Installation – Vinyl Tile

This is only a guideline for reference when installing products under the brand of SAHARA TILE by FERMA.  

  • Installation Instructions – Luxury Vinyl Tile (Glue Down)  Download
  • Installation Instructions – Luxury Vinyl Tile (Locking System)  Download
  1. General Information (Glue Down)
    • Luxury vinyl tile under the brand name of SAHARA TILE by FERMA is designed to be floated or glued for its installation. Glue down luxury vinyl tile is one type of vinyl product which is constructed with a limestone composite base and ceramic finish. It provides toughness and flexibility to resist breaking from normal subfloor deflection, expansion, and contraction. This feature permits fast, easy installation using a pressure sensitive adhesive over a wide variety of sub-floor surfaces without extensive preparation.
    • The installation could be done with or without grout.
    • Although the glue down luxury vinyl tile could be applied a wide variety of sub-floor,  it is still recommended that the flooring should be acclimated for approximately 48 hours in the area where the floor will be installed. The flooring should be installed in climate-controlled, indoor locations between 68F-72F and relative humidity of 35% -55% year round.
    • The job site should be cleaned and cleared of other trade apparatus that may damage an installation.
    • All sub-floor must be done before installation.  A correct preparation of the sub-floor is a major part of a successful installation. It is required that sub-floor system is free of deflection. Sub-floor variations should not exceed 1/8″ in 6′ (3.18 mm in 1.8 m). All high spots must be sanded or ground smooth. Fill in low spots, cracks, and depressions. Roughness or unevenness of the sub-floor may telegraph through the new flooring, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots.
    • The installation of the tile must be conducted after kitchen cabinet or counter is installed. No flooring should be installed underneath any kitchen cabinet or counter. Otherwise, it will be treated as improper installation. 
    • The flooring could be installed over existing resilient floor coverings, wood flooring, and ceramic tile (grout joints must be leveled). Do not install the flooring over the carpet. Remove all carpet before proceeding with installation and examine the sub-floor underneath. Make any repairs to the sub-floor if necessary prior to installation.
    • The flooring is not recommended to be installed over a radiant heat system.
    • Some types of nails, such as common steel nails, cement coated or some resin-or rosin-coated nails may cause a discoloration of the flooring. Use only non-staining fasteners with underlayment panels. The procedure of gluing and screwing underlayment panels is not recommended. Solvent-based construction adhesives are known to stain the flooring. All responsibility for discoloration problems caused by fastener staining or the use of construction adhesive rests with the underlayment installer.
    • All sub-floors should be checked for excessive moisture, as to not promote mold or mildew conditions under installed product. Warranty does not include coverage for damage from mold, mildew, discoloring of product from excessive alkaline, flooding, and, or other excessive water issues.
    • The flooring use is for indoor enclosed installations only, and it is not recommended and has no warranty for outdoor use.
    • Never install the flooring in high ­humidity areas where the floor is usually wet (steam rooms, bathrooms, saunas).
  2. Wood Sub-floor Preparation (Glue Down)
    • All wood floor must be suspended at least 18″ above the ground. Adequate cross-ventilation must be provided, and the ground surface of a crawl space must be covered with a suitable vapor barrier. Wood sub-floor directly on concrete or installed over sleeper construction are not satisfactory for the installation.
    • All wood and wood composition panels are suitable for use under the flooring providing that they are smooth, flat, structurally sound and free of defection, which include plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board (OSB), flake board, and wafer board. If the surface of the wood sub-floor is not smooth, a 1/4″ or thicker underlayment panel should be installed over the sub-floor.
  3. Concrete Sub-floor Preparation (Glue Down)
    • Concrete sub-floor must be dry, smooth and free from dust, solvent, paint, wax, grease, oil, asphalt sealing compounds and other extraneous materials. The surface must be hard and dense, and free from powder or flaking.  New concrete slabs must be thoroughly dry (at least six weeks) and completely cured.
    • It is an installer’s responsibility to determining whether the concrete is dry enough for installation. In general, Moisture vapor emissions should not exceed 5 lbs./1000 ft.2/24 hrs. when the concrete is tested with the calcium chloride kit.
    • Holes, grooves, expansion joints and other depressions must be filed, and toweled smooth and feathered even with the surrounding surface.
    • Concrete sub-floor with a radiant heating system is not satisfactory for installation.
  4. Installation over Existing Floor Coverings (Glue Down)

    The flooring could also be installed over most glued down or nailed down existing hard surface floors, provided that the surface of the existing floor can be made smooth and solid. The flooring cannot be installed over any existing type floating floors.

