How to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring
If you’ve selected luxury vinyl flooring for your home or business, you’ve no-doubt considered the many benefits of this flooring type. Known for its impressive water-resistance, scratch-resistance and all-around durability, vinyl flooring tiles and planks are some of the best choices for high-traffic living areas, including those that may get damp. On top of that, vinyl is exceptionally attractive, offering a real wood look with a lower cost. But one of the main reasons why we adore vinyl is because it’s totally DIY-friendly and can be installed even by those who are brand new to flooring.
Today, we’re discussing how to install one of the most popular vinyl flooring options out there, vinyl planks. Since they usually feature a simple “click and lock” design, these planks are uncomplicated to install. Before you begin, it’s very important that you reference your manufacturer’s installation instructions, as most flooring brands have their own distinct requirements. In general, though, here is a broad overview of how vinyl plank floors are installed. Remember, nothing compares to professional installation, so be sure to turn to the pros for the very best results.
What You Need: Your choice of luxury vinyl planks, a belt sander, spacers, a soft-faced hammer, a knife or saw, a squaring tool, a tape measure and chalk line. You can purchase your installation supplies from East Bay Supply Co., a flooring retailer or your hardware store.
Prepare the Surface and the Planks
Preparation s without a doubt the most important step when installing vinyl floors. Vinyl can be installed over existing flooring, including vinyl, parquet, laminate, tiles or linoleum, but whatever is beneath must be totally clean, even and dry. Make sure you fully read the installation instructions (twice!) before beginning.
Allow your new vinyl flooring to acclimate to the environment where it will be permanently installed for about 24 hours or however long is recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Start by using your belt sander and a coarse belt (40- or 60-grit) to thoroughly sand down any ridges, bumps or bulges in the subfloor. Remember, don’t sand any old tile floors (especially those from before the ’80s), as they may contain asbestos. Consult your professional retail installation team for this type of work.
Thoroughly clean your existing floor or subfloor by vacuuming and removing all dirt, dust and debris from sanding. Take off all molding and baseboards.
Install the Floors
Reference your manufacturer’s instructions found linked on every item page at Twenty & Oak. Before you begin, prepare your strategy. Use your chalk line to mark the center of the walls and the snap lines to ensure that you get a straight line against the wall.
Score the tongue of the plank using a utility knife and then place it on the starting line, with the tongue facing the starting wall. Place spacers between the short and long sides of the plank. Take your next plank and click it into place. Repeat this process.
The last planks in the first row will need to be cut. To do this, measure the distance between the last plank and the wall and subtract a quarter of an inch for the spacer. Your flooring installation instructions will have more specifics on this step.
Work from left to right, row by row, maintaining space around the walls as well as any columns or vertical objects. After each click, press the plank with a soft-faced hammer to ensure that it is fully locked into place.
Finish the Floors
Once you’ve got the majority of the flooring laid, it’s time to start the process of finishing so you can put your room back together and get back to enjoying it. Complete the job with a thorough cleaning and only put furniture back after you’ve added protective felt to the legs of each piece.
Remove all the spacers from the perimeter of the room.
Re-install your molding or baseboards.
Give your floor a deep vacuum and, if necessary, clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have used any type of adhesive throughout the process, avoid wet mopping your floors for a few days. There may also be a waiting period before walking on the floor noted in the instructions.
Note your warranty obligations. Every manufacturer outlines certain guidelines for maintaining warranty coverage.
When in Doubt, Hire a Professional
Whether it’s hardwood, vinyl plank or another flooring type, installation is becoming more and more DIY friendly. Still, that doesn’t mean most installations should be done by amateurs. If you have any concerns whatsoever or are dealing with a particularly challenging room configuration, an unconventional subfloor or a special environment, it’s best to get in touch with a local flooring professional in your area.
Find a professional flooring installer near you
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.