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How to Install Vinyl Flooring

For homeowners, vinyl is a popular flooring choice for bathrooms and kitchens due to it its durability and versatility. Better yet, it’s cost effective and easy to install yourself. For commercial spaces, vinyl saves money while keeping floors clean and sanitary. So what is it and how can you easily and quickly install vinyl flooring yourself?


What Is Vinyl?

Vinyl is a synthetic cousin of linoleum. It’s thin and flexible while still maintaining durability and strength. Vinyl flooring can take on the appearance of other types of flooring materials like tile and wood, and it comes in a wide variety to match just about any décor.

It’s a great solution for highly tread areas because it’s water- and stain-resistant, comfortable under foot, noise reducing, and has strong longevity despite any wear and tear.  

Vinyl flooring is also inexpensive. It’s easy to maintain, making it last a lot longer than other types of floors. This saves your wallet from consistent repairs and installments of new floor.

There are two key disadvantages of vinyl flooring. Firstly, it can be easily damaged by heavy loads and sharp objects. Also, coloring easily fades with exposure to sunlight, so it’s not recommended for outdoor use or in rooms with large windows.

There are two types of vinyl flooring: sheet and tile. Sheet vinyl is applied in sheets of 6 or 12 feet wide. Tile vinyl comes in planks of 9”x9” or 12x12,” which are snapped into place. Sheet flooring is more resistant and easier to install, so it’s common in home projects. Vinyl tile is an attractive and economic alternative to ceramic tile, so it’s often found in commercial settings where a clean and static-free environment is necessary.

In this how-to, we’ll focus on vinyl sheets, which are easier to install. Consult with an Onfloor professional to learn which Onfloor products are great for prepping your floors before installing vinyl flooring.


How Do You Install Vinyl Sheets?

What You’ll Need:

  • Felt paper designed for templating (comes in rolls)
  • Vinyl underlayment boards
  • Vinyl flooring sheets that match your décor and needs
  • Saw blade
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Straightedge
  • Putty knife
  • Blue painters’ tape
  • Utility knife
  • Framing square
  • Power nail stapler
  • V-notch trowel
  • Vinyl adhesive
  • Rolling pin
  • Wallpaper seam roller
  • Two sets of hands

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  1. Remove all obstacles from the flooring. This includes large appliances (even toilets), baseboards, moldings, and door thresholds. If you can’t remove a certain appliance, you’ll have to install flooring around it.  
  2. Using a saw blade, saw off the bottom of door jambs and moldings so that the new floor will fit underneath. It should be big enough for the underlayment and vinyl sheet to slip inside snugly. Make sure to get rid of all the sawed off pieces using a flat-blade screwdriver.
  3. Vinyl tile can be installed over concrete if the concrete is clean, smooth and dry. You can remove high spots, old glue and contaminates using a coarse-grit abrasive on an Onfloor Planetary Sander/Grinder. Be sure to repair any holes or cracks.
  4. Even out the floor surface. Fill in low spots with a commercial filler. Add water or latex additive to the filler for easier application. Fill all voids and holes with underlayment filler and smooth with a putty knife. Use a straightedge to check height and ensure a (mostly) level surface.
  5. Lay roles of the felt paper template down on the floor. Make sure that the curls stay flat. Tape different rolls of template together using blue painters’ tape to create a single template sheet.  
  6. Cut the template in the shape of the room using a utility knife. The cuts don’t need to be exact or right up against the walls of the room. The floor should now be covered in a rough template of felt paper. You’ll use this template to cut the underlayment and the vinyl flooring into the shape of the room.
  7. Use the utility knife to cut triangular holes in various spots throughout the template. Use blue painters’ tape to tape the template to the floor. This will keep the template from sliding around.
  8. Grab a 2-inch framing square. Put one side up against the wall, and mark along the inside of the felt template where the framing square ends. Do this for the entire perimeter of the room. This will help bridge the gap between the wall and the edge of the felt template to ensure your underlayment and vinyl are cut with precision.
  9. For curves, use a compass to help scribe the appropriate distance between the wall and the mark on the felt template.
  10. In another room, tape together several sheets of underlayment. We recommend using 1/4-inch plywood in 4x4 sheets.
  11. Transfer the template to the underlayment in the other room. In the triangular shaped holes, tape the template to the underlayment sheets underneath to keep in place.
  12. Use the framing square and compass to go around the template, marking the outer edge of the underlayment to represent the walls of the room. This will transfer the template’s shape onto the underlayment.
  13. Cut the underlayment along the template lines using a circular saw.
  14. Lay the pieces of the underlayment down in the new flooring area in accordance with the template.
  15. Use a power nail stapler to nail the underlayment sheets together with 1 1/4-inch long, ring-shanked nails. The nails should be 4 inches apart in the center and 2 inches apart around the edges.
  16. Using the same template and technique as the underlayment, transfer the pattern to the vinyl flooring in another room. Be sure to mark along the outside edge of the framing square to ensure you take into account the gap between the template and the wall. Use a hook knife for smooth cuts on the flooring. 
  17. Now you’ll adhere the vinyl to the underlayment. Use a vinyl floor adhesive and a V-notch trowel. Apply the adhesive around the perimeter of the underlayment. (Be sure to look at the instructions on your adhesive to see if you will need ventilation or respirators.)  
  18. Place the vinyl flooring on the underlayment. Press it into the adhesive firmly.
  19. Use a rolling pin to press down further. Work from the center of the room out towards the walls. Press the edges with a wallpaper seam roller. This will ensure the flooring is flat with no bumps or lumps.
  20. Around the room perimeter, use vinyl flooring adhesive to install vinyl cove baseboards to the walls.
  21. Consider putting in a transition-molding piece between the new vinyl and the existing floor in an adjacent room.
  22. Put the appliances back in the room. Caulk bathroom appliances if needed. Reinstall moldings.


The Bottom Line

Installing vinyl sheets at home is easy, simple, and cost-effective. Talk to an Onfloor representative to learn which Onfloor products are great for prepping your floors for vinyl flooring.

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