  5. Application of Adhesive and Joint Sealer (Glue Down)
    • It is recommended that DriTac Eco-5500 or FERMA DT-ECO-5500 could be used as the adhesive applied for the installation. It is an eco-friendly pressure sensitive flooring adhesive designed for luxury vinyl tile. This adhesive is formulated to be extremely versatile, allowing installation by using the wet-lay or flash-off method.
    • The recommended trowel notch size, 1/16” wide, 1/16” deep, 1/16” apart. It is approximately 200 SQFT /Gallon spread rate.
    • Spread the adhesive over one-half of the subfloor and a few inches beyond the center chalk line.
    • Allow the adhesive to dry completely to a tack before installation. Normal dry to tack time is about 45 to 60 minutes; longer in cool or humid conditions. The adhesive will turn from light blue to clear when tacky dry and will not transfer to the finger when firmly touched. Do not use fans to accelerate adhesive drying time. Fan drying can cause the top surface of the adhesive to dry prematurely, trapping residual moisture in and preventing the adhesive from fully curing.
    • The installation should be done within 12 hours after adhesive turns clear.
    • Lay tile spacers 1/16” to ¼” to allow for grouted installation. Do not use tile spacers if installing without grout.
    • Wet adhesive could be removed with a damp cloth, and it could be removed with mineral spirits or a safe solvent. Hands and tools may be cleaned with waterless hand cleanser available at hardware or auto supply stores.
    • Joint Sealer is designed to keep surface water and dirt from penetrating un-grouted tile joints. Do not use joint sealer on walls, other vertical surfaces. Apply joint sealer to the tile joints only.
  6. Layout of the Room (Glue Down)
    • Plan the layout of the room before installation so that the tile joints fall 6” away from sub-floor joints.
    • Use the most prominent wall in the room to find the center point of the room.
    • Divide the room into 4 equal quadrants by making 2 perpendicular lines on the sub-floor intersecting at the center points.
    • Leave 1/8” gap between the tile and vertical surface (wall and cabinets). Cover the gap after the tile is installed with wall base or other moldings.
    • Start from the center point determined the distance between the last full tile, and the perimeter walls and cabinets. A balanced layout will result in boarder tile no less than half a tile.
  7. Installation-without Grouting (Glue Down)
    • Installation could be conducted without or with grout.
    • Start in one quadrant and begin installation where the guidelines intersect.
    • Install the tile along the chalk lines using tile spacers to maintain desired joint grout width. If installing without grout, do not use tile spacers.
    • Press the tile firmly into the adhesive. Do not slide the tile into place.
    • Cut and fit border tile at the perimeter of the room.
  8. Installation-with Grouting (Glue Down)
    • Start in one quadrant and begin installation where the guidelines intersect.
    • Install the tile along the chalk lines using tile spacers to maintain desired joint grout width. If installing without grout, do not use tile spacers.
    • Press the tile firmly into the adhesive. Do not slide the tile into place.
    • Cut and fit boarder tile at the perimeter of the room.
    • Remove tile spacers for grouted installation.
    • Roll entre floor with 100 lb roller prior to using grout, either diagonally across tile joint in both direction, and using a hand roller in confined area.
    • Grouting may be done immediately or on the following day.
    • Ensure that all tile edges are firmly seated in the adhesive before starting grouting.
    • Follow the application instructions as specified on the grout container, and work small section of the floor at a time.
    • Use a hard epoxy grout float to apply the grout.
    • Do not spread grout over the entire surface of the tile. Apply the grout and pack it down in the immediate area of the open joints
    • Hold float in almost vertical position and strike off excess grout, pulling the float diagonally across the joints.
    • Two buckets and sponge may be needed to loosen the grout on the face of the tile
    • Use one bucket of water to wipe excess grout off the tile as it is installed, which will prevent the grout from drying to the tile
    • The other bucket is for the final removal of residues and smoothing the joints
    • It is normal to have a grout haze remaining after initial cleaning up once the grouted joints have completely dried.
    • Traffic should be kept off the installation at least 24 hours until the grout has been completely dried.
    • Replace wall base and trim molding.
  9. Installation-Warning (Glue Down)
    • Do not wash or scrub the new flooring for at least 5 days after installation.
    • Do not use solvents or grout haze removers.
    • Tile may be walked on lightly immediately only if it is installed without grouting. No heavy tolling traffic for additional 72 hours after installation.
    • Use pieces of hardboard or underlayment panels to protect the tile when moving furniture or appliance back into the room.
    • Do not use mats with latex or rubber backing due to a possibility to cause discoloration of the tile.
    • Do not use the vacuum that uses a beater bar or turns beater bar off.
    • Do not use electric brooms with hard plastic bottoms with no padding.
    • Do not use abrasive scrubbing tools.
  10. Repair (Glue Down)

