Asked on Jul 19, 2019

How do I remove vinyl tile adhesive that has leaked thru the seams?

by Celeste

These vinyl tiles have been our floors in our vacation retreat house for a few years. It began happening within a few weeks after installation. Of course we complained and the company offered to forgive all charges for the tile & labor. As you can see it's giving the floor a very dirty appearance. Since the tile is still in very good condition I hope we can find a way to clean it. I have attempted but have had no success. I love Hometalk & visit your site frequently. Thanks for this opportunity to consult you.

  6 answers
  • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Jul 19, 2019

    This type of tile can be grouted. I would attempt to remove the glue with a sharp blade (careful not to cut the tile) then cover the voids with grout and seal it.

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    • Celeste Celeste on Jul 22, 2019

      Laura I gave this a try and it is not only VERY difficult and time consuming but I had no luck removing it completely. I think I'll give up & begin to plan a replacement. Really appreciate your input.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Jul 19, 2019

    Hi Celeste.

    It looks like either the tile grout has deteriorated or there never was any grout used at all. Here's a tutorial on how to grout tile which I hope will help you. As Laura said, you'll need to remove the glue by carefully cutting it off. Wishing you the best.

  • William William on Jul 19, 2019

    O)nly suggestion I have is to scrape out the adhesive in the grooves. Use grout to fill the grooves. Seal the grout when dry.

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    • Janet Janet on Jul 20, 2019

      Is it smooth or rough and irregular? I mentioned my kitchen floor that was also put down with an adhesive. Although it did not seep through, the tiles themselves have a beveled edge so that it looks like grout. I was looking online for a paint to paint the "grout" so that it matches or at lease close to the color of the tiles since they are still in very good shape. I just want to lighter color between them. I wonder if you could do that as well. There is a product for painting grout but I am not sure it would work on vinyl. Is it your entire floor or just a few spots? Have you tried sanding it? But if it's a lot of spots, that could be time consuming.

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  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Jul 20, 2019

    Since your last comment about the hardness of the adhesive, I'm thinking there is not a solution for you that is easy. ANY solvent strong enough will melt the vinyl. I'm really confused -- because every square vinyl tile (not sheet of tile look-alike) I've worked with isn't "glued" down (it has adhesive on the back) and even sheet vinyl adhesive is pale and flexible. If you can't remove it manually, or just clean it really well and use a grout and sealer over the top, the whole thing's got to come up. From your picture, it looks like mold, and I wonder what the base flooring is made of - and what's beneath that. Since I don't know of any black adhesive, something it making it black and that is sending up some red flags for me. You need to put on a detective hat and maybe look beyond the cosmetic issue... just sayin'.

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    • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Jul 22, 2019

      Jan, there are vinyl tiles that have a ceramic-like appearance and that can even be grouted. I'm thinking that this is the type she has.

  • Celeste Celeste on Jul 22, 2019

    Thanks Janet, I think the installer was not experienced because the adhesive began to leak through just weeks after installation. Of course we complained and the company offered us tile & labor free of charge. Over the years it has become darker & dirty looking and I really would like to be able to clean it up. There seems to be no easy solutions to this other than to replace it. Thanks for your input.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Aug 31, 2021

    sharp blade since it seams it is not grouted