The Flooring Lady
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Installing Vinyl Flooring

Whether you are using vinyl tile or roll flooring, installing vinyl floors is a matter of patience and planning to execute a beautiful finish.

Installing vinyl floors isn't just a weekend chore, it's an investment in the protection of your home. A little time from you gets a lot of use from your new vinyl flooring.

Vinyl floors can stand up to harsh treatment and conditions without needing anything more than a wipe. The advantages of installing vinyl floors include:
* doesn't take a lot of your time
* materials are inexpensive

Disadvantages to installing vinyl floors can be:
* you'll need basic tools for cutting and measuring
* there is prep work to get the floor ready for installation
* you may need to level the floor
* offgassing from the vinyl and/or adhesive

Vinyl is an incredibly durable form of floor covering. What you do have to take into consideration is the floor's wear layer, which is the surface that stands between someone's sole and the actual vinyl surface. This layer can be worn down with time, especially in locations where dirt is most prone to being ground into the floor, like at the front or back door.

Installing vinyl floor tiles seems to be the way that most homeowners decorate and protect their bathrooms and basement floors. One big decision is, whether you will be laying tile or roll vinyl. And it's quite simple to do.

The preparations needed include selecting a room that isn't too hot and is well-ventilated. Bathrooms are a good example because they have exhaust fans that keep ventilate the space well while you are working and they vent moisture. You will need a clean and dry surface upon which to install the vinyl floor. If you're installing vinyl on top of vinyl, then you just need to clean the area and allow it to dry completely.

If you're installing vinyl tiles on a concrete basement floor, or other concrete surface, you will want to do a simple test. Take a small piece of vinyl tile and attach it to the floor. After seventy-two hours, try to pull the tile up. If the tile comes up without much trouble, the surface is not dry enough for installing vinyl floor tiles. You will need to find a way to remove the moisture; a dehumidifier for a few days may do the trick. It could be a high water table causing the moisture problem, and that fix can be difficult and expensive.

Take careful measurements of the area to assure that you have enough vinyl floor tiles. You may want to purchase more than is necessary to adjust for any mistakes that you may make and to have extras on hand in the event of damage down the road.

One trick to use before you start to lay your vinyl flooring is to turn the heat on to 75 degrees and leave the flooring product (and glue) in that room for 72 hours prior to installation and througout the installation job. That lets both the product and the floor get warm enough that the vinyl is flexible and everything is the same temperature. By having the floor and product the same temperature, they adhere to each other better. After you have finished installation, when you return the heat to your regular setting, the floor and flooring cool together, and as the vinyl shrinks (that's what happens when things cool), it is pulled taught, making an even tighter contact.

When you are installing vinyl floors on top of old vinyl floors, you may need a special leveling paste. This is especially true when you are installing vinyl floor tiles in corners of a bathroom because they tend to "sink" over time. Before you place any tile, fill these areas with the manufacturer's recommended dry floor filler, allow drying, and then proceed with the installation.

Another thing that you can do to ensure your vinyl floors look great is to carefully remove the floor molding, or baseboards. By removing the molding you allow yourself to place the vinyl close to the wall so that when the baseboards are replaced it looks professionally completed. Or you can replace the baseboards with new material, completing the fresh, new look.

Once the baseboard is removed and the floor prepped, snap a chalk line so you have a straight line to work from, ensuring your vinyl is laid straight. That gives your finished floor a professional look.

Now you are ready to go. If you are using roll vinyl, roll your vinyl across the room. Mark where you will cut off excesse material or cut around intrusions like for toilets, built-in bookcases, or even walls. Using a solid backing board, cut out the pieces you just marked, carefully rolling the vinyl so you can access those spots. You can use either a perimeter or full adhesion technique. If you are. For full adhesion, roll the vinyl up, with the decorative side rolled in. Spread the "glue" across the entire floor, unroll the vinyl, and use a roller to ensure all of the vinyl is pressed to the glue. It's a bit of effort, but nothing you can't handle if you work slowly, carefully and methodically.

Or place your tiles down in the immediate area you are working. Depending on the type of glue-down method you are using, either put adhesive on the floor where the tile will go or peel off the glue-down backing, and put the tile in place. Push firmly. Proceed to the next tile, if you are laying tiles. It's a cinch.

Once the floor is in place and had time to cure, put baseboards in place. The project is done!

