If you have a problem with glue coming up between vinyl tiles when you lay them, I have a couple of solutions.
And you will want to solve the problem. The glue discolors the tile, and doesn’t get any better with age. It attracts unsightly dirt and then nothing about it looks good.
Prevent glue coming up between vinyl tiles
First of all, I absolutely recommend putting down some extra adhesive underneath the tiles. But this increases the risk of glue coming up between vinyl tiles. What to do?
Two things, actually. First, put down a thin layer of the adhesive. Be stingy, not generous. It doesn’t take a lot.
Second, let the adhesive dry until it’s translucent. It should still be tacky, but no longer wet. If you do those two things, it reduces the amount of glue that will creep up to the surface. Dry adhesive is less likely to migrate on you and cause the problem.
If you absolutely don’t want the adhesive to come up, I suppose you could mask the surface of the tiles with masking tape before putting them down, but that’s more work than cleaning them up is. It’s also a needless expense. Between my preventative tricks and my trick for cleaning it up, I think you’ll agree.
How to fix glue coming up between vinyl tiles
Even if you do everything right, it’s still possible for glue to come up between the tiles anyway. I’ve even seen it happen without using extra adhesive. And prevention isn’t much good if it’s already happened to you anyway. So what then?
When that happens, the best thing to do is let the glue dry for a day or two, then scrub away the glue with ammonia. Ammonia does a nice job of removing the glue. Spot clean it, rather than soaking the whole floor. You don’t want to disturb the adhesive under the tiles, after all. You can use a scouring pad if you need a little more cleaning power. Wear cleaning gloves when you work with ammonia. Ammonia will dry out the tiles if you use it routinely, but a one-time cleaning in spots to remove adhesive is fine. I’ve done it in a dozen houses with no ill effects.
If the problem is confined just to a few tiles, I’ve had some luck removing the glue with a baby wipe. I wouldn’t want to scrub an entire kitchen floor with a baby wipe but it works fine for spot cleaning.
After you clean up the glue, you’ll have a nice looking new floor that didn’t cost a lot. That’s the whole idea with peel and stick vinyl, after all.
More vinyl tile tips
I’ve already covered what to do if some of your tiles don’t stick. It’s also possible to fix the small gaps you may get when you lay vinyl tile. And finally, you can make the tile last longer and look better while doing it by applying an acrylic clearcoat periodically.