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Remember when we decided to install vinyl plank floors in a herringbone pattern in W’s room? (W is our 16 year old). I was so so intimidated to start this project, but we are so happy with how it turned out!
And although the herringbone pattern might seem intimidating, especially for a new DIY’er, it wasn’t bad at all; in fact, I think this is a great beginner DIY project!
Since I originally posted this project, one of the most common questions I’ve received is how we cut all of the tiles in the herringbone pattern. We didn’t actually cut the tiles in the herringbone pattern- we just placed them in a herringbone pattern! (See below). This is why this is such a GREAT beginner DIY project- so much design bang for just a little effort!
That said, and keeping it real, this floor did not turn out perfectly. There are a few inconsistencies in the grout, and some of our cuts were not perfect.
Looks pretty good overall though, right? Especially when you compare it to that awful orange floor we were covering up.
If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that I really believe that perfection is massively overrated, and those small imperfections don’t stop this flooring project from being a huge success!
I want you to learn from our mistakes, though, so here are my best tips for installing regular vinyl plank tile in a herringbone pattern!
Tips to install vinyl plank tile floors in a herringbone pattern
Of course, make sure that your floor is super clean to start. If you have to remove carpet first like we did, make sure that all of the carpet tacks, staples, glue, etc., are removed. Vacuum, then mop, then vacuum and mop again.
2- Start off right!
Start in the center of the room. Don’t start in a corner! If you are using the corner of the room as the angle that you go by, it is likely to be off- and then you are starting the entire project off incorrectly. Use a carpenter’s square to determine that your angle (90 degrees) is correct from the start.
This is a carpenter’s square:
You can see in the “X” below, where we found the center of the room and marked it with the X and began from there.
Place your carpenter’s square where you have marked your center, then use the square to ensure your tiles are lined up at 90 degree angles. If you start this correctly from the beginning (super important!) you will be much more likely to maintain your tile spacing as you proceed.
By the way, I am showing this image, below, a lot, but I think it does a good job illustrating how we were laying these tiles, but there are so many different ways to lay vinyl tiles. There are even different herringbone patterns! This article on HomeTalk has a good rundown of the different patterns of laying tile, including a couple of different ways to lay herringbone tile. Check it out if you are unsure of how you want to lay your vinyl tile.
3-Whole pieces first
We found it much easier to install all of the whole pieces first, then we came back and installed the cut pieces
4- Think and plan
Lay out your tiles a few at a time first, before installing- after you’ve put a few tiles, it can get a little dizzying. There were three of us doing this project, and we kept having to check each other. Several times if we hadn’t double checked with each other first, especially towards the end, we would have installed a tile in the wrong direction. It’s easier to do than you think!
If you are grouting between your tile, don’t forget to use spacers!
(Our dog Marshall kept trying to eat the spacers. Michael told him, “Marshall, you’re never going to make varsity football if you keep eating those white crosses”.)
Grouting between the tiles gave it a nice look- but it is definitely not necessary if you want to install the tiles up against each other instead. We liked the look of the grout lines between the tiles, so that’s why we went in that direction. If you want the grout lines, though, make sure that you use tile and grout that is made for that purpose. This is the tile and this is the grout that we used.
Make sure that you maintain those spacers! The biggest issue that we had is that with all of us working together going in different directions, we somehow managed to get our spacing off- so that as we got close to the wall, our spacing got really off in some places.
And one easy grouting hack…
The boys absolutely hated grouting. I found them both using their fingers to get the grout out of the bucket and fill the grout lines. I hadn’t ordered a grout bag because the reviews for most of them are just kind of “meh”.
So this is what I rigged up for them.
I just got a ziplock bag, filled it with the grout, cut off one of the edges, and voila!
Then, use the float to work the grout into the grout lines. Our float seemed to have disappeared for this pic (maybe Marshall ate it for dessert?), so we used what we had:
These pics seem to show the true, dark colors of the tiles better than the reveal pics- lighting is everything!
Anyway, make sure that the grout is worked into the grout lines really well. You don’t want to have problems with your grout later on.
The boys were much happier with this method than the traditional “scoop and spread” method of grouting, and it seemed to go much faster as well. We never had any problems with the grout getting clogged up, like what happens a lot with grout bags, and one ziplock bag lasted us the entire room.
I’m sure this isn’t “tiling expert approved” and now is probably a good time to refer you to my Disclosures page to remind you of my amateur status as a DIY’er.
This was super budget friendly. Here is where we ended up (this all come from Lowe’s):
STAINMASTER 1-Piece 6-in x 24-in Groutable Casa Italia/Gray-Brown Peel-And-Stick Stone Luxury Vinyl Tile Residential Vinyl Tile– 250 pieces (for 15X 15 room, plus 10% extra) – @ $1.15/each- $287. 50
Pacesetter 100-Pack 1-in W x 1-in L 1/8-in White Plastic Tile Spacer– two packs (should have bought two more)- $3.96
Blue Hawk TEC Skill Set 32-oz Delorean Gray Sanded Premixed Grout– $9.42 X3- $28.26
We already had the float, trowel, and misc. other supplies.
When we priced hardwoods if we had DIY’d, and also if we had payed someone (which would have likely been what we would have had to do) it would have been at least a couple of thousand dollars.
The bottom line: W is just as happy with this floor as he would have been with anything else. It took us 3 evenings after work and one weekend day to complete. For the time, money, and outcome, we are super happy!
I hope this has been helpful for you!
Let me know if you have any questions, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you have any tips to install vinyl plank floors to share? Would you put this in a bedroom?
Edit: Here’s an update post on how we like these floors 2 years later! (Psst- we still loved them!
Need project supplies? This is what I use and recommend: