Fix gaps in vinyl tile or planks

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are in cutting, measuring, and placing peel and stick vinyl 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 tile’s edge shows.

Fix gaps in vinyl tile or planks
If your new vinyl tile floor has an unsightly gap like this one, you can fix it for less than $10.

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. You can also expect to find a couple of shades of gray, brown, and tan (or almond).

Take a scrap of tile with you to compare against the selection in the store. The color on the tip 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.

I prefer to buy locally, but if you don’t have a good selection locally, you can buy online.

Clean out any debris that’s inside the gap. If you just put the tiles down, there probably won’t be much. Also make sure your tiles stick down well. If you just put the tiles down, wait 24 hours for the adhesive to fully set up.

Mask the gap in your tile
Here I’ve put masking tape up against the gap in the tile.

Next, mask the edges around each gap. Get the tape close to the edge while being careful not to cover the edge.

Open the caulk and load it into your caulking gun. I used the 1/8-inch mark on the package.

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.

Fix gaps in vinyl tile
After applying caulk, leveling it with a putty knife, and removing the tape, the gap nearly disappears. If you get a spot like the one on the left, just mask that spot and add a bit more caulk.

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. It 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 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.

2 thoughts on “Fix gaps in vinyl tile or planks

  • August 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Do you recommend a particular type and brand of caulk?

    • August 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      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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