    If a plank becomes damaged, it could be replaced.
    If the tile is installed with grout:

    • Use a heat gun to warm the grout along one edge of the tile. The grout will soften when heated.
    • Place a straight edge over the center of the grout line and cut the grout with a sharp utility knife.
    • Remove as much of the grout as possible using care to avoid cutting into the edge of the adjacent tile. Repeat this process on all four sides of the damaged tile.
    • Next, heat the tile a few inches in from the corner. While the tile is warm, drive a putty knife or screwdriver into the heated area with a hammer.
    • Then, pry upward to release the tile from the adhesive. Continue lifting the tile as you heat it until it is completely removed.
    • To install the new tile, re-apply the adhesive over the exposed subfloor using the flat side of a trowel.
    • it is not necessary to remove the old adhesive.
    • Allow the adhesive to dry completely to a tack and then reinstall the new tile using spacers to maintain the grout line width.
    • Roll the tile with a 100-pound, three-section roller.
    • Re-grout the tile with Grout following label instructions. Allow grout to dry for 24 hours and remove any remaining grout haze.
    • Use a utility knife and carefully cut through the joint sealer using care to avoid cutting into the adjacent tiles.
    • Follow the same procedure for Grouted Floors to remove the tile and re-adhere the replacement tile.

    If the tile is installed without grout:

    • Use a utility knife and carefully cut through the joint sealer using care to avoid cutting into the adjacent tiles.
    • Follow the same procedure for grouted tile to remove the tile and re-adhere the replacement tile.
    • Re-apply joint sealer along all four sides of the tile to seal the joints.

     

  11. Further Information (Glue Down)

    FERMA FLOORING is a member of National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). For more technical information about the installation, please also refer to other associated instructions by NWFA which may be applied to installation of luxury vinyl flooring as follow:

