Project Guide

How to Install Vinyl Flooring

Surface Preparation
  • If you're installing vinyl plank flooring over an existing tile floor, check that the grout lines are no larger than 1/4 inch. If they are, the floor will need to be leveled using a patching compound.
  • If you're installing over a concrete subfloor, check for moisture. A 6-mill poly underlayment should be used when moisture levels are above 5 percent. 
  • Regardless of the subfloor material, it must be sound, solid and have little flexibility.
Plan the Installation
  • Measure the room's length and divide it by the vinyl plank length. Allow for a 1/4-inch gap on either end. If the resulting number is less than 12 inches, cut your first plank accordingly to avoid having planks less than 12 inches on the opposite side of the room.
  • Measure the width of the room and divide it by the width of the plank. If the number is less than half the width of a plank, trim the first and last row to equal widths. This will result in a more balanced looking room at the end of the installation.
Install the First Row
  • Start in a corner of the room and lay the first peel and stick flooring plank down with the under edge facing away from the wall. 
  • Insert 1/4-inch spacers between the wall and the planks as you install them. This will allow for subfloor expansion and contraction. 
  • Place the second plank at a 45-degree angle with the over edge on top of the under edge. Adjust the plank so there is a tight seam and press down on the seam. 
  • Use a hand roller to strengthen the bond of the grip strips. If the seam doesn't appear to be tight, immediately separate the two planks and start over. 
  • Slowly pull the upper plank off the lower plank, being careful not to damage or tear the grip strip. Readjust and roll the seam again. You can rework seams for up to 15 minutes before the adhesive becomes permanent. 
  • Continue laying planks and rolling the seams as you go, until the row is complete.
  • When cutting end planks, be sure to cut them so the cut edge faces the wall. These cut edges and 1/4-inch gaps will be covered by moulding at the end of the installation.
Score and Snap the First Plank
  • When laying the second row of self-stick vinyl, score and snap the first plank so the seam will be staggered at least 6 inches from the seams in the first row. The staggered-seam pattern can be repeated row by row, or be random.
  • As each row is completed, place spacers at both ends to maintain a consistent gap to the wall. When installing planks around door openings, it's best to cut the door casings so the plank can slide underneath.
  • Place the plank flooring next to the casing and mark the plank's thickness. Cut the door casing with either a handsaw or a jamb cutter, which is also available at most Home Depot Tool Rental Centers.
  • Use the large floor roller back and forth in both directions to seal the seams.
  • Install the moulding, and the room is complete!

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