Step 1: Put down underlayment

putting down the underlayment for a self-adhesive tile floor
Photo: Shaffer Smith Photography
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Pry up any existing shoe molding from around the perimeter of the room.

Cover the entire floor with ¼-inch plywood underlayment secured with 1 ¼-inch (3d) underlayment nails. Make sure to stagger the joints.

Spread a thin layer of leveling compound along the plywood seams with a 6-inch drywall knife. Allow to dry completely (about 30 minutes).

Sand the seams smooth with a sanding pad with 100-grit paper.

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    Tools List

    • electric heat gun
      Electric heat gun,
      for softening tiles so they're easier to cut with a utility knife
    • tile cutter
      Vinyl tile cutter,
      available at rental shops for about $15 a day
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • undercut saw
      Undercut saw (for trimming bottoms of door jamb and casing
    • push broom
      Dust broom
    • framing square
      Framing square
    • sanding pad
      Sanding pad with 100-grit paper,
      for sanding leveling compound
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • rolling pin
      Rolling pin or J-roller

    Shopping List

    1. ADHESIVE-BACKED VINYL TILE

    2. LEVELING COMPOUND

    for underlayment



    3. PLASTIC BUCKET AND 6-INCH DRYWALL KNIFE

    for mixing and spreading leveling compound



    4. KNEEPADS

    5. SHOE MOLDING

    to conceal gap along baseboard



    6. 1 1/2-INCH (4D) FINISHING NAILS

    to attach shoe molding