Before & After: These Glam Peel-and-Stick Floor Tiles Refreshed a Bland Kitchen

published Sep 4, 2023
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White stone tiled floors in apartment before renovation.

There are seemingly infinite renter-friendly updates you can make to your kitchen — like hanging prepasted wallpaper on the walls or attaching peel-and-stick wallpaper to your cabinets to make the doors pop. And while these projects have their obvious (and visible) upsides, it’s essential to try to do them correctly the first time around to prevent any major issues in your rental kitchen.

That’s why Katelyn Sailor, who rents this glamorously modern New York City apartment, seriously researched how to ensure her peel-and-stick floor tiles would stay in place for as long as possible. And she found that the key to long-lasting, temporary floor tiles is to make sure your floor is as clean as possible before applying the tiles. Here’s how she did it. 

How to Prep a Floor Before Applying Peel-and-Stick Tiles

When Sailor and her husband, Kyle, moved into the apartment, the kitchen tiles were high on their list of kitchen updates to make. Sailor prioritized the DIY as her first kitchen reno project and ordered a pattern from Etsy. But that was the easiest part of the process. 

“The hardest part of the peel-and-stick floor tiles was cleaning the floors,” Sailor shares. “It’s important to degrease the floors so the tiles stick well. I spent hours on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors.”

Sailor had never installed peel-and-stick floor tiles, but aimed to ensure the area was “spotless” before applying them. Here are step-by-step instructions on how Sailor got her ceramic tile floor squeaky-clean. 

  1. Thoroughly vacuum and mop the floors. 
  2. Use a scrub brush and a kitchen-floor degreaser to wash the floors.
  3. Spray the degreaser on the tiles and let it sit for a bit, then scrub each floor tile individually. 

Cleaning on your hands and knees might not sound like a lot of fun, but it’s the key to being extra effective. (You can also use an electric scrubber for a little extra cleaning power.) Luckily for Sailor, her kitchen floor was relatively small, so the process only took her a couple of hours to really get it sparkling. 

As soon as the tile grout went from black (due to years of city grime and dirt) to sand-colored, Sailor knew it was time to start laying the peel-and-stick floor tiles. 

“Once they were clean, it was easy to stick the tiles. I ordered tiles that were the same size as the original ones, so they fit perfectly over the square,” Sailor writes. “I wanted to keep the original grout showing, but it was a sand color and didn’t look great. I used a black grout pen from Amazon to color the grout to match the black-and-white tiles.”

In the end, Sailor gained two wins from the project — she transformed her bland kitchen floor into a beautiful masterpiece, and ensured the underlying ceramic tiles remained in mint condition in the process.