You have decided to go with vinyl flooring and are finally settled on your home’s flooring aesthetic. Now, it is time to make sure that it is properly installed. Whether you are planning to do-it-yourself or engage a flooring contractor, this guide will help to familiarise you with the process. There are slight differences in installation depending on the type of vinyl flooring that you choose and the areas of the home you are working with.
Before embarking on the actual installation, you should determine the type of vinyl flooring that best suits your renovation needs as well as your desired layout.
Floating vinyl flooring has either an interlocking click-and-lock system or pre-applied adhesive that connects the tiles or planks to one another. Both cover the entire subfloor without adhering directly to it in any manner. With this method, installation is hassle-free as no mess is created from the use of an adhesive. There is also no need to dismantle the existing flooring as the floating floor can be installed directly over it.
Depending on the type of vinyl flooring that you are using, adhesive may be already present on the tile or plank, or it may need to be spread all over the subfloor before installation. The former peel-and-stick type attaches to the subfloor when pressed in place and can enable easy removal of individual tiles or planks in the event of replacement.
You can forgo this step if vinyl tiles are your desired flooring type, as a simple grid pattern would suffice. If you are using vinyl planks, however, determine the lay pattern of the planks. To mimic the look of natural hardwood, herringbone, brick, and parquet basket-weave patterns are all popular patterns for vinyl planks.
Before installation, shuffle the tiles or planks to maximise subtle differences in colour and pattern and ensure the appearance of natural-looking variation in your flooring.
After determining the type of vinyl flooring and your desired layout, care should be taken to ensure that the subfloor is dry, level and free of any debris before starting installation. Any large cracks should be filled with a patching compound. Installing over an uneven subfloor will result in telegraphing, a process where irregularities or patterns from the subfloor transfer to the floor above it and become noticeable.
Most vinyl flooring is designed to be installed directly over the subfloor so an underlayment will not be necessary. The vinyl flooring should be allowed to acclimatise to the temperature of the room, ideally for 48 hours, before installation.
- Step One: Square the Room
Measure the walls of the room and chalk two lines so they intersect in the middle of the room. Lay a carpenter’s square at one of the four corners of intersection to ensure that your lines are fully aligned against the carpenter’s square and make adjustments if necessary.
Squaring a room is most suitable for rooms that are in a straightforward square or rectangular shape, for example, an open-concept bedroom.
For areas that are adjacent to these rooms, full tiles should be laid down at the point of transition rather than at the centre. Additionally, for bathrooms and utility rooms, it is advised to work from the door and the longest straight wall, which is typically the wall that the door swings in towards.
- Step Two: Ensure equal space at opposite ends of the room
This next step helps to ensure that as many full tiles can be laid down as possible, to minimise cutting and waste. When installing vinyl flooring for the bedroom or living areas, the eye is immediately drawn to the centre. Thus, full tiles should make up this area and any focal points of the room. Partial cuts should be left for planks or tiles bordering the room and around appliances and other obstacles.
Working from the centre also allows you to ensure that the edges of your flooring are consistent at opposite ends of the room. To determine the appropriate width of the planks or tiles at the sides of the room, measure the distance from the centre point to the wall. Divide this measurement by the width of the tile or plank. Move the centre point as needed such that the last tile or plank is no shorter than half its width.
Lastly, shave off the door jambs to ensure that the flooring can slide underneath easily.
- Step Three: Lay Down the Flooring
Now you are ready to start laying down the flooring.
When installing vinyl flooring using the glue down method, you should start from the centre of the room. Using a trowel, spread the adhesive over the subfloor, starting from the centre and gradually working outwards into the desired areas.
Allow the adhesive to set partially before laying down the tiles or planks. It should turn somewhat cloudy in appearance. Be careful not to allow too long a resting time such that the adhesive turns completely clear.
Place the short edge of the first plank at the junction of the two chalk lines and lay the planks row by row, ensuring that the edges between planks fit snugly against each other.
If installing a floating vinyl floor, connect the second tile or plank by lowering it at an angle and inserting the tongue edge into the groove edge of the first tile or plank. You may wish to use a rubber mallet block and tapping block to ensure the individual pieces are flush and securely connected, without any gaps between adjacent pieces.
Repeat this process and trim the last tile or plank as needed.
Hopefully, this article has given you some understanding of the installation process for vinyl flooring. Be sure to make time for adequate planning and preparation before installation as it can potentially save you from major headaches down the line!