  12. General Information (Locking System)
    • Luxury vinyl tile under the brand name of SAHARA TILE by FERMA is designed to be floated or glued for its installation. Floating means that it should never be nailed or glued to the sub-floor. Glue-less luxury vinyl tile is joined together by a specially designed mechanical locking system with no adhesive being required to join the planks. This installation instruction is specified for click luxury vinyl tile by locking system (glue-less luxury vinyl tile).
    • Although click luxury vinyl tile is glue-less, it is better to store the unopened cartons for approximately 48 hours in the area where the tile will be installed. The flooring should be installed in climate-controlled, indoor locations between 68F-72F and relative humidity of 35% -55% year round.
    • The jobsite should be cleaned and cleared of other trade apparatus that may damage an installation.
    • All sub-floor or underlayment patching must be done before installation. Even though it is installed as a floating floor, correct preparation of the sub-floor is still a major part of a successful installation. It is required that sub-floor system is free of deflection. Sub-floor variations should not exceed 1/8″ in 6′ (3.18 mm in 1.8 m). All high spots must be sanded or ground smooth. Fill in low spots, cracks, and depressions. Roughness or unevenness of the sub-floor may telegraph through the new flooring, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots.
    • The installation of click luxury vinyl tile must be conducted after kitchen cabinet or counter is installed. No flooring should be installed underneath any kitchen cabinet or counter. Otherwise, it will be treated as improper installation. 
    • Click luxury vinyl tile could be installed over existing resilient floor coverings, wood flooring, and ceramic tile (grout joints must be leveled). Do not install the flooring over carpet. Remove all carpet before proceeding with installation and examine the sub-floor underneath. Make any repairs to the sub-floor if necessary prior to installation.
    • Some types of nails, such as common steel nails, cement coated or some resin-or rosin-coated nails, may cause a discoloration of the flooring Use only non-staining fasteners with underlayment panels. The procedure of gluing and screwing underlayment panels is not recommended. Solvent-based construction adhesives are known to stain the flooring. All responsibility for discoloration problems caused by fastener staining or the use of construction adhesive rests with the underlayment installer.
    • All sub-floors should be checked for excessive moisture, as to not promote mold or mildew conditions under installed product. Warranty does not include coverage for damage from mold, mildew, discoloring of product from excessive alkaline, flooding, and, or other excessive water issues. Moisture content of wood subfloor must be less than 14%. If the flooring is installed over concrete sub-floors directly, a calcium chloride test is needed. The maximum acceptable reading is 3.0 lbs/24 hours/1000 sq. ft.
    • The flooring use is for indoor enclosed installations only, and it is not recommended, and has no warranty for outdoor use.
    • If a single room is large and has a length of 45 feet and a width greater than 25 feet, an addition of a tee molding expansion joints will be required. Extra caution must be exercised when transitioning from a larger area to a smaller area. Be certain to maintain adequate expansion in the doorways by using T­-moldings and/or undercutting the door frames.
    • Never install click luxury vinyl tile in high ­humidity areas where the floor is usually wet (steam rooms, bathrooms, saunas).
  13. Wood Sub-floor Preparation (Locking System)
    • All wood floor must be suspended at least 18″ above the ground. Adequate cross-ventilation must be provided, and the ground surface of a crawl space must be covered with a suitable vapor barrier. Wood sub-floor directly on concrete or installed over sleeper construction are not satisfactory for the installation.
    • All wood and wood composition panels are suitable for use under the flooring providing that they are smooth, flat, structurally sound and free of defection, which include plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board (OSB), flake board, and wafer board. If the surface of the wood sub-floor is not smooth, a 1/4″ underlayment panel should be installed over the sub-floor.
  14. Concrete Sub-floor Preparation (Locking System)
    • Concrete sub-floor must be dry, smooth and free from dust, solvent, paint, wax, grease, oil, asphalt sealing compounds and other extraneous materials. The surface must be hard and dense, and free from powder or flaking.  New concrete slabs must be thoroughly dry (at least six weeks) and completely cured.
    • It is an installer’s responsibility to determining whether the concrete is dry enough for installation.
    • Holes, grooves, expansion joints and other depressions must be filed, and toweled smooth and feathered even with the surrounding surface.
    • Concrete sub-floor with a radiant heating system is not satisfactory for installation.
  15. Installation over Existing Floor Coverings (Locking System)

    The flooring could also be installed over most glued down or nailed down existing hard–surface floors, provided that the existing floors surface can be made smooth and solid. The flooring cannot be installed over any existing type floating floors.

  16. Installation (Locking System)

    The luxury vinyl tile is designed to be installed as a floating floor. Do not secure to the planks to the sub-floor. Always undercut all doorjambs. Use care when installing wall moldings and transition strips to not fasten through the flooring.

