How to lay vinyl flooring Make it and Mend it — creative craft and upcycling

How to lay vinyl flooring like a professional

Author: Anne Caborn | Posted: Monday 19th August ’13

There are some great deals to be had on vinyl flooring and a whole range of designs from jazzy patterns to wood and stone finishes. And the great news is you don’t have to pay a professional to lay it for you so long as you follow our how to guide.

First rule of flooring measure twice

If you want a perfect finish it’s worth spending time getting accurate measurements before you buy. This can help you make a final decision about whether to go with tiles or vinyl on a role. You may even buy able to grab yourself an end of role bargain if you know exactly how much you need.

Depending on your vinyl thickness and your skirting boards, it may be possible to tuck the vinyl under the skirting, so remember to allow for this. Role vinyl is usually available in different widths, so think about which way round you lay it down the length of the room or across. This can make a significant difference to how much to you need, or where any joins will be located.

If you’re going to need a join between two pieces think about the best way of locating this so it draws the least attention, or the least wear. Patterned vinyl poses more of a joining challenge and you may need to buy extra to allow for this.

How to choose

Vinyl flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses and qualities. Avoid anything too thin, particularly for high traffic areas. Ideally, go for something between 1.3mm to 4.5mm. Vinyl on a role can be laid more quickly but is probably better suited to larger, more uniform areas.

If you fancy tiles and particularly if you’re thinking about luxury vinyl tiling. always buy a few extra in case you need to replace laid tiles later due to damage or wear.

Existing surfaces

You need a clean, smooth, stable, dry surface to lay your flooring on. If laying onto floorboards, cover these with hardboard or ply boarding.

My personal preference is for ply. It can be slightly harder to cut but I’ve found hardboard can sometime leach a yellowish tinge into paler floor coverings over time. Concrete or uneven flooring will need to be screeded using a self-levelling compound. You may want to get a professional in to board our or scree the surface.

Cutting to fit

How to lay vinyl flooring Make it and Mend it - creative craft and upcycling

If you are laying round curves or challenging shapes such as round the loo you can always cut out a template first using newspaper. But remember to lay it on the lino the right way up or you could end up cutting out an uneven shape the wrong way round!

If you’re using tiles it’s worth laying out the tiles roughly first before you glue starting in the centre of the space where your eyes will focus. After the initial rough lay out think about how much cutting you need to do and if there are some really tricky areas such as around pipes, or where you may end up with a row of half tiles.

You might want to jiggle with your layout at this stage to make the job easier, reduce how much cutting you need to do and create the most visual attractive layout.

Tools and tips

The most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a utility knife often called a Stanley knife after one of the main manufacturers. You need straight blades but also something called a vinyl hook if you’re laying vinyl on a role.

This allows you to cut in long continuous movements. Cut vinyl tiles from the top of the tile. Thick tiles can sometimes be snapped when part cut. This is not option for tricky to cut out shapes, such as round door frames and pipes. You will need glue to join vinyl sections or hold the floor in place.

Some stay flat lino does not require gluing. And some vinyl tiles are self adhesive. Ask about the fixing requirements before you buy. Once laid, remove any bubbles for under vinyl flooring by firmly sweeping a broom over the surface starting at the centre of the room and working outwards.


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