How to fit vinyl flooring


Once the reserve of just bathrooms and kitchens, vinyl flooring is an increasingly popular choice around the home. It’s attractive with a stunning photographic finish that mimics wood and stone tile effects. It’s easy to clean and maintain with a range of suitable cleaning solutions. But possibly best of all to those who have taken the plunge, it is super DIY friendly and easy to install - and by the end of this guide, fitting vinyl flooring is something you will be able to do.

Preparing your room

Fitting vinyl flooring

Preparing your room

Preparation is often the key to undertaking successful DIY projects and fitting vinyl flooring will be no different. So, before you begin, you will need to prepare your subfloor.

It’s especially important that your subfloor – the bottom layer of your floor – is in optimum condition before you start fitting vinyl flooring. Whilst it can be fitted on a variety of different surfaces types such as wood or concrete, any surface it will be fitted on has to be both flat and clean.

BEFORE you think about preparing your subfloor and fitting your sheet vinyl flooring, first:

-          Remove any furniture or fixtures or fittings that are in the way of you accessing your subfloor.

-          Make sure the wood or concrete on the floor has not recently been treated. Make sure that subfloor is completely dry before attempting any installation.

-          Before you fit the vinyl flooring, make sure it has had 24 hours rested in the room it will be installed in. This will allow it to adapt to the climate of the room before it is fitted.

How to prepare your subfloor:

TOP TIP: Use 19mm nails for best results when nailing anything in place

1)      Remove any existing floor tiles, coverings or underlay from your floor where possible.

2)      Once anything above the subfloor has been removed, take a look at your floorboards.

Are they damaged? If so, pull them up and put down new ones – it’s cheaper and simpler to put new ones in than repair damaged ones.

3)      INSTALLING NEW FLOORBOARDS FOR YOUR SUBFLOOR? Use tongue-and-groove chipboard or hardboard sheets as a base if you want a solid, smooth base to work from. When securing the boards, nail in a triangular, pyramid formation to best fit them. If you are using hardboard sheets, lay them texture side up.

4)      WORKING ON EXISTING SUBFLOOR: ensure no nails are sticking above the surface and nail down any loose floorboards. Sand down any boards that are at a higher level than the rest.  

5)      When nailing any new boards in place, secure them by their edges first and work inwards.

6)      WORKING ON A TILED SUBFLOOR? Make sure that all your tiles are evenly grouted and secured underneath. As long as the surface is smooth, it’s suitable to have vinyl flooring laid over it.

7)      To finish: Secure your subfloor with a suitable primer.

Fitting vinyl flooring

There are three different stages you will have to consider when fitting vinyl flooring.

- Large areas
- Around utilities
- Fitting a join

Later on, we will explain the different techniques you can employ to successfully fit in different situations but first…

When installing vinyl flooring, we recommend you wear the following safety gear:

-          Knee pads

-          Safety goggles

-          Protective gloves

-          Dust mask

To start fitting vinyl flooring you will need the following tools:

-          Craft/utility knife

-          Steel rule

-          Scribing gauge

-          Glue/adhesive (as recommended by manufacturer)

Before you attempt the fitting of your sheet vinyl flooring, there are a few points that are worth keeping in mind.

1)      Remember that because sheet vinyl is fitted in one piece there will be a fair amount of wastage when fitting into tight corners, nooks and crannies.

2)      Seams are best placed in a location that is easy to hide. Doorways or walkways with frequent footfall are best avoided as a location for a seam, but underneath a piece of bulky furniture or the corner of a room would be ideal.

3)      Remember that it can be difficult to match colour between different batches of vinyl. So, where possible, try to cut all the vinyl for one room off the same roll.

4)      Patterns must be matched and checked to make sure they are running in the same direction to give you the finish you desire.

Follow these steps to fit your sheet vinyl flooring in large areas:

TOP TIP: If in any doubt about your own measurements, remember, you can simply request a free, no obligation measure and estimate from your local store online now.

1)      Ensure your newly prepared subfloor is clean, dust-free and dry. Sweep it or vacuum so it’s ready for you to work on.

2)      Make sure that the following points are fulfilled:
a) The subfloor has not just been treated with any harsh chemicals. Fumes can affective the adhesive that sticks to the vinyl to the subfloor.
b) The vinyl is warm and has had 24 hours laid flat in the room it will be installed into. This is because it is easiest to work with when it is warmer.
c) Any underfloor heating has been turned OFF 24 hours before you begin fitting.

3)      Roughly lay the vinyl, with around 75mm to 100mm of vinyl left as excess.

4)      Using a tool such as a scribing gauge, trace an accurate line of where your vinyl flooring will meet the skirting for you to later cut along.

5)      Peel the vinyl back and fix double sided tape to the floor with an adhesive at the edges.

6)      Push the vinyl back into place, carefully trimming away any excess you left for fitting until you have a clean, smooth fit.

7)      To secure: remove the backing paper from the double-sided tape and firmly press the vinyl to the floor on top of it.

8)      As a finishing touch: seal the skirting and vinyl flooring with silicone sealant OR fit a trim between the wall and the floor.

9)      Fitting around a door frame?

Make a series of vertical cuts through the vinyl to the floor. Trim the excess, but make sure to leave 50mm-100mm turned up at floor level for more accurate trimming. Then, push the vinyl space between the door frame and the floor and cut along the crease. Finally, cut the vinyl straight across the line of the door so it ends half-way under it and fit a threshold bar to hold down and protect the vinyl’s edge.

TOP TIP: Not all vinyl has to be completely glued to the floor. Heavy duty 'stay flat' vinyl doesn't shrink or lift, so you can lay it without using adhesive. Cushioned vinyl needs gluing around the edges and at joins. A general rule to follow is the thinner the vinyl flooring, the more adhesive it will need.

Follow these steps to fit your sheet vinyl flooring around utilities such as basins, pipes or toilets:

1)      Lay the vinyl as far as the front of the pedestal, then fold it back on itself. Next, cut in from the edge in a straight line to the centre of the pedestal.

2)      Being careful not to cut too far in, perform a series of cuts in the direction of the first cut in the vinyl around the base of the basin or toilet.  

3)      Continue this process until the vinyl lies flat and left side and right side of the vinyl meet at the back.

4)      Returning to the cuts you made earlier, trim each cut down until it’s a clean finish. Next, peel back the vinyl, put glue on the floor underneath and press it back into place. Finish by sealing the edges with silicone sealant if you so wish.

TOP TIP: Try to avoid making joins around utilities as water from them could spray and sneak underneath causing damage to the vinyl flooring and subfloor.

Follow these steps to fit your sheet vinyl flooring with a join:

If you're working on fitting vinyl flooring in a large room, you might have to join two or more sheets to cover the whole floor. Here’s some tips to follow when trying to complete a join:

1)      If it is patterned sheets you are joining, you'll need to match the pattern of the second sheet against the first sheet. A good tip for if you are struggling with this is to overlap the sheets until the pattern matches and then cut through both sheets using a straightedge and a knife.

2)      Once you have matched the pattern; without moving the sheets, fold back the edges and use double-sided tape glued down with adhesive to secure them to the floor. Press down firmly with both hands to glue both sides together.

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That was our guide to fitting a sheet vinyl flooring. Want to keep up with the conversation? Find us @unitedcarpetsandbeds on Instagram and follow #UnitingHomes to see all our latest transformations!

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