Last Updated on February 4, 2023 by Dave Farquhar
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are in cutting, measuring, and placing peel and stick vinyl floor tile, you end up with a gap somewhere. Fortunately, there is a pretty easy way to fix gaps in vinyl tile or planks.
This trick also works to disguise the edges if your floor turned out not to be perfectly flat and a little bit of a vinyl floor tile’s edge shows.
How to fill gaps in vinyl floor tile or planks with caulk
Caulk comes in seven or eight colors, not just clear and white. Find a color that blends into the edges of your tile. For vinyl that looks like black granite, I used black caulk. Most hardware and home improvement stores also carry a couple of shades of gray, brown, and tan (or almond). It sounds like a limited selection, but you’ll be surprised how close a match you can find. The key is filling the edge with something that looks closer than white. These are the most common colors for caulk precisely because one of those five or six basic colors will blend in with almost anything.
Take a scrap of floor tile with you to compare against the selection in the store. The color on the packaging may not match the caulk exactly, but it will give you a better estimate than working from memory. A closer match will look better, but almost anything looks better than a gap. Even if it’s not exact, white edges and gaps stand out much more.
I prefer to buy locally, but if you don’t have a good selection locally, you can buy online.
What you’ll need
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- Caulk gun
- Putty knife and/or caulk application tool
- Broom and dustpan
- Vacuum cleaner (wet/dry vac recommended)
As you can see, you can fill the gaps in your vinyl floor tiles or planks with simple tools. Better yet, it’s all stuff you’ll use in future projects around the house if there’s anything on the list you don’t already have.
How to fill gaps in vinyl floor tiles or planks with caulk
Clean out any debris that’s inside the gap with a broom, or better yet, a vacuum cleaner. If you just installed the flooring recently, there probably won’t be much. Also make sure your tiles stick down well. If you installed the flooring within the last day, wait 24 hours for the adhesive to fully set up.
Next, mask the edges along each gap in your floor with a length of masking tape or painter’s tape. You want the tape as close to the edge as you can get without covering any of the gap.
Open the caulk and load it into your caulking gun. I used the 1/8-inch mark on the package. A larger opening invites making a bigger mess.
Run a bead of caulk along the edge. Try to get it as straight as possible, but using tape makes this step more forgiving.
Use a caulk application tool and/or a plastic putty knife to work the caulk down into the gap and level it with the floor. The repair is a bit less noticeable if it’s level with the tile. If you have to come back and apply a bit more caulk to get it level, that’s not a problem. The sooner you come back and apply more, the better.
Pull up the tape when you’re finished. You’ll find the gap is much harder to notice. The color and sheen won’t match exactly but it will still look a lot better than a void or gap in the floor. It will look like a slight discoloration, and from five feet up, will be hard to notice. Most of us don’t look at our vinyl floors close up.
Filling those gaps in your vinyl floor will also help keep dirt and moisture out so the floor will last longer.
Let the caulk dry for at least two hours before you start using the room again. It takes 24 hours to fully cure.
You can expect it to take about 30 minutes and cost between $5 and $10 to fix your vinyl floor.
If you have a problem with excess adhesive coming up between the gaps, here’s how to fix that. Fix that before you fix the gaps in the tile.
How durable is caulk as a fix to fill gaps in vinyl floor tiles?
This fix may seem like cheating, but I filled gaps in a vinyl floor this way six years ago and haven’t had any problems, even in my high traffic bathroom with two kids. As long as your prep work is good, this fix for gaps in vinyl floor tiles will work well for you, and will last the lifetime of the floor.
The difference between a professional and a DIY job isn’t just that professionals make fewer mistakes. The bigger difference is professionals know how to fix or cover the mistakes they make.
2 thoughts on “Fix gaps in vinyl tile or planks”
Do you recommend a particular type and brand of caulk?
If I had a choice, I would use a premium-brand kitchen/bath grade caulk, along the lines of GE. But unless I need white, I probably can’t get that type of caulk in the color I need. So I end up using whatever caulk I can get in the color I need. Since it’s pretty small quantities, it holds up nicely regardless.
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