Home DIY: How To Install a Vinyl Floor
The quality of your finished vinyl four will depend largely on the quality of your preparation work. Most vinyl is thin, so any raised staples or low spots in the sub floor will show through. You’ll also need to spend some time carefully creating a template for an exact fit and smooth seams. If you’re interested in adding vinyl to your home, here’s what you need to know about achieving a professional installation.
A Smooth Sub-floor
Start by visually inspecting the floor for any stray staples or raised nail heads. Next, go over the floor with a putty knife to feel for any imperfections. Items that stick up can be hammered down, and low spots can be leveled out using a special leveling compound available at the home improvement store. Allow the leveling compound to dry completely before moving onto the next step.
Make the Template
You can purchase rolls of paper for creating a template of your floor. Cut away the excess paper until you have an exact replica of your floor. Lay the vinyl down in a larger room with the template over it. This allows you to easily cut your vinyl to fit perfectly. Make sure the floor is perfectly clean to avoid getting debris on the vinyl. Use a special hooked cutter for slicing through the vinyl, and then roll it up loosely to move it into the installation area.
If the vinyl is too large for this method, then you can use another process. Start by rolling the vinyl out loosely in the room, and then cut off the sections that you know will be excess. Leave several inches overhang in all of these areas so that you can fine-tune it later. Working one wall at a time, roll the vinyl back a few inches. Use a strip of craft paper to cut a template of that wall. Next, shift the vinyl down a few inches, put the craft paper on top, and cut the pattern for just that wall. Put the vinyl back into position before moving to the next wall. Work around the room in a methodical manner to trim and perfect all edges. Always use a straight edge when possible for smooth cuts.
Spread Adhesive and Lay Floor
Start with the wall furthest away from the door. With the vinyl in position, roll it away from the wall about 24 inches. Apply the adhesive in that area, and then roll the flooring back in place. Use a block of wood or a special roller to secure the vinyl to the floor. Moving to the other side of the room, roll the vinyl reasonably tight until it’s on the initial adhesive strip. You can now apply adhesive in a one- to two-foot section and start unrolling the flooring. Be sure to smooth out the vinyl and eliminate any air bubbles as you go. Continue working across the floor in this manner until you have attached all the flooring. Dry the floor for 12 to 24 hours before allowing any heavy traffic or furniture you want.
When you’re installing vinyl, it’s worth the extra money to purchase heavier vinyl material and to rent a professional rolling tool. The job will go more quickly, and the finished project will look much better.
This post was written with help from Centura Tile of Vancouver, a supplier of commercial and vinyl flooring.