Peel and stick tile is an excellent way to give your floors, bathroom walls and kitchen backsplash an affordable makeover. “They are fairly easy and quick to install and don’t require special tools so they can be a great project for homeowners,” says Elizabeth Burns, designer and owner of Elizabeth Burns Designs in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I think peel and stick tile is a great product for those who want the trendy look but not the commitment or price tag of traditional tile.”
Although it’s a convenient and budget-friendly option, peel and stick tile may not always be the best long-term solution. Here’s what you need to know about using peel and stick tile in your home.
— The pros and cons of peel and stick tile.
— Peel and stick tile comes in a wide variety of designs and materials.
— Can I DIY peel and stick tile?
— Where can I buy peel and stick tile?
— How much does it cost?
The Pros and Cons of Peel and Stick Tile
— It’s convenient.
— It’s easy to install.
— It’s affordable.
— There are a wide variety of materials and designs to choose from.
— It’s removable and can be used in rented homes or apartments.
— No professional is required for installation.
— It doesn’t look exactly like real tile.
— There are issues with adhesion if not installed properly.
— The adhesive can break down over time.
— The glue can be messy.
— It may look like you’ve cut corners if you decide to sell the home.
Peel and Stick Tile Comes in a Wide Variety of Designs and Materials
Similar to traditional tile, peel and stick tile comes in a variety of materials and designs. What you choose depends on your personal preference, the room it’s being installed in and the necessary level of durability.
“There are tons of designs, sizes, patterns and material options available now,” explains Burns. “In addition to the geometric patterns, you can find peel and stick tiles that mimic the look of popular tile options like marble, glass, wood, mosaic and subway tile.”
You can find peel and stick tiles in different finishes — like matte, metallic and pearlescent — and material options can also range from thin, sticker-like tiles to thicker, more rigid tiles.
Peel and stick tile also comes in different sizes. “Sizes can range from small, individual 4-by-4-inch tiles for a backsplash or fireplace surround to larger 18-by-18-inch floor tiles,” she adds.
If you use high-quality material and it was installed and maintained properly, then peel and stick tile could last for years.
“I think this varies based on how well the surface was prepped beforehand and the quality of the product purchased. It is essential that the surface be thoroughly cleaned before installation for proper adhesion,” says Burns. “The peel and stick floor tile we installed in a bathroom 2 1/2 years ago still looks brand new but since a lot of these products haven’t been around very long, it is hard to speak to their long-term durability.”
Where you install the tile can also affect its durability. For example, water and steam exposure in the bathroom and kitchen can impact the durability of the tile material and the adhesive. However, some products may be more water-resistant than others.
Can I DIY Peel and Stick Tile?
Peel and stick tile is a great DIY project, even for home improvement beginners. “If you have a tape measure and box cutter or scissors, installing peel and stick tile is relatively straightforward,” says Burns.
Before sticking the tile on the wall, floor or backsplash, you’ll need to make sure the surface is prepared. A clean and level surface allows the tile to stick. You’ll also need to be wary of the type of surface, as some products can’t be installed on certain surfaces.
“We’ve had the best success installing these on very smooth, non-porous surfaces like existing sheet vinyl or drywall. Definitely read through the manufacturer’s instructions on installation and placement,” Burns advises. “Some products can’t be installed over plywood, concrete or existing tile where others can.”
You’ll need to measure the entire surface before beginning, as well. Measuring allows you to determine how many tiles you’ll need and whether there will be any tiles that you’ll need to cut to fill in small gaps. Make sure to use a sharp knife to make precise cuts.
Where Can I Buy Peel and Stick Tile?
Peel and stick tiles can be found at many online and brick-and-mortar retailers, but Burns recommends purchasing from a reputable manufacturer and getting samples or a test box when possible.
“As with any product, I would try to test the scratch resistance and adhesive strength via a sample before installing. A sample is a great way to check with color and style in your space as well. I would also suggest reading through online reviews to see if others are happy with the quality,” she suggests.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of peel and stick tile largely depends on the quality and style of the material and is priced by the square foot and sold by the piece or case.
“Since peel and stick tile usually replicates the design of more expensive tiles like cement tile or marble, the price tag is often much less,” says Burns. “You also don’t have to purchase backer board, mortar, tile spacers and grout so there are additional cost savings there.”
For instance, 200 square feet of peel and stick vinyl flooring costs as low as $100 but goes up to $900 for better quality material.
Peel and stick may not always be the most budget-friendly choice. “On the other hand, real subway tile is very inexpensive, usually around $2 a square foot for the most basic version, while the peel and stick version can be upward of $10 a square foot,” Burns explains.
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