An email from Traci: I am trying to cover up some horrible vinyl tiles in my apartment's Kitchen. The kitchen is approx. 100 sq. ft. My limitations are CHEAP, VERY CHEAP and NO MORE VINYL! I am looking for the Cheapest, Greenest, Easiest solution possible.
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Hi Traci, we share your pain, as we too live in an apartment that originally came sporting some of the most stomach-churning faux brick vinyl tiles we'd ever laid eyes upon (imagine a brick wall that had fallen flat onto the floor, complete with the dirt and grime of several years embedded into it), alongside some fugly cream vinyl flooring in both the bathroom and kitchen.
We required the same budget constraints you've mentioned, so we first resorted to purchasing plain white self-adhesive vinyl tiles from Home Depot (89 cents/square) and covering ontop of the previous flooring after cleaning the surface thoroughly for proper adhesion. It made a world of difference, was affordable and fairly easy, providing a neutral-modern finish that could work by itself or partnered with some FLOR carpet tiles or a runner/rug. Plus we didn't have to resort to ripping apart our flooring, which as renters, is rarely advisable.
We're also currently considering the more involved proposition of sanding down the kitchen vinyl flooring, priming/painting it with floor paint, and then sealing it with several applications of clear finish as mentioned on several other sites. Note, this might possibly involve the use of some VOC-emitting chemicals during the deglossing step if your vinyl is shiny.
Any other ideas out there about improving Traci's vinyl floor dilemma?