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Installing Sheet Vinyl Flooring - Part 2

Part 1

  1. Prepare The Sub-floor:

Vinyl flooring can be installed over a number of different materials. The installation of new vinyl flooring will not remove squeaks from the floor. Repair all squeaks before installing the new vinyl flooring.

Additional information on repairing squeaky floors

  • Old Vinyl or Linoleum Flooring:

If the old vinyl (non cushioned) or linoleum is embossed (has a texture) you can apply a leveler that is made to fill in the embossed surface. Any areas where the old flooring is missing must be filled in with the leveler. Remember that any imperfections in the old floor will eventually show themselves in the new vinyl as it seats itself.

  • Bare or Painted Concrete:

The concrete must be smooth. Any imperfections in the concrete will eventually show themselves through the new vinyl flooring. If there are dips, holes, or cracks in the concrete these should be filled with a concrete leveler. Use a grinder to remove any high spots or stones that are apparent. Concrete grinders can be purchased or they can be rented from most equipment rental stores.

  • Hardwood or Cushioned Vinyl:

If your current floor is hardwood or cushioned vinyl, you should install an underlayment, prior to installation. Certain plywood is certified for use as an underlayment material. If using an underlayment it is important to use a seem filler in the underlayment before installing the vinyl. If you do not use a seem filler, the seems will begin to show themselves in the new vinyl.

  1. Trimming The Vinyl Flooring To Size:

As with most flooring products, it is important to allow your new vinyl flooring to acclimatize itself to the room where it will be installed for 24 hours, before you start cutting it to size. Remember that your garage is probably not representative of the environment in the room where the vinyl will be installed.

There are two methods for cutting the sheet vinyl to the dimensions of the room:

  1. If the room is basically a square or rectangle, without a lot of indents, as you may find in a kitchen then you can fit the vinyl for installation in the following manner.
  • Unroll the sheet vinyl and cut it to dimensions that are approximately 3 inches wider than the maximum (depending on where you plan on stopping the vinyl a doorway can add 6 inches to the dimension) width and length of the room. Lay the vinyl in the room with approximately 1 1/2 inches excess vinyl on each side. Using a very sharp (change blades often – a dull blade will tear the vinyl rather than cutting it) utility knife carefully trim away the excess vinyl to the precise shape of the walls.
  1. If the room has a lot of indents then it might be easier to create a paper template of the surface area of the floor.Many manufacturers sell installation kits that include paper and all the other tools necessary for creating a pattern.
  • Place the paper on the floor and create an exact pattern of the floor – mark the pattern for the top! Remove the paper and transfer it to the vinyl flooring. Trim the vinyl flooring approximately 1 inch larger than the pattern. Place the trimmed vinyl into the room and proceed to trim to fit. Remember when transferring the pattern that it is a positive and should be placed on the vinyl with the coloring or pattern of the vinyl visible.
  1. Installing Your Vinyl Flooring:

It is important to follow the manufacturers instructions as to the method of adhering the vinyl flooring to the sub-floor. Vinyl flooring, depending on its make-up, can be installed using an adhesive under the entire floor, using an adhesive under the perimeter, no adhesive, double sided tape, adhesive at door openings only.

I always use a threshold designed to cover the edge in doorways. This prevents someone catching a shoe or heel in the edge and hurting him or herself. Thresholds are available in metal, wood and plastic in many different design and size configurations.

Replace the baseboard and doors. Dropping a hammer on vinyl flooring will most likely produce an indent, be cautious when replacing the baseboard and doors. Because vinyl is a relatively thin flooring material, it is unusual to have to trim the bottom of doors in order for them to open and close without scraping the vinyl flooring. If however, you have added an underlayment under the vinyl then trimming the bottom of the doors may become necessary.

Installation Considerations:

Discoloration Of Vinyl Flooring:

Vinyl flooring has been known to discolor and while there are few hard facts as to why, most manufacturer's believe that it is because of the use of incompatible chemicals found in the adhesives used in underlay materials, joint fillers and the adhesives used to bond the vinyl flooring to the sub-floor. Because of the potential of discoloration occurring it is important that you use only the manufacturer's recommended products for underlay, joint fillers and adhesives.

Additional information on discoloration of vinyl flooring.

Underlay Compatibility, Expansion & Contraction:

The use and proper installation of the correct underlay material, including filling and sealing the joints is critical to a successful installation. It is not uncommon to see defects in the sub-floor or the sub-floors installation show themselves in the finished vinyl flooring surface.

Additional information on using and installing underlay and sub-floor preparation.