For more detailed directions, rely on your flooring manufacturer's directions, or find a do-it-yourself website that gives you step by step directions with pictures.

Installing vinyl flooring doesn't need to be a chore. It's a great way to create a beautiful room. And with all of the advantages, who wouldn't try it as a weekend project as a way of protecting your homes value and usability?

Comments

In my searches I have found some products which claim to be realease adhesive for vinyl flooring, but I do need to know what you suggest we do in a case like this where the client wants to use Halo Vinyl Flooring onto Access Flooring and need to have the tiles laid in such a way, that they may gain access to all or part of the flooring.

Plus the surface of the ASM access floor tile is a smooth metal plate and the adhesive would also need to be able to bound to this surface properly.

We are not too concerned about leaving a residue on the panels, but we need an efficient way to access the floor below that is easy for the client. We had inquired about
a similiar product where the release mechanism was activated with a heat process which did not appear to be user friendly for the proposed installation.

Please recommend an adhesive as well as a costing ( if possible ) where I can achieve the above. This information is needed urgently

KAFI at November 21, 2007 12:33 PM

I've never been involved with such an installation so don't have an adhesive recommendation for you. I'm hoping a reader will have a great answer for you soon though.

The Flooring Lady at November 23, 2007 10:32 AM

We would like to lay beveled vinyl tiles and put something into the beveling that would make it look like grout. Is there a colored sealant or something else we could use ?

Pat at February 26, 2008 12:12 AM

Interesting concept. I don't have any experience with such an approach and my gut level tells me it's not going to work as well as you'd like because of trying to mix two very different products.

Let us know what you do. And if anyone knows of such a product and approach, please chime in.

The Flooring Lady at February 26, 2008 1:09 PM

THe Home Depot offers groutable vinyl tiles (only a couple of styles) but they go down like normal tiles with spacers and the you grout them. I've not done it yet, but I have seen them and they look and feel great.

Good luck !!!

Tim at March 15, 2008 6:24 PM

when we had our vinyl installed by lowes there were tons of bubbles all over the vinyl and you can see the places where they silt the vinyl to let out the air in the bathroon but the vinyl is still not sticking in both the bathroom and the kitchen what can we do about the bubbles and the slits?

ashley at April 21, 2008 9:05 PM

Ouch. I don't want to imply all big-box stores have less than professional installers, but I have heard several horror stories, yours being one. Without having seen your floor installation my reaction is that Lowes can de-install it because they did a bad job of the installation and of their attempted repair.

Yes, slitting the bubbles can fix the problem, but if you have as many as you say you do, that many slits is bad news! And the bubbles are an indication of a bad installation or a bad vinyl. Either way, I'd get rid of it and start again.

The Flooring Lady at April 22, 2008 1:51 PM

Can I use an extra adhesive to the peel and sitck graoutable vinyl floors to ensure that they don't start to pop up?

Dawn at June 2, 2008 5:59 PM

Hi Dawn,
To tell you the truth, I don't know! You can call the manufacturer and ask them.

Feel free to drop back in and let us know what they said.

The Flooring Lady at June 5, 2008 11:17 AM

I'm currently having glue down vinyl tiles installed in my kitchen and all bathrooms. When I looked at them today, (the installers are 30% finished) they looked crooked, the butts didn't meet and I could feel a slope as I walked around the room. I told them that I was not happy and that they should fix it so they took up part of the floor, reapplied some tiles and re-leveled some of the floor. How worried should I be? These same guys are supposed to install my laminate in the living room next week but I won't let them touch it if they do a crappy job on the vinyl. Does it take vinyl a few days to "look right" ? Should they have been using something (like a seam roller) to make sure the ends butt and stay down?

swgirl at July 11, 2008 10:48 PM

I can see why you are concerned, and it seems that your misgivings are well founded so far. The tiles should be rolled for miximum adhesion and the correct type of adhesive needs to be used as well. There is usually a time frame associated with the adhesive for rolling to insure that you get the max adhesion.

The first line of tile laid must be perfectly straight, if it's not it's just going to look crooked throughout the whole room.

The subfloor needs to be smooth as well and clean - something as small as a grain of sand could show up as a small bulge underneath the tile. All joints and holes in the subfloor should be filled with floor patching compound and sanded smooth.

Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at July 12, 2008 11:11 AM

Well, Flooring Lady. After inspecting my vinyl to see they did do a decent job after all(after my two complaints) I decided to allow them to lay the laminate. I watched carefully as they "leveled" (without the use of any leveling tools) the floor. Then they started laying the laminate and it looked great! However, I have noticed that there is one small spot (about 2 ft by 3 ft at the end of a short hallway that was obviously not leveled at all. I know this because I can feel a slant and a dip in the floor while walking on it, and if you watch someone walk on it the boards cave in a bit. It is obvious and can be easily seen with the naked eye. I still owe the flooring guy 30% of his bill. I am trying to decide what to do? I am sure this needs to be fixed but I am unsure that his workers have the skill to do it. Should I ask him to fix it? Withhold an appropriate amount of money and pay someone else to fix it? Do you even think its a real problem? By the way, thank you so much for your previous answer. It was a real help.

swgirl at July 19, 2008 9:53 PM

Hello again and thanks for letting me know how things went!

I do have a question - at the end of the hallway, does it end at a wall or at a doorway? Just asking because if the end of the hallway is an entrance to another room, then they might have had to slope it a little so that the flooring levels where it meets would be the same.

If this isn't the case, then I'd ask the owner about it and tell him of your concerns. Invite the owner over to visit and see for himself as well. And no, it shouldn't visibly 'cave' when somebody walks on that spot.

It probably won't do you any good to withhold payment of the balance, he can always take you to small claims court to recover the rest of it. Of course, you'd get to tell your side too. If you feel you are perfectly justified though.........

Chances are though, if he cares about his reputation, he's going to want to see it and want to make his customer (you!) happy. It shouldn't take much time or money on the owner's part being as how it's such a small area.

The Flooring Lady at July 20, 2008 12:04 AM

Hi , I am thinking of laying vinyle roll flooring in my bathroom ,can you lay it straight onto tiles.?

Mel Tolman at November 8, 2008 2:21 AM

Hi Mel,
You can, but you need to make sure you evenly fill in the depressions where the grout is first - and in the tile if it is textured.

The Flooring Lady at November 9, 2008 9:52 AM

My bathroom has a door in the middle of the room separating the sink area from the toilet and shower. How do I lay sheet vinyl? Do I treat the area as two distinct spaces or do I attempt to lay one continous piece of vinyl? Any tips?

Anonymous at November 10, 2008 9:35 PM

As much as a pain in the butt this will be, yes, attempt to lay one continuous piece of vinyl. Helps to make a template out of paper or posterboard to use as a guide (tape them together of course!). Makes the job a whole lot easier. You can also draw the area on a piece of paper, measure every little thing and write the measurments on the paper where they correspond with the picture you drew, then use that to cut the vinyl. It's better to cut out not enough - that way you can trim the vinyl where needed for a better fit.

Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at November 12, 2008 9:03 AM

Is it true that patterns of an old floor, like linoleum, can come through into a new floor if laid over the top? I'm currently laying 1/8 inch TrafficMaster groutable vinyl tile from Home Depot in our kitchen, and this was brought to my attention.

Thank you,
DFisher

DFisher at November 19, 2008 6:39 AM

Occasionally, but this rarely happens. It can happen if there is a strong texture in the old floor. Usually, people just get some thin subfloor to lay on top, then add the new flooring. Another approach is to use something to even out the texture.

The Flooring Lady at November 20, 2008 2:18 PM

You've likely heard this question before. I've begun installation of peel and stick vinyl tiles on my concrete basement floor. After installing perhaps 80 or 90 so far, 2 or 3 of them are exhibiting bubbles or bulges. The boxes of new tiles were left in the room for at least 48 hours prior to intalling.

Is there any simple fix? Is it possible to install a tile too tight? I've been trying to butt each tile against its neighbor with a straight edge. Is it possible to overdo this? Thanks in advance.

Bill S at November 26, 2008 6:28 AM

It might be possible to get them too tight. It sounds more like you either have pockets of air or specks of dirt, or raised areas in the concrete itself. Apart from peeling those tiles back up and putting down new ones (and hopefully discovering what caused the bubbles) I really wouldn't know of any other fix.

The Flooring Lady at November 29, 2008 12:32 PM

Hello. My husband and I have started our very first do-it-yourself project and want to tile our basement floor. We have torn up the old tile and have noticed small divits in the cement underneath. Will it be necessary to fill those in and, also, do we need to sand the floor to remove the glue remenents(our surface is pretty smooth for the most part)? Thank you!

