-Stick Floor Tiles

We actually got an estimate for updating the worn linoleum with the wood flooring that would match the rest of our house — and it came in at $1200. And because we want to completely change the layout in this area of the house, it felt like a waste to spend that much money. A friend suggested painting the floor, which would cover the linoleum’s overall dinginess but do nothing for the cracked corners. Plus I didn’t love the texture of the existing flooring, either. Peel-and-stick tiles would come in under $300, we could pick the tiles, and do the work ourselves. Plus, if we hated them in six months we could always pull them up!

We ordered a few different packs of tiles from Amazon to help us decide on the color and pattern, ultimately ending up with these FloorPop tiles in a light gray grid pattern. I combed through the reviews and did a little research before ordering. Many people noted color variances and problems lining up the pattern, so we ordered plenty of extra tile, just to be safe.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Installing Peeling-and-Stick Tiles

Peel-and-stick tile promises to be simple to install — just PEEL off the paper and STICK the adhesive side down, right? Admittedly installing a solid color tile instead of a patterned one would have been easier. Our first hurdle to installing the tiles actually came in unpacking the boxes. There was a lot of variance in the tile’s white — some were a warm white, while others were a cool, almost-blue white. There were lots of misprinted tiles and some with so much print overrun that they weren’t really usable.

After sorting the tiles into warm and light whites, discards, and tiles that would still be usable if they were cut or hidden under cabinet trim, we gave the floor a good scrub. We hemmed and hawed a bit about whether we should cover the floor with a coat of multi-purpose floor adhesive, which is supposed to make the floor stickier and make for better adhesion in the long run. We decided to skip that step. We might later regret the decision, but I’ll come back to this.

What we thought would be a few hours of tile laying actually ended up being a two-day affair. Two days of my husband diligently lining up the patterns on each tile, swearing, trimming tiles, swearing, and finally reinstalling trim in most of the kitchen. We did our best to stay off the tile for the first 24 hours after installation and then we cleaned the tiles with a good hands-and-knees mop session before returning our island cart and kitchen table. A few days after installing, we did replace a few tiles that didn’t seem to be sticking well or had shifted under the weight of moving furniture.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Immediately our kitchen was brighter, more beautiful, and I enjoyed being in it even more! Our final cost for 120 square feet of tile and trim was $250 (we bought the tiles at their lowest price on Amazon), which felt like the best money we’ve spent on our home this year. Getting the tiles perfectly aligned was worth my husband’s headache, too, as the evenness makes the floor look more seamless and polished.

A few months in now, we still love the look of the tile. It is hard to overstate how much better the floors look and how much easier they are to clean. But, and this is a big BUT, we’re still seeing a few tiles with loose corners or that have shifted slightly away from one another. It doesn’t bother me much, because I still think it looks less messy than the previous flooring. My neat-freak husband, however, has big ambitions to replace every single rogue tile as soon as he has time. I don’t have high hopes that the tile will last five years, but my fingers are crossed that they’ll hang in for two years. And by then, hopefully we can rip out all the old flooring and remodel the entire kitchen.

Have you ever tried peel-and-stick tile in your home? How did it hold up?