Want an Affordable Accent Wall? Try Vinyl.

Want an Affordable Accent Wall? Try Vinyl.

We all know that vinyl is great on floors where there is high traffic and lots of moisture – like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms – but did you know that it is also a great substitute for both wood and tiles in those same areas on walls? Anywhere you want to have an accent wall where there is a moisture problem, and a limited budget, vinyl is the way to go. Designers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts are using vinyl on walls, on ceilings, as backsplashes, in laundry rooms, and in mud rooms.

Vinyl tiles and planks offer something that no other flooring medium offers, massive flexibility. With the many advances in the creation of vinyl flooring products, there are more options and the end products look and feel more realistic. They are also easier to work with if you are into doing it yourself.

An accent wall can be created in a few hours using vinyl self-stick squares and planks. Or an old ceiling can be made beautiful with any number of recreated modern tile patterns. So how do you do it?

Preparation is key.
Like painting, the ease of creating a unique wall or ceiling is all in the preparation of the surface. Vinyl squares need a clean and smooth surface for the best adherence. Any unpainted drywall will need to have a coat of paint.

Start your project by removing everything from the wall, then sanding down any rough spots and then washing down the surface you are going to use with a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Dish soap removes both grime and anything oily. Give it a second scrub with plain water to rinse off any soap residue. Let the wall dry well for several hours. I prefer over-night just to be sure.

Remove any switch and wall socket plates. For a finished look, it would be good to remove any trim work, too, but it is not necessary.

So is planning.
Draw out the grid where your vinyl squares or planks are going to go directly on your wall. Figure out where you are going to have to make any special cuts, like around hoses in your laundry room if you put it behind the washer and dryer. Use a utility knife to score any pieces that will need to be cut and then snap them. Where you need a special shape, create a pattern using paper and then cut it into the tile. Make sure everything is measured and ready to go in advance. Vinyl tiles are not forgiving once stuck on the wall. They will remove chunks of drywall, so you need to get it on the wall right the first time. Prepping everything in advance will allow you to concentrate on getting your tiles in the correct place.

Once all the tiles are in place, smooth them well. A drywall knife will work well, especially a plastic one. The metal ones might cut the vinyl.

When you are done, you will have a beautiful room with a fraction of the cost of tile, and more durability than wood. The tiles will also add texture and dimension to the room, a hot thing in the design world these days. So, with a little work on your own, or bringing in a pro, a few vinyl squares can make your room go from blah to ooh-la-la!

For more information about vinyl, read some of our other articles, like “Preparing Your Floor for Pets” and “Vinyl Trends for a Fresh Summer Look” to help you forget the cold.