Denae at December 3, 2008 9:04 AM

Hi Deana,
Yes, you'll need to fill in the low spots and remove the glue remnants to avoid having your tile look like it has air bubbles underneath. The worst part of your job is getting your basement floor ready for the tile. Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at December 4, 2008 8:10 AM

I am the same person with the door in the middle of her bathroom. Can I lay the vinyl on the floor without any adhesive then roll back half of the floor, put the glue down then roll the vinyl back? I am worried that if I cover the entire floor with adhesive first I might not be able to situate the vinyl properly because of the darned door.
Also, any tips on floor preparation? I removed the old tiles becasue some were cracked and missing but now there is this sticky black stuff showing.

Thanks!
Darragh

Darragh at December 15, 2008 9:38 PM

You can, but make sure that you don't trap any air bubbles. It really is much easier to start from one end. The glue has to cure, so you're going to have time to mess with the floor.

As far as the old black adhesive, heat and water does miracles to loosen it to where you can just scrape it off. Use a steamer or a damp rag and run an iron over it, sometimes just hot water does the trick. There are also adhesive removers that can be purchased, but most of the time you don't need to.

Even though it's a small area, you should rent a floor roller - it doesn't cost much and going to help enormously with the end result.

Good luck!

The Flooring Lady at December 16, 2008 9:08 AM

We opened the vinyll last night and the instructions that came with it did not mention any adhesive! It said to lay the vinyll and then attach the baseboards. The baseboards would keep the vinyll in place. What do you think?

Darragh at December 17, 2008 10:32 AM

Hi Darragh,
Sorry so long to reply, my computer was down. I'm guessing that "lay" means to use adhesive unless there's something new that I'm not aware of. What's the name of the product and who makes it?

The Flooring Lady at December 23, 2008 10:47 AM

Hi, This weekend I layed new vynil on my old vynil in my kitchen and laundry. It's been 48 hours and the adhesive has not cured yet. When you press into the floor it can still make a small indention. Is there anything that can be done? Or do I just need to keep waiting and hope it dries eventually?

Jason at December 29, 2008 12:01 PM

Hi Jason,
Nothing much can be done at this point except for waiting......... You used the recommended amount of adhesive I'm sure, right?

The Flooring Lady at December 29, 2008 12:34 PM

Yes I did. I was wondering if you should actually use less when applying over the old vynil instead of a more porous surface like wood or concrete.

Is there a maximum time for waiting, or should I just wait as long as it takes? Thanks for your help. - Jason

Jason at December 29, 2008 12:51 PM

Hi Jason,
It would depend on what the manufacturer recommends. Is there a phone number to call on the can?

The Flooring Lady at December 30, 2008 1:34 PM

hello! i want to ask if i need a smooth concrete surface before i put vinyl tiles. I am planning to put vinly tiles on our concrete wall but the wall is rough

ana at January 3, 2009 5:04 PM

Hi Ana,
This is a flooring site, but I'll give you my best guess pertaining to walls. Keep in mind I don't know what you consider 'rough' to be. Chances are though, that the adhesive you use for the tile will do well despite the roughness of your concrete wall. You really should confirm this with somebody who has experience with setting tile on concrete walls though. ;~)

The Flooring Lady at January 4, 2009 2:36 PM

Im about to lay adhesive vinyl tiles and was wondering was there any clear sealer or anything to put on top of the tiles to make sure they last longer and keep from peeling back or popping up?

Jason B at January 16, 2009 10:27 PM

To keep them from peeling or popping up, you need to make sure that you use good adhesive, apply it properly and have your subfloor as even as possible. You can always seal your new floor with a water-based polyurethane.

The Flooring Lady at January 19, 2009 9:43 AM

Hello Flooring Lady:
I want to apply peel and stick vinyl tiles on top of vinyl tiles that have been in my kitchen for more than 25 years. In your comment to Jason B in 1/09 it appears you were saying it is OK to use a good adhesive in addition to the peel and stick. Is this correct? Thank you

Regina at March 18, 2009 6:28 PM

Hi Regina,
Not necessarily - it depends on how good of an adhesive the tiles have. You can use additional adhesive if you feel the tiles' adhesive isn't going to work well.