    • It is important to balance the layout of the plank format. Proper planning and layout will prevent narrow plank widths at wall junctures. Determine layout to prevent having less than a half plank width or very short length pieces.
    • As with all plank products, lay the long dimension of the plank parallel to the long dimension of the work area.
    • Accurately measure the room to determine the centerline, adjust this established line to accommodate a balanced layout and then transpose this line to a comfortable width away from the starting wall (approximately 2′ to 3′ wide). Determine if the starter row will need to cut. If the first row of planks does not need to be trimmed in width, it will be necessary to cut off the unsupported tongue so that a clean, solid edge is toward the wall.
    • Position the first plank so that both the head and side seam groove is exposed. This requires installing the product from left to right in the room.
    • Install the second plank in the row by angling the end tongue into the end groove of the first plank. Be careful not to bend the corner of the plank. Maintain an expansion gap of approximately 5/16″ from the wall. Then cut a plank to length to start the second row. Stagger the end seam at least 6″ from the first plank.
    • Install the first plank in the second row by inserting the long side tongue into the groove of the plank in the first row. This is best done with a low angle of the plank.
    • Install the second plank in the second row by inserting the short end tongue into the previously installed plank groove. Align the plank so the long side into the previously installed plank groove. Align the plank so the long side tongue tip is positioned just over the groove lip of the plank in the first row. Working from the end seam, at a low angle, insert the long tongue into the groove of the adjoining plank. Very little force is required to seat the tongue into the groove. You should feel the tongue lock into the groove.
    • Work across the length of the room installing planks along the wall in the first row and then aligning the planks in the second row. It is critical to keep these two rows straight and square, as they are the foundation for the rest of the installation. Check square-ness and straightness often.
    • Cut the last plank in the first row to fit approximately 5/16″ short of the end wall. Planks may be cut with a utility knife using the “score and snap” technique. Oftentimes the remainder of this plank may be used to start the third row.
    • Continue installing planks, being certain to maintain a random appearance and offset end seams by at least 6”. Maintain a 5/16″ expansion gap at all fixed vertical surfaces. Check to be certain all planks are fully engaged. If slight gapping is noticed, the gap can be tapped closed using a scrap of flooring and a tapping block.
    • When fitting under door casings, etc, the flexibility and low angle of connection of the flooring becomes evident. If necessary, a flat pull bar or last board puller may be used to assist in locking the planks.
    • When fitting around obstacles or into irregular spaces, the flooring could be cut easily and cleanly using a utility knife with a sharp blade. It is often good to make a cardboard template of the area and transfer this pattern to the plank.
    • Protect all exposed edges of the flooring by installing wall molding and/or transition strips. Use caution to prevent the fasteners from securing the planks to the sub-floor.
    • Protect the finished flooring installation from exposure to direct sunlight.
  17. Repair (Locking System)

    If a plank becomes damaged, it could be replaced.

    • If the damaged plank is along the perimeter of the room, the easiest way is to disconnect the planks until the damaged plank is removed. Replace the plank and reassemble the planks.
    • If it is impractical to disconnect and reassemble the plank, the following procedure should be used:
      • (a) Using a straight edge and a sharp utility knife, cut out and remove the center of the damaged plank, leaving approximately a 1″ strip attached to the surrounding planks on all sides.
      • (b) Carefully cut back from the corners of the plank to the inside edge.
      • (c) Remove the plank edges by wiggling the cut plank out from the tongue and groove of the surrounding planks.
      • (d) Prepare the replacement plank by placing the plank face down and folding back and removing the groove strip on both the long and end profile. Using the decorative surface of the tongue end as a guide, cut away this overhanging profile using a sharp utility knife.
      • (e) Position the replacement plank by engaging the tongue of the long side into the groove of the adjoining plank. Hinge the prepared replacement plank into position.
      • (f) Use a hand roller to assist in aligning the plank edges into position.
      • (g) Weight the replaced plank for at least 15 minutes until the sealer secures the planks.
  18. Further Information (Locking System)

    FERMA FLOORING is a member of National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). For more technical information about the installation, please also refer to other associated instructions by NWFA which may be applied to installation of luxury vinyl flooring as follow:

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