Vinyl Flooring Tips – Expert advice from Bob Vella, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair and DIY. Tried, true, trusted home advice

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Today’s vinyl flooring is light years better than the peel-and-stick type we remember, but just as easy to install. Here’s how it works.

Vinyl Flooring Tips

Many homeowners look down on vinyl plank flooring because they equate it with something you could buy at big box stores in the 1990s—you know, the ugly patterns and improperly aligned seams. Today’s vinyl plank flooring is world class in terms of both aesthetics and quality. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that learning how to install vinyl plank flooring is as easy as ever.

What Is Loose Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

With modern advancements in quality, design and appearance, vinyl plank flooring is a great option for almost any space in the home. It’s especially good for homes with kids or dogs and for high-traffic areas where there’s a risk of scratches or wear.

If you’re ready to give your home decor a fresh and relatively easy update, grab a few boxes of vinyl plank flooring, sharpen your pencil, and put a fresh blade in your utility knife. It’s time to lay down some vinyl plank flooring.

When it comes to choosing quality flooring, vinyl plank flooring has the lowest installation costs. Vinyl planks are usually priced by the square foot and are sold in 22- to 24-square-foot boxes, depending on the brand. It costs from less than a dollar to $5 per square foot.

Generally, the higher the cost of quality vinyl plank flooring, the better the quality. Less expensive options might be laminate, or peel and stick (still, today’s peel and stick is better than the old tiles). Higher-quality, more expensive flooring is thicker, has built-in laminates and moisture barriers underneath, and uses an interlocking tongue-and-groove system. You may see these products labeled as luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP), but installing them is no more difficult than other vinyl flooring products.

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Can Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Be Removed And Reinstalled?

Bob Vila has partnered with Empire Today to help you easily get beautiful new floors at a great price.

Vinyl plank floors often require an underlayment to create a moisture barrier, provide support and reduce noise. The installer rolls the sheet of underlayment into the space and taps the seam before laying the floor over it. In some cases, high-quality vinyl plank flooring will have an underlayment applied to its underside, which greatly speeds up the installation process.

Note: Underlayment is primarily used for floating vinyl plank flooring. It does not make a good substrate for peel and stick flooring because it does not bond to the subfloor.

Regardless of the price, style, and quality of vinyl plank flooring, the finished product requires a smooth, flat subfloor surface. If the subfloor has warps, cracks, missing pieces, or (usually) uneven seams, vinyl plank flooring will show it. It may bounce, wear unevenly, or show humps in the floor.

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There are relatively simple solutions for these scenarios, such as installing a layer of ¼-inch luan flooring board over the existing floor or sub-floor. It creates a flat, even surface and provides an ideal substrate for underlayment vinyl plank flooring.

Installing vinyl plank flooring requires some specific tools and techniques, yet it’s a DIY-friendly job. The following tips will help you visualize the project.

One thing that hasn’t changed about installing vinyl flooring — or any type of flooring, for that matter — is the need for a perfectly smooth and level substrate or sub-floor. Inspect the condition of the existing sub-floor and determine if it will perform as is, or if a layer of lath must be installed.

When installing replacement flooring, careful measurements must be taken to ensure that the floor penetrations align with the cutouts in the existing floor. Cut holes for penetrations such as pipes and heaters with a saber saw.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Cleaning & Care Tips

Fasten the lath to the subfloor with screws spaced 8 inches in each direction, and fill all joints and fastener holes with patching compound. Just make sure the fastener heads are positioned below the surface of the underlayment, otherwise they will show through to the finished floor.

If the vinyl plank flooring option does not have an underlayment layer attached to its underside, a roll of underlayment must be laid. Remember that peel and stick floors don’t need an underlayment.

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Lay the underlayment from wall to wall, taking care not to overlap the seams. Instead, tape the seam with underlayment or house wrap tape.

Starting at one end of the room, measure the other side and divide that measurement by the width of one vinyl plank. The decibel amount represents how wide the end panel will be on the other side of the room (in percent). Do some quick math to make sure this percentage is no less than 2 inches. Adjust if necessary and place the first row in a straight line on the wall.

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For example, if a room is 107 inches long, and the vinyl floor is 5.5 inches wide, divide 107 by 5.5 inches: 107 / 5.5 = 19.45. The decimal value (.45) represents 45 percent of 5.5 inches, which is approximately 2.5 inches (5.5 x .45), the appropriate width for the last row of planks. If the width is less than 2 inches, thin the first plank slightly to get a wider last row.

For any cuts, use a tape measure or mark the board in place. Use a utility knife to score and snap the boards to length. For round cuts, use scribes to repeatedly score and transfer shapes to the planks before removing the cut. Also make sure to space the seams 3 or 4 inches apart.

Vinyl plank flooring has its pros and cons, but it’s a fairly straightforward way to make a noticeable impact in a room. As long as the subfloor underneath is in good condition, vinyl plank flooring can provide a new, fresh, luxurious feel to any space. By following the steps above, DIYers can learn how to install any type of vinyl plank flooring.

Although we’ve just covered a lot of information about installing vinyl plank flooring, you may still have some questions about the process. Here are the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

The Vinyl Plank Click Flooring I Installed In Two Rooms Develops Gaps At The Ends Between The Two Rooms. Can I Glue The Ends Together In This Area?

It depends on the size of the room and the condition of the existing flooring, but most vinyl plank flooring projects take less than a day. After the first course is completed, the workflow increases and DIYers can cover ground quickly.

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Yes, it is possible to paint vinyl flooring. Sanding the glossy finish on top, then priming the floor with latex paint should provide a suitable substrate for the latex paint. Just be sure to coat the finished product with a clear, durable sealer.

When installing plank flooring, whether it’s vinyl or wood, there are three principles to consider. First, you can follow the flow of planks in hallways and connecting rooms so that the spaces don’t feel chopped up. Second, for south-facing walls (in the Northern Hemisphere) it makes sense to install the panels from north to south, as sunlight from the windows can complement the structure. Finally, if none of these scenarios apply, simply install the planks along the longest walls.

Vinyl plank flooring products are better than ever. Today’s products are less prone to warping, splitting, separating or wearing than products sold 25 years ago. However, improper installation or poor quality substrates and underlayments can still cause the same problems.

Luxury Vinyl Tile And Plank Installation Methods

Older peel and stick floors are prone to splitting due to high humidity, poor installation, unsatisfactory substrates and age. Newer vinyl plank floors can separate from excessive heat or cold, causing the planks to expand or contract.

In terms of flooring options, vinyl plank has become all the rage after taking laminate flooring by storm several years ago. Consumers choose vinyl plank – often called luxury vinyl plank (LVP) – for many reasons, but one of the most common is ease of installation for all those DIYers out there. Additionally, it gives a real wood look and feel without the cost, is easy to clean, and doesn’t chip or scratch as easily as tile and wood.

With the ceiling market on fire, vinyl plank flooring can also add value to your property – especially for families with children and pets. Why? When you sell your home, it doesn’t need to be removed or replaced like carpet often does, which means less hassle when negotiating the finer details of your sale. If you’re ready to start shopping for vinyl plank flooring and plan to install it yourself, let us prepare you for what’s to come.

Always choose the right style for your home that will stand the test of time. Consider the wear your floors are currently seeing in a typical week from spills, dirt/mud/water, pet accidents, frequent mopping, heavy, moving furniture, etc.

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