How to Install Vinyl Tiles Over Existing Linoleum Flooring

Larry Simmons

Linoleum flooring can last for years, taking constant use and abuse without showing much wear and tear. Eventually though, age begins to catch up with linoleum and the surface becomes dull and dreary. Replacing existing linoleum flooring with new vinyl tiles is a quick and easy project.

Self-stick tiles make it even more so. As long as you properly prepare the linoleum flooring and follow the vinyl tile installation instructions, your new floor can add new life to your room, ready for years of hard use with little maintenance required.

  1. Clean the linoleum surface to prepare for the new tiles. Sweep the floor to get rid of any dirt and debris. Mop the floor with a mild detergent solution of Ivory Liquid soap and warm water. Rinse the linoleum with a clean towel. For tough-to-clean areas, use a white nylon-backed sponge instead of the mop.

  2. Strip any wax buildup from the floor, as the wax could interfere with the adhesive on the vinyl tiles. Use ammonia to strip away the wax, spreading the ammonia across the floor with a dishtowel and then scrubbing the floor with a nylon brush. Remove the ammonia with a damp terry towel. Rinse any residual traces of the ammonia away using a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and a gallon of water. Allow the surface to dry before continuing.

  3. Level the floor if the surface has any embossing, cracking or seams. Leveling compound can be bought at most hardware stores. Mix the compound according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spread it across the floor using the flat of the trowel. Allow the compound to dry. During the drying process it will self-level, presenting a completely flat surface for installation of your tiles.

  4. Locate the center point of the room by measuring the length and width of the room and placing marks at the center points along the walls. Place both ends of a chalk line at opposing wall centers, raise the line slightly and release it to snap a chalk line dividing the room neatly in half. The point where the chalk lines meet is the room center.

  5. Place the first tile at the center point, aligning the tile with the chalk lines. Remove the backing paper from the tile and press it firmly into place.

  6. Continue to place tiles, aligning them based on the first tile placement, working outwards from the center of the room. When you reach the walls where partial tiles are necessary, measure the gap and cut tiles, using the utility knife, to the size needed, placing them against the wall.

  7. Roll over the completed floor with a tile roller to make sure all the tiles are secure.


Make sure the room is properly ventilated during cleaning. Use a straight edge to make cuts on the tiles. Always cut tiles on the rear of the tile, folding it towards the front to achieve a clean break.


While handling cleaning products and the leveling compound, wear latex gloves to protect your skin.