The Flooring Lady at March 20, 2009 10:44 AM

A Lady that I am working for purchased Armstrong Commercial tile to be put down in bathroom. No directions on box. What adhesive should be used to fasten it down?

Anonymous at March 25, 2009 8:55 PM

It will depend what the tile is going on. Cement, wood, what? You can visit Armstrong's site, see what's recommended or find their phone number at the site and call them.

The Flooring Lady at March 27, 2009 6:41 PM

Hello, I wanted to install vinyl sheet flooring on top of textured tile. Is it nessisary to smooth out the tile first?

tiffani at April 2, 2009 5:02 PM

We have two layers of linoleum on our floor. We now want to install a Fiber floor. Can it go over these two layers or must they first be removed? Thanks for your help.

Ruth Gessler at May 22, 2009 6:12 PM

Hi Ruth,
What kind of a fiber floor are you wanting to install? Basic rule of thumb: as long as your floor (with the 2 layers of lino) is level, then you can install over it. It's still better to remove and start fresh.

The Flooring Lady at May 25, 2009 12:27 PM

Very helpful post. I'm about to lay a vinyl tile floor over concrete. I've scraped, cleaned and dried the concrete and purchased an adhesive (in addition to the peel-n-stick on the back of the vinyl). My primary question is this: do I have to use both adhesives? The poured adhesive seems to require me to allow it to dry completely (overnight?) and then begin to place. Unfortunately that would mean I had to begin at the edge of the room and work toward the center rather than the correct manner of middle-outward. HELP, please! AND thanks so much for all this helpful information I've already read!

Margaret at June 24, 2009 1:15 PM

What flooring is better over all Vinyl or Fibre?

Tracey at June 25, 2009 6:46 AM

Hi Margaret,

If your vinyl tiles have an adhesive back, then you do not have to use an additional adhesive. Just peel off the backing, put the tile in place and push firmly.

The Flooring Lady at June 25, 2009 12:50 PM

Hi Tracey,

It really is just a matter of personal preference and where you are planning on installing the flooring.


The main drawbacks of fiber flooring is that are absorbent and stain easily. The usually are not as soft as synthetic floors and they don't typically do well if exposed to dampness.


So consider where you will be installing the flooring and what kind of traffic the area receives.

The Flooring Lady at June 25, 2009 12:56 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. Peel & stick vinyl tiles in place, looking great with no extra adhesive! Appreciate your advice so much.
Margaret

Margaret at June 30, 2009 9:16 AM

do i need to lay something on top of bathroom floor wood before laying vinyl roll

Anonymous at July 14, 2009 3:19 PM

The article covers all of the preparation steps necessary for laying the vinyl.

The Flooring Lady at July 16, 2009 12:43 PM

Hi! We just layed peal and stick vinyl tiles, and some of the tiles are floating apart leaving a little gap between tiles. What causes this and what can be done. Ive alined them several times and if someone walks on them they seperate. The glue hasnt cured yet and it been 4 days since we layed them.

karen at August 26, 2009 1:34 PM

Karen, we are presented with multiple scenarios. Not knowing where the tile is laid, the adhesion process would be disrupted if the room has a high moisture content.

Now for another scenario. It could be the adhesive is not strong enough or even perhaps it is faulty. I would suggest you do 2 things if this is the case. One call the manufacturer and inquire what they can do for you as the tiles are slipping! Two if the product is what it is then use additional adhesive to stick them down. When reinstalling if you chose to use additional adhesive and have questions re-read this particular article for my instructions on using "glue". I also recommend using Bostick's Best Glue has I've had great success with it in my own flooring projects.

The Flooring Lady at August 27, 2009 10:29 AM

Great article - very helpful. I've removed carpet from a basement bathroom that was glued on. I've scraped the concrete three times, using warm water, to get the old carpet and glue off. There still seems to be some glue "tracks." Exactly how clean does it need to be before laying self-adhesive vinyl? (I'm getting really tired of scraping!)

Ron at September 11, 2009 7:34 PM

Ron,

You mentioned glue tracks and I'm curious if they are stains in the concrete from the glue or residual glue. The stains won't hinder adhesion although you do need to make sure the surface is free from any existing glue and debris. Without being there to see if the track is glue or a stain I would say use your best judgment.

The Flooring Lady at September 15, 2009 12:39 PM


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