- Ideas & How-Tos
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Vinyl wears well, resists water and is one of the most affordable flooring options available. Installing a sheet vinyl floor is a manageable do-it-yourself project. The key to success is preparation.
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Measure the area of the room in square yards. To get square yards, first calculate square feet:
Measure the length and width of the room.
Length (feet) x Width (feet) = Square Feet
Square Feet / 9 (square feet in a yard) = Square Yards
For example, a 12 ft. x 8 ft. room is 96 square feet and 10.67 square yards.
Remove the furniture, appliances or toilet.
Take the doors from their hinges.
Remove the floor trim moulding with a pry bar. Slowly wedge the pry bar between the trim and wall, inserting a small block of wood behind the bar. The wood protects the wall from damage and provides leverage when prying the trim away.
Remove the nails from the wall with pliers. If the nails are embedded in the moulding, and if you plan to reuse the same trim, pulling the nails through the back of the moulding will prevent it from splitting.
Unless otherwise directed by local code, 1/4-inch BC plywood makes a good underlayment. Make sure any plywood used is underlayment-grade. If a new plywood underlayment is used, remember that the floor level will be raised.
Doorframes will have to be cut at the bottom to accommodate the new thickness, and thresholds will require replacing. If the new floor is in a kitchen, some cabinets may have to be raised to accommodate the raised level of a refrigerator.
To fix the doorframe, cut through the bottom edges of the door moulding to allow space for the new underlayment to slide underneath. Use a small piece of underlayment as a spacing guide.
Vinyl flooring is sold in 6-foot and 12-foot widths, making it possible to install a seamless floor in smaller rooms, such as bathrooms, halls and kitchens.
Allow the new vinyl floor to acclimate to the room by leaving it in the room where it'll be installed for at least 24 hours prior to cutting.
There are two ways to measure and fit vinyl. You can measure the entire floor area. Cut the vinyl 3 inches wider than the floor area on all sides, and then trim the excess after laying it in place. This method works well with rooms that are easy to fit with few angles or obstacles.
Alternatively, make a template of the floor layout. Transfer the template to the vinyl, and make the proper cuts prior to laying it in place. Use this method with thicker vinyl or in rooms that are hard to fit because of angles or recesses. Installation kits are available that include paper, marking pen, tape, cutting blade and complete instructions to make an accurate pattern.
Using graph paper, sketch your floor plan to scale. Don't forget to include the areas in closets and beneath movable appliances. If you plan on trimming and fitting rather than using a template, add 3 inches along the outside.
Using your floor plan sketch, transfer it to the vinyl sheet with a washable marker.
Before cutting your vinyl, place a scrap piece of plywood underneath to keep the subfloor from being damaged. A clean garage floor is a good place to cut vinyl flooring to size.
Position your cut vinyl in the room, allowing the edges to curl up against the wall. Remember to allow 3 inches on each side for trimming.
Trim around outside corners or other protruding objects by making a vertical slice down the sheet. Cut the vinyl from the top down to where it touches the floor.
To fit inside corners, cut the vinyl in V-shaped cuts where it overlaps. Work your way down carefully making several V-cuts until the vinyl rests flat.
Along the walls, press a 2 by 4 against the bottom to crease the vinyl where the wall meets the floor. After making the crease, use a straightedge to cut the flooring. The floor will expand, so leave 1/8 of an inch space between the wall and the new flooring.
Use the same principle for the shoe moulding and baseboard. When you reattach them, leave them slightly off the floor for expansion. Nail the moulding to the wall, not the floor. Changes in humidity will cause the floor to bind against a tight moulding.
If your new floor requires a seam and if you're applying over an old floor, offset the new seam at least 6 inches from the old one.
If your new floor requires a seam and if you're applying over an old floor, offset the new seam at least 6 inches to the side.
Keep foot traffic at a minimum for 24 hours after installation. The adhesive needs this time to dry and bond.
After 24 hours, return the furniture to the space. A sheet of plywood can be placed on a kitchen floor to roll or slide large appliances. Moving furniture and appliances back into place is the most common cause of damage to new flooring.