This story covers how to install dry-backed resilient tiles.
When choosing an adhesive for dry-backed tile, be sure to read labels carefully. Picking an adhesive requires a bit of science; you'll find latex-base solutions, asphalt emulsions, alcohol resins, rubber cements, and epoxies. Ask your supplier to match the qualities of the adhesive to your job.
Most vinyl adhesives are solvent-base, and that means they handle differently from thinset and other cement-base mortars. They tend to grab the trowel and are difficult to spread evenly. Practice spreading adhesive on a piece of scrap plywood before applying it to the floor. When you work with solvent-base adhesives, properly ventilate the room: Open the windows and exhaust the fumes with a window fan. Wear a respirator for full protection.
Work as much as possible from the untiled subfloor. To keep from tiling yourself into a corner, kneel on 2x2 squares of plywood at the last rows. Cut two pieces so you can move them alternately as you work across the floor.
About 4 hours for an 8x10-foot floor
Trowel, utility knife, hair dryer, chalk line, straightedge, carpenter's pencil, 100-pound floor roller
Setting and cutting tile
Repair subfloor and snap layout lines.
Tiles, adhesive, solvent
Line up the first tile with the intersection of the layout lines and set it on the adhesive. Then set the second tile against the first one and lower it in place. Don't slide the tiles; you'll push mastic up between the joints. Check the grain direction and set the rest of the quadrant.
To mark the edge tiles for cutting, set a loose tile exactly on top of the last tile in a row. Then set a marker tile on top of that one, positioning it against 1/4-inch spacers at the wall. (Resilient tile won't expand much, but the subfloor will.) Run a pencil along the edge of the marker tile to mark the cutting line.