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Why Do Vinyl Floor Tiles Shrink? (Quick Answers)

Vinyl is a very popular choice for floor tiles because it is resilient, cost-effective, water- resistant as well as long-lasting.

However, vinyl flooring experiences expansion and contraction due to cold & hot temperatures. This article will further elaborate on this topic, so keep reading to find out!

Why do vinyl floor tiles shrink?

Shrinkage in vinyl floor tiles may occur due to temperature change or moisture. However, there are a few other reasons which make it seem like the tiles are shrinking but in reality, gaps that have formed between the tiles due to improper placement of adhesive or worn-out plasticizers can be seen.

Do vinyl tiles shrink?

Yes, vinyl tiles naturally shrink due to change in temperature and if there is underlying moisture.

The temperature has a direct effect on the density of vinyl tiles; cold temperatures cause it to contract and hot temperatures cause it to expand.

The main cause of this might be that the vinyl tiles were not given enough time to adjust to the rooms’ temperature they will be installed in.

However, there are a few other reasons which can make you feel that then tiles have been shrunk. But there may be still gap present between the tiles.

These may include improper placement of adhesive, worn-out plasticizers or, even dragging furniture on the floors.

Over time due to the plasticizers getting worn out gaps may appear. There might be gaps if the adhesive was not properly used during installation.

These give the “illusion” that the tiles have shrunken but in reality, there are gaps that have formed after installation a long period has passed.

Do peel and stick vinyl tiles shrink?

Yes, peel and stick vinyl tiles also shrink due to the reason mentioned above which is a change in temperature & moisture.

Cold temperatures cause them to shrink or contract as they are made of plastics. If cement under the tiles is wet or damp, this will cause the adhesive and glue to weaken as a result it will start causing gaps.

Why is my vinyl floor shrinking?

Vinyl floor tiles expand and contract because of hot and cold temperatures. Moisture weakens the glue of the tiles; these are the main reason for shrinkage.

However, there are a few reasons which cause gaps to form in-between the tiles or at edges which make them look like the tiles have shrunk.


Hot and cool temperatures affect the vinyl tiles’ density which makes them expand or contract. If the tiles are not given proper time to adjust to the temperature of the area beforehand, they will most likely experience shrinkage.

For example, if the tiles were left outside in the sun before installation and were not kept in the room where they were meant to be installed, they will shrink after being installed. Because of the cool temperature of the room and they were left outside experiencing the hot temperature.


If water seeps through under the floor from the wet & damp concrete underneath, it weakens the glue & adhesive, which eventually causes shrinkage.

Worn-out Plasticizer:

The plasticizers on vinyl tiles will get worn out over long periods which causes gaps to appear. The gaps form in-between tiles or at the edges of the tiles. However, do not worry as this occurs long after installation in your home.

Failure of adhesive:

Another reason gaps may form is due to improper installation. During installation, if the adhesive is not properly put it place it will cause gaps to form.

Does vinyl flooring shrink over time?

Yes, all types of vinyl flooring are subject to shrinkage over time. Vinyl floors are very sensitive to temperature as mentioned before. Since a major component that makes up vinyl is plastics, it expands in hot conditions and shrinks in cold conditions.

However, this can be mitigated easily by allowing the tiles to adjust to the room temperature before installation. Vinyl flooring can experience gaps in between tiles or on the edges due to the plasticizers they have been worn out because of old age.

This may take place due to water seeping under the flooring or furniture being dragged over the years weakening the adhesive as well as the flooring itself.

How do you keep a vinyl floor from shrinking?

Since by now you already know about the reasons for vinyl flooring shrinkage, by following a few easy steps you can prevent shrinking:

Adjustment time:

Give the tiles enough time to get adjusted to the temperature of the room they will be installed in. The tiles need at least 48 hours to adjust to the temperature.

Clean & level:

Before installation, the floors need to be prepared. You need to make sure the floors are properly clean and are of an appropriate level. A clean and properly leveled surface ensures that there won’t be any gaps forming in the newly installed tiles.


The use of proper adhesive is very important since the results you get will depend on which one you will choose. That is why you need to make sure beforehand that the adhesive which will be used is appropriate for vinyl tiles.


You need to make sure proper equipment for tiles installation is being used.

How to fill gaps in vinyl flooring?

If you notice that there are gaps between your vinyl flooring tiles, you do not need to worry! It can be filled very easily at home using a few materials and you can easily fill the gaps in your vinyl floors using caulking or putty by following these easy steps:

Clean the floor:

Firstly, you need to clean all the dirt off the floor using a mop or vacuum cleaner. You can just clean the floor how you would normally clean it using your floor cleaner of choice and a mop.

And then you can vacuum after mopping to be extra careful. You just need to make sure there is no dirt or residual debris.

Ensure there is no moisture:

After you have successfully cleaned the area, give it at least 24 hours and check if any dirt has formed in the gaps or on the tiles.

To make sure there is no dirt or moisture, use your fingers and tap on the area. If you can feel some moisture, you can use a cloth to dry or wait for it to dry.

Fill the gaps:

Take the caulking/putty and squeeze some out to apply to the gaps of the tiles. Using a putty knife push it below to make sure it reaches the bottom and edges of the tile.

Scrape the extra:

Scrape off any excess caulking on the tiles by pulling the knife across the joints, try to make it as clean as possible. Wipe off any remaining caulking using a damp sponge or rag.

Let it set:

Allow the filler of your choice to set for as long as the manufacturing instructions say before using the floors. And you’re good to go!

Is there a filler for vinyl flooring?

Yes, there are fillers for vinyl flooring such as caulk and putty fillers especially made for vinyl flooring. The most commonly used filler for vinyl flooring is caulking. But if you are unsure of caulk, there is also vinyl putty which can be used to fill in gaps.

What do you use to fill gaps in vinyl flooring?

You can use caulk or putty which are specially made for vinyl to fill gaps in vinyl flooring. Caulking is a type of sealant made of putty-like consistency, which is used to fill gaps and joints of vinyl flooring.

Can you put a sealant on vinyl flooring?

Yes, a sealant can be used on vinyl flooring. A sealant can be used for giving the face of the tiles a finishing touch or give it an extra shine.

Although a sealant can be used on vinyl flooring for shine and polish, it can also sometimes take away the stone finish some vinyl tiles have.

Vinyl floorings are a good choice if you’re looking for resilient flooring however, they require a bit of work to maintain. It just takes a bit of planning and prevention.

Since vinyl floorings shrink, it is important to keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs as early repair is a better outcome than a full-on replacement.