What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring – Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home improvement, home improvement, and DIY. Tried, true, trusted home advice
How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Today’s vinyl flooring is light years better than the leather and wood type we remember from back then, but it’s as easy to install as ever. Here’s how to do the job.
What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring
Many homeowners look down on vinyl plank flooring because they equate it to the same stuff you could buy at big box stores in the 1990s—you know, the ugly patterns and faulty seals. Today’s vinyl plank flooring is the best in the world, both in terms of beauty and quality. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that learning how to install vinyl plank flooring is as easy as ever.
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With modern advancements in quality, design and appearance, vinyl plank flooring is a great choice for any space in the home. It’s especially good for children’s or dog houses, and for high-traffic areas that are prone to scratches or wear.
If you’re ready to give your home decor a fresh and relatively easy update, grab a few boxes of vinyl plank flooring, sharpen your pencil, and put a fresh blade on your utility knife. It’s time to lay down the vinyl plank flooring.
When it comes to quality flooring options, vinyl plank flooring has one of the lowest installation costs. Vinyl flooring is usually priced per square foot and is sold in 22- to 24-square-foot boxes, depending on the brand. It costs anywhere from $1 to $5 per square foot.
Generally, quality vinyl plank flooring costs more, the better the quality. Less expensive options may be thin, or peel and stick (still, today’s peel and stick are better than the old tiles). Higher-quality, more expensive floors are thicker, have built-in subfloors and moisture barriers, and use tongue-and-groove systems. You may see these products labeled as luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP), but installing them is no more difficult than other vinyl flooring products.
Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Plank Floors
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Vinyl plank floors often require an underlayment to create a moisture barrier, provide support and reduce noise. The installer pulls the floor covering sheet through the space and tapes the seams before installing the flooring on top of it. In some cases, a high-quality vinyl plank floor will have an underlay on its underside, which greatly speeds up the installation process.
Note: Underlayment is primarily used for vinyl plank flooring. It does not make a good substrate for leather and wood flooring as it does not adhere to the sub-floor below.
Regardless of the cost, style, and quality of vinyl plank flooring, the finished product requires a smooth, flat subsurface. If the subfloor has warps, cracks, missing pieces, or (most common) uneven seams, vinyl plank flooring will show it. It may stick, wear unevenly, or show bumps on the floor.
Ultimate Guide To Vinyl Plank Flooring
There are relatively simple solutions for these scenarios, such as installing ¼-inch laminate flooring on top of an existing floor or sub-floor. This creates a flat, even surface and provides an excellent substrate for the vinyl plank flooring below.
While installing vinyl plank flooring requires some special tools and techniques, it is nevertheless a DIY-friendly job. The following instructions will help you see the project through.
One thing that hasn’t changed about installing vinyl flooring – or any flooring for that matter – is the need for a perfectly smooth and level substrate or sub-floor. Examine the condition of the existing sub-floor and determine if it will work as is, or if an underlayment is required.
When installing a replacement floor, careful measurement is necessary to ensure that the floor entry matches the cutout in the existing floor. Cut holes for inlets such as pipes and heaters with a saber saw.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Of 2023
Fasten the joist to the subfloor with screws spaced 8 inches in each direction, and fill all joints and fastener holes with patching compound. Just be sure the fastener heads are set below the subfloor, otherwise they will show through to the finished floor.
If the vinyl plank flooring option does not have a backing layer with the underside, then laying a backing roll is necessary. Remember that leather and wood floors do not require underlayment.
Lay the stock from wall to wall, taking care not to overlap the seams. Instead, tape the seams together with duct tape or duct tape.
Starting at one end of the room, measure to the other side and divide that measurement by the width of the vinyl plank. The decibel amount indicates how loud the final panel will be on the other side of the room (in percent). Do some quick math to make sure this percentage won’t be less than 2 inches. Adjust if necessary and place the first row in a straight line along the wall.
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For example, if a room is 107 inches long, and the vinyl floor is 5.5 inches wide, divide 107 by 5.5 inches: 107 / 5.5 = 19.45. The decimal value (.45) represents 45 percent of 5.5 inches, which is approximately 2.5 inches (5.5 x .45), the proper width for the last row of boards. If the width is less than 2 inches, cut the first board a little thinner to get a wider last row.
To make any cuts, use a tape measure or mark the board in place. Use a utility knife to score and sand the boards lengthwise. For round cuts, use scribers to transfer the shapes to the boards before making repeated scores and removing the cut. Make sure to space the seams about 3 or 4 inches apart.
Installing vinyl plank flooring has its pros and cons, but it’s a very simple way to make a significant impact in a room. As long as the subfloor underneath is in good condition, vinyl plank flooring can provide a new, fresh, luxurious feel to any space. By following the steps above, DIYers can learn how to install any type of vinyl plank flooring.
Although we’ve just covered a lot of information about installing vinyl plank flooring, you may still have some questions about the process. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions on the topic.
Does Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Require Underlayment?
It depends on the size of the room and the condition of the existing floor, but most vinyl plank flooring projects take less than a day. Once the first course is in, the workflow increases and DIYers can cover ground quickly.
Yes, it is possible to paint vinyl flooring. Sanding the glossy finish from above, then coating the floor with latex paint should provide a suitable substrate for the latex paint. Just be sure to coat the finished product with a clear, durable sealer.
When installing plank flooring, whether it’s vinyl or wood, there are three rules to keep in mind. First, you can follow the flow of panels in hallways and connecting rooms to keep spaces from feeling cluttered. Second, for south-facing walls (in the northern hemisphere) it makes sense to install the panels from north to south, because the sunlight spreading through the windows can complete the structure. Finally, if none of these scenarios apply, simply install the panels with the longest walls.
Vinyl plank flooring products are better than ever. Today’s products are less prone to warping, splitting, separating or wearing than products sold 25 years ago. However, improper installation or poor quality substrates and infrastructure can still cause similar issues.
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Old leather and wood floors are prone to splitting due to excessive moisture, poor installation, unsatisfactory substrates and age. New vinyl plank floors may separate with extreme heat or cold, which causes the planks to expand or contract. Often referred to as: Waterproof Laminate/Plank, LVT, LVP, SPC and WPC For simplicity purposes I will use the term vinyl plank. For blindfolds one cannot determine the resistance nor scratch resistance with blindfolds.
Layers are important. From back to front you can find an enclosed sound pad on most vinyl records. This helps with both sound and temperature. The core is usually made of a combination of vinyl and stone. The solid polymer housing is tough and waterproof. At the top of the house is where you’ll find the mirror layer; Which is what I call the beautiful layer. Color, texture and design finish are often the deciding factor when choosing your flooring.
By far the most important layer of vinyl siding is the wear layer. 6, 8, 10 mil cover layers are considered inferior and are not sold at Lang Flooring Center. The 12, 20, 22 and 30 mil products offer excellent flexibility and are ideal for covering and breaking to maintain the average family and light commercial environment. Consulting with our flooring experts will ensure that the “beautiful layer” you draw will also provide the flexibility needed for your environment. This post may contain references or links to products of one or more of our parent company and/or subsidiaries.
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