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Can You Put VCT Over Plywood? (How To)

The use of vinyl tile in the home and in your place of business is unmatched. One of the options that you have available is vinyl composite tile (VCT). Can this be installed over plywood?

Plywood makes the best subfloor when installing VCT. As long as it is clean and free of defects, you can begin installing the VCT and you will have your floor down in no time.

Clean vinyl flooring

There are a few things that need to be considered when installing VCT. It goes beyond choosing which subfloor you are going to use, it also has to do with your health and safety.

Can You Put VCT Over Plywood? (How To)

If you have an existing VCT floor down, more than likely it was installed over plywood. That means you can simply install the new VCT directly over top of it.

The benefits of installing VCT over top of an existing VCT floor include the possibility that the old floor contains asbestos. It will be encapsulated under the new floor without any problem. Tearing out the old floor, however, could expose you to asbestos and the problems associated with it.

It is also important to consider other safety measures when installing VCT. This would include using a room that was well ventilated because the fumes of the adhesive can be strong at times.

Always work with safety glasses and if you wear prescription glasses, you can purchase safety glasses that fit over them. You can also use gloves, where appropriate.

Finally, anytime you’re working on your knees, you should use quality kneepads. They can save your knees and they also help your back as well.

One other thing to consider is the fact that you are using a composite and not actually vinyl tile. That is why VCT comes from the words, ‘vinyl composite tile’.

Rather than using all vinyl in the construction of VCT, limestone and additional materials are used along with a minimal amount of vinyl. It has the look of vinyl but at a much more affordable cost.

Let’s consider some of the pros and cons of VCT and installing it over plywood. This will help you to make your decision as to whether you should install it or not.

Should You Put VCT Over Plywood?

Clean vinyl flooring

Regardless of whether it is being installed in the home or place of business, VCT offers many benefits. Here are a few for your consideration.

Stability – The stability and impact resistance of VCT is unmatched in many other types of floors. You can walk on it every day and live on it without all of the wear and tear.

Strength – The fillers that are used in VCT add to the strength of the floor. In most cases, you won’t see any damage to the floor but it will last up to two decades.

Noise – As you are likely aware, many types of floors are very noisy when you live on them. VCT tends to absorb the noise so they are very quiet while you’re walking or working on them.

Attractive – There are many different colors and designs available with VCT. Make sure you choose something that is not necessarily directly off the shelf.

Moisture – When VCT becomes wet, it doesn’t get as slippery as other types of flooring. It also does not expand when it gets wet.

Flexibility – Not only are VCT tiles flexible in a literal sense, you would be surprised with the number of different options you have available when it comes to installing the floor you desire.

Those are some of the pros associated with VCT. There are also some cones as well:

Subfloor – You can install VCT over plywood but the subfloor has to be absolutely clean. Even small particles under the VCT can end up causing brittle portions that will eventually show.

Removal – If you ever decide to remove the VCT, it is not easy to do. The adhesive that is used to hold down VCT is extremely strong.

Those pros and cons should be enough for you to make a decision on whether you should install VCT over plywood. The fact that plywood is an excellent subfloor makes it a no-brainer. The fact that VCT is beautiful and durable makes it a great option as well.

Tool Needed To Install VCT Over Plywood

Confused man standing

When you are preparing to install VCT over plywood, you should have all of your tools gathered together ahead of time. Although you have a six-hour window of time to use the adhesive, you don’t want any unnecessary delays. Here are the tools you need:

Utility Knife

VCT Cutting Tool

Combination Square


Straight Edge

Rubber Mallet

Notched Trowel





Tape Measure

Safety Glasses

Fan for Ventilation



There may be other tools that you enjoy using or you might want to consider choosing a tool that is better suited for your needs. This is just a general guide but it is one that can help to get you ready.

What Preparation Is Needed To Install VCT Over Plywood

Clean vinyl flooring

The planning portion for installing VCT over plywood is even more important than actually installing the tile. Here are some things to consider:

Design – There is no need to go with titles that are straight off the shelf. There are so many options available and you should review them because you can make your floor unique and beautiful. Gridded tracing paper can help you draw out the design in advance.

Overage – Like any other type of flooring, it’s important to purchase more than what you need to. Generally speaking, you should have about 10% more than what is necessary. This will account for any mistakes that are made and for replacing tiles if necessary.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 10, 2022.

Baseboard – The baseboard should be removed in advance. Some people use a rubberized baseboard specifically for VCT, and it is something you may want to consider as well.

Door Casings and Jambs – Since you are going to be raising the elevation of the floor slightly with VCT, you should take this time to cut off the bottom of the door jambs and casings. Don’t over-cut, just use enough to slide the VCT under for a seamless look.

Check and Repair – Regardless of whether you are using an old plywood subfloor or new plywood, you should check it carefully for any problems. This could include edges that are uneven or any issues with squeaky floors.

Holes and cracks should be filled and if there are bumps, they should be sanded down. Any old adhesive or other issues with the subfloor should be corrected at this point.

Clean And Clean Again – It really can’t be overstated that you have to have a clean plywood subfloor if you install VCT. Any small particles, even dust particles can make a difference in the quality of the installation. Sweep the floor multiple times and use a shop vac. You can also use a tack cloth for smaller areas to remove as much dust as possible.

At this point, your floor is ready for the installation of VCT. If you did everything properly, the process should be smooth from this point forward.

How To Install VCT Over Plywood

Confused man standing

It is not difficult to install VCT over plywood but it is something that requires very specific steps. Here are those steps for you to take.

1. Loose Tiles – After striking the center of the room with a chalk line, you can begin laying the loose tiles to cover the entire floor. Doing so will help you to see if you have enough tiles for the job and to ensure that there are no problems with the tiles that need to be fixed right now. You can gather the tiles in a method that will make it easy for you to install.

2. Glue – Use an adhesive with a long working time. You may be able to work with the adhesive for up to six hours in some cases. As the adhesive dries, it will be clear so you will see the lines easily through the adhesive for keeping things straight.

3. Field – Install the entire field of full tiles at this point. You can work on the tiles after you lay them because the adhesive is very strong and the tiles will not shift. That being said, you need to install the tiles properly because once they are down, they are difficult to remove.

4. Edges – Cut the tiles at the edges and fill in the border. Make sure that you don’t have a small amount of tile less than 1 inch at the edge or in the corner.

5. Mineral Spirits – If there is any excess glue on the face of the tile, you can use a rag and mineral spirits to clean it.

6. Floor Roller – Rent a heavy floor roller and roll the floor completely. This ensures that the bond between the VCT and plywood is rock solid.

7. Sealing – A few days after when the tiles were installed, you can clean the floor and put down a sealer.

8. Waxing – If you want a beautiful floor, you can use high-gloss wax. It doesn’t require any buffing and you can remove the wax occasionally with a stripping compound and reapply.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 10, 2022.

If you have a plywood subfloor, it is perfect for installing VCT. Make sure that the subfloor does not have any defects and is perfectly level and clean. You can then apply the adhesive and begin installing the VCT directly on it.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 10, 2022.

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