Lowe's Home Improvement
FREE PARCEL SHIPPING on Qualifying Orders

Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring

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.

Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Tools & Materials

Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

Missing anything? Shop Online

Estimating How Much Sheet Vinyl You Need

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.

Preparing the Room for Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Instructions

Step 1

Remove the furniture, appliances or toilet.

Step 2

Take the doors from their hinges.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Preparing the Floors for Sheet Vinyl

  • Concrete: Sheet vinyl can be installed over concrete if the surface of the concrete is clean, smooth and dry. Repair any holes or cracks. You can lower high spots with a grinder. Any minor bumps can be removed with a masonry chisel and small sledgehammer. (Wear safety glasses.)
  • Linoleum or vinyl flooring: Sheet vinyl can be laid over old linoleum or vinyl flooring if the existing floor is in good condition. If the old floor has a rough texture or some indentations, use a coat of embossing leveler. Applied with a straightedge trowel, the embosser will create a smooth surface to support the new floor. Damaged or loose vinyl flooring should be removed.
  • Floors requiring underlayment: If you have a hardwood, embossed, cushioned, buckled or uneven floor, it will require an underlayment. Bumps or dips in an old floor eventually will show through the new floor. As time passes, the new floor will acquire the texture of the floor below. If removing the old floor is impractical or the rough area is too severe to use an embossing leveler, cover it with a new layer of plywood underlayment. 

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.

Installing Underlayment

Instructions

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Nail down any old, loose flooring with ring-shank nails. Set the nails below the floor surface, and fill any holes or cracks.

Step 3

When installing the new underlayment, stagger the seams of the plywood panels, and leave a 1/32-inch gap between panels to allow for expansion. Leave a 1/8-inch gap along the walls. Always use the fasteners and fastening pattern recommended by the vinyl floor and plywood manufacturer.

Step 4

If necessary, use ready-mix floor leveler or cement patching compound to smooth out any uneven areas where the underlayment panels meet. Allow it to dry and then sand smooth. Clean the floor thoroughly. The surface must be smooth and free from debris, grease or wax.
Caution
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and specifications. Failure to do so could void the product warranty.

Cutting the Floor to Fit

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.

Sketching a Floor Plan

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.

Fitting Sheet Vinyl by Trimming in Place

Instructions

Step 1

Using your floor plan sketch, transfer it to the vinyl sheet with a washable marker.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Step 8

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.

Fitting Sheet Vinyl Using a Template or Installation Kit

Instructions

Step 1

Place the builder's paper on the floor. To hold the paper in place, cut triangular holes and tape over them. Leave 1/8 of an inch between the edge of the paper and the wall (for expansion).

Step 2

Overlap the sheets as you put them down. Tape them together. Be sure to push the template paper under the doorjambs and casings.

Step 3

To fit the template around pipes, measure the distance from the wall to the center of the pipe. Subtract 1/8 of an inch. Align a framing square with the edge of your building paper, and draw a line the length of your measurement from the previous step. Draw the pipe's diameter on your template at the end of the line you just drew. Cut the line and circle you just drew. Slide the template around the pipe. Tape this piece to the other pieces on either side of the pipe. When all sheets are taped together, remove the template in one piece.

Step 4

The new vinyl should be unrolled lying face up on a clean surface in another room. Place the template on top of the vinyl, and trace it with a washable marker.

Step 5

Use a sharp utility knife and a straightedge to cut the outline of your floor. Be sure to cut the line to the pipe diameter so the floor will slide into place around the pipe.

Step 6

Roll the vinyl up and place it in the correct room. Unroll carefully and slide under doorjambs and casings. Try not to crease the vinyl.

Step 7

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.

Applying Adhesive and Installing the Floor

Your new vinyl floor will require an adhesive. A full-bond floor will have adhesive applied to the entire surface area. A perimeter-bond floor will only need to be secured around the edges of the room. Match the proper adhesive to your type of floor.

Instructions

Step 1

Lay the floor in position.

Step 2

Fold back half of the floor.

Step 3

Using a notched trowel, apply recommended adhesive to the subfloor. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying adhesive.

Step 4

Let the adhesive sit according to instructions. The open time will allow the adhesive to achieve its best hold.

Step 5

Carefully lay the floor back in place and press firmly.

Step 6

Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the other half of the floor. Clean excess adhesive from your vinyl using a solvent recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 7

Roll the new floor from inside to outside with a flooring roller to finish bonding the vinyl to the subfloor. Roll firmly over the entire floor. Bond any seams with a seam sealer, following the manufacturer's directions.

Step 8

Replace the moulding. Plane the door if necessary and rehang.

Step 9

Clean any adhesive residue left on the floor, but don't wash the floor for three days (or whatever the manufacturer recommends). Excessive moisture at this time can affect the adhesive bond.

Step 10

Keep foot traffic at a minimum for 24 hours after installation. The adhesive needs this time to dry and bond.

Step 11

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.