Vinyl flooring is a durable, soft, flexible, and easy-to-maintain floor covering that is relatively simple to install for do-it-yourselfers. Sometimes confused with linoleum, vinyl flooring is generally cheaper, and comes in a greater variety of colors and patterns. Linoleum flooring is purported to be non-allergenic. It also is biodegradable, harder than vinyl, and heat resistant. Proper preparation, patience, and attention to detail are the three key components of successful vinyl flooring installations. Vinyl can also be installed on wood or concrete substrate. There are two basic methods of installing vinyl flooring. One is to glue down the entire sheet of new vinyl. This is most appropriate in small rooms, with lesser quality vinyl, and if you want the installation to be permanent. The other is to apply adhesive at seams and along the walls and then staple the new product in place along the walls. This is most appropriate for higher quality vinyl, larger rooms, and if you suspect that you might want to remove the vinyl again at some point. We will address gluing the entire sheet down.
- The floor surface has to be clean, dry, and flat.
- Inspect the floor for high and low spots with a straight edge and a flashlight.
- Sand down any high spots.
- Fill in any low spots with a good grade of floor leveling compound.
- Sand smooth any filled spots.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor thoroughly.
- Remove any moldings necessary.
- Place a shim on the floor next to door moldings and trim them off with a fine tooth saw.
Make a template
- Use kraft paper, or cardboard to make a template of your floor.
- Cut out small areas in the template and place tape across them to hold the template in place both on the floor and on the vinyl.
- Fit the template around obstacles like door trim, appliances, fixtures, and molding.
- If you are installing vinyl in a bathroom, remove the toilet and fit the vinyl around the closet flange for a more professional installation.
Transfer the template
- Roll out the sheet vinyl in a large area like a garage floor.
- Lay the template on the sheet vinyl and orient it according to the way you want the pattern to run.
- Cut any seams that are necessary first. Try to cut seams on a natural line in the pattern and out of high traffic areas.
- Carefully cut out around the template with scissors or a sharp utility knife.
Install the vinyl
- Roll up the vinyl and take it into the room where it will be installed. It makes a difference which way you roll up the vinyl. Roll it such that you start unrolling it on the longest wall or the wall with the most obstructions.
- Apply some adhesive with the proper size and grade of trowel along the first wall.
- Lay the vinyl down on the first edge and unroll it a little at a time.
- Apply more adhesive as you go and unroll the vinyl into the adhesive.
- Work any air pockets out with a vinyl roller. Roll the vinyl in several different directions beginning from the center of the room and rolling toward the edges.
- Fit the vinyl carefully under the door moldings and trim and cabinet toe spaces.
- Replace any moldings you had to remove.
- Let the vinyl rest for at least 24 hours before walking on it or moving furniture on it, if possible, to let the adhesive dry properly.
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