Wondering how to install vinyl plank flooring in your home? Well, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going through the process step by step so that you will know how to install vinyl plank flooring all by yourself.
Step 1: What to Buy
If you want to install vinyl plank flooring in your home, the first thing you need to do is to acquire the proper tools and equipment.
Let’s start with the vinyl planks themselves. You should know that one of the many benefits of vinyl planks is that there are three different types, all of which require a different installation process.
Type 1: Glue Down
As their name suggests, glue down vinyl flooring is installed by applying an adhesive to the subfloor and then placing your planks on top while applying pressure. We’ll get into the details later, but for now it is important to know that glue down flooring should only be installed directly to the subfloor. It should not be installed on top of your previous flooring.
Type 2: Interlocking
Alternatively, interlocking vinyl planks do not utilize an adhesive and can be installed on top of other vinyl flooring (although there should never be more than two layers of flooring on top of your subfloor at any given time). Interlocking vinyl planks have grooves that snap together to create a floating floor. For reference, a floating floor is a floor type that is not glued or nailed down.
Type 3: GripStrip
GripStrip vinyl flooring essentially functions as a combination of the other two types. Like interlocking planks, GripStrip flooring can be installed on top of previous vinyl flooring and, like glue down planks, it utilizes an adhesive. The difference, however, is that GripStrip flooring uses an adhesive to stick planks together rather than to the floor. Therefore, GripStrip flooring also creates a floating floor.
Now that your flooring is all picked out, you’re going to need some tools for the job. First, you’ll need something to cut your vinyl flooring. There are multiple tools you could use for the job, but the easiest and arguably the best is a good utility knife. You’ll also want some basic tools for measurement such as a measuring tape and a straightedge. Once you have your measuring tools, be sure to determine the size of your floor so you know how many vinyl planks to purchase.
Note: If you are installing glue down flooring, be sure to purchase a trowel as well.
Step 2: Prepping Your Floor or Subfloor
Now that you have all your materials, it’s time to prepare your floor or subfloor. You’ll want to make sure everything is as clean and level as possible. If your subfloor is not level, you should sand it down. However, if you are installing on top of old vinyl flooring and you find it is not level, you should not sand it down. Instead, you will have to tear it up. This is because old vinyl flooring often contains asbestos and therefore is quite dangerous.
Step 3: Take Your Measurements and Begin Cutting
Before actually laying plank to floor or subfloor, you should plan carefully so that installation goes as smooth as possible.
First, you need to determine the width of the planks that will be up against the wall. Calculate this using your room measurements and the width of your vinyl planks. Make sure your first and last row of planks are equal in width.
Cut your planks to fit the shape and size of your room. It is recommended that you stagger the ends of your planks by 6 inches between rows.
Also, keep in mind that to reduce the amount of cutting you have to do, it is recommend that you run your planks along your longest wall.
Finally, be sure to plan for any abnormalities in your room. You may have to make triangular cuts for odd corners or undercut door jambs. Be sure to plan for this ahead of time as you don’t want any surprises in the installation process.
For more information on measurements and planning, I recommend watching tutorials on YouTube which will both help you grasp the spatial component of this process and allow you to research problems that are specific to the room you are working with.
Step 4: Installing Your Vinyl Plank Floor
Now you’re ready to lay your floor. However, as mentioned earlier, the exact nature of the installation process will change depending on what type of vinyl flooring you are installing. Remember: you should always follow manufacturer recommendations on top of what you read here. For instance, each manufacturer will tell you to account for expansion space, though the amount will differ depending on the product. Keep this in mind when installing and making measurements. That said, let’s go through the basic installation process for all three types of vinyl flooring.
Type 1: Glue Down
When installing glue down vinyl flooring, you will want to start in the center of your room rather than on the border. Mark where your first line of boards will be placed with chalk. Once you have done so, start applying the adhesive to your subfloor using your trowel and allow it to set. Then begin placing your vinyl flooring in accordance with your measurements. Continue to place each row and be sure to wipe away excess adhesive.
Type 2: Interlocking
Once you have your measurements, installing interlocking vinyl planks is a breeze. Start up against the wall and link planks together by holding them at an angle and then snapping them into place. As you work, remember to trim the first and last plank appropriately according to your measurements.
Type 3: GripStrip
GripStrip installation is almost identical to installation for interlocking vinyl planks. You should start against the wall and (after making the appropriate cuts) begin locking planks together. The difference is, with GripStrip, things are locked into place with an adhesive strip that runs along the border of each plank. Every time you connect a plank, be sure to apply pressure so you know everything is locked into place. It is recommended upon finishing installation that you use a 100-pound floor roller to ensure your floor is completely together.
We promise it is not too hard. With the right amount of preparation, even a beginner DIYer can learn how to install vinyl plank flooring.
However, we also know that DIYing is not for everyone. If you are worried about installing vinyl plank flooring on your own, give GID Flooring a call. We offer vinyl plank flooring installation in Raleigh, and we have over 15 years of experience in the flooring industry.