©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Use a piece of scrap flooring to cut a patch for damaged flooring.

Today's resilient floors are a real boon, but they can lose their attraction very quickly when they're damaged. Fortunately, even the worst-looking damage is easy to repair, whether the resilient flooring is tile or sheet vinyl. Modern resilient flooring products include vinyl composition tile (VCT), vinyl tile and sheet flooring, linoleum tile and sheet flooring, and cork tile and sheet flooring.

Tile Floors

Tile repairs are very simple, because only the affected tiles must be repaired. If a tile is loose, it can be reglued with floor tile adhesive; if it's just loose at one edge or corner, there may be enough old adhesive left on the tile to reattach it. Cover the tile with aluminum foil, and then with a clean cloth. Heat the loose edges with an iron, set to medium heat, to soften the old adhesive and rebond it. When the adhesive has softened, weight the entire tile and let the adhesive cure for several hours or overnight.

If the old adhesive isn't strong enough to reattach the tile, use a floor tile adhesive made for that type of tile. Heat the tile as described above, and carefully lift the loose edges with a paint scraper or a putty knife. Scrape the old adhesive off the edges of the tile and apply a thin coat of new adhesive, using a notched spreader or trowel. Then smooth the tile firmly from center to edges and weight the entire tile. Let the adhesive cure as directed by the manufacturer before removing the weights.

If a tile is damaged, you can replace it. To remove the tile, carefully heat it with a propane torch with a flame-spreader nozzle, taking care not to damage the surrounding tiles. Pry the damaged tile up with a paint scraper or a putty knife. After removing the tile, scrape all the old adhesive off the floor to make a clean base for the new tile. Fill any gouges in the tile base with wood filler or floor-leveling compound, and let the filler dry completely.

Check the fit of the new tile in the prepared opening, even if you are using the same standard size as the old tile. If the new tile doesn't fit exactly, sand the edges or carefully slice off the excess with a sharp utility knife and a straightedge. When the tile fits perfectly, spread a thin coat of floor tile adhesive in the opening, using a notched trowel or spreader. Warm the new tile with a clothing iron to make it flexible, and then carefully set it into place in the opening, pressing it firmly onto the adhesive. Weight the entire tile firmly, and let the adhesive cure as directed by the manufacturer. Remove the weights when the adhesive is completely cured.

Sheet Floors

When the floor is badly worn or damaged, use scrap flooring to patch it. You'll need a piece of flooring a little bigger than the bad spot, with the same pattern.

Step 1: Position the scrap over the bad spot so that it covers the damage completely, and align the pattern exactly with the floor pattern.

Step 2: Tape the patch firmly in place on the floor, using package sealing tape all around the edges. Then, with a straightedge and a sharp utility knife, cut a rectangle through the scrap piece and through the flooring below it, to make a patch bigger than the damaged area. Cut along joints or lines in the pattern, if possible, to make the patch harder to see. Be sure the corners are cleanly cut.

Step 3: Once the flooring is cut through, untape the scrap piece and push out the rectangular patch. Soften the old flooring inside the cut lines by heating it with a clothing iron, set to medium heat. First, cover the patch area with aluminum foil and then with a clean cloth; press until the adhesive holding the flooring has softened. Carefully pry up the damaged piece with a paint scraper or putty knife. Scrape all the old adhesive off the floor to make a clean base for the patch. If there are any gouges in the floor, fill them with water putty and let it dry completely.

Step 4: Install the patch in the opening. If it binds a little, you can sand the edges slightly with medium-grit or fine-grit paper to adjust the fit. When the patch fits exactly, spread a thin coat of floor tile adhesive in the opening with a notched trowel or spreader. Then set the patch into the gap, press it firmly in, and wipe off any excess adhesive around the edges.

Step 5: Heat-seal the edges to the main sheet of flooring. Protect the floor with aluminum foil and a clean cloth, as above; press the edges firmly but quickly with a hot iron.

Step 6: After bonding the edges, weight the entire patch firmly and let the adhesive cure as directed by the manufacturer. Remove the weights when the adhesive is completely cured. Don't wash the floor for at least a week.

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