How to install, maintain and fix linoleum and vinyl floors House Renovation Tips

How to install, maintain and fix linoleum and vinyl floors House Renovation Tips

How to install, maintain and fix linoleum and vinyl floors

Neatness counts

To keep a linoleum or vinyl floor clean. vacuum or dust mop it often. That way youll pick up loose dirt before it scratches the surface.

Dont use a rubber, or foam, backed mat or rug on a linoleum or vinyl floor. Rubber and foam can cause discoloration.

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a pail of rinse water when cleaning a no-wax floor. This will prevent soap buildup and will keep the floor from looking dull.

If youd rather avoid commercial floor wax removers. you can mix your own alternative. Combine 1 cup of laundry detergent, 3/4 cup of ammonia and 1 gallon of warm water. Apply with a mop.

Sometimes adhesives are put down to keep carpets from skidding as you walk on them. If you have adhesive left on your floor after you remove carpeting, pour boiling water on the adhesive. Let the water work into the adhesive for a couple of minutes, then scrape with a putty knife. Wear heavy rubber gloves to avoid being burned, and work on only a small area at a time.

Turpentine or kerosene will remove stubborn marks from linoleum. Rub the solvent into the linoleum, then wipe up all that you can, removing the mark at the same time. The rest of the solvent will evaporate quickly, but youll probably want to keep a window open to dissipate the smell.

Perfect Patches and Other Repairs

Never sand old vinyl or linoleum flooring or the backing or lining felt of such flooring. These products may contain asbestos fibers that are not readily identifiable. Avoid creating dust, and make sure to wear a mask when working with these materials if you think they may be old. Inhalation of asbestos dust is a serious health hazard.

To flatten a tile on which the edges have started to curl up, try this trick. Warm the tile with an iron or blow dryer, applying just enough heat to soften the adhesive underneath. Lift up the edges of the tile and dab adhesive under the curled edges. Press the edges back into place and weight the tile down flat for several hours, or until the adhesive dries.

To patch a damaged area of continuous vinyl or linoleum flooring, tape your new piece of flooring over the damaged area. Cut through both layers of the floor (the new patch and the old flooring material) well outside the damaged area to create a patch that will fit perfectly. Remove the new piece and pry up the damaged piece of flooring. Clean the floor underneath the tile as best you can with a putty knife. Apply a thin coat of linoleum cement to the floor, keeping the cement 1/2 from the edge of the patch; you dont want it to ooze up through the cracks. Press the patch into place. You can walk on it right away.

Starting over

If you want to lay a new tile floor and dont want to go to the bother of removing the old one, heres an alternative. First, level the surface of the old floor; fill in the low spots with a leveling compound such as Top-n-Bond, available from hardware or flooring supply stores. Cover the entire floor with an underlay — a smooth, stable, clean surface such as Masonite or 1/4 plywood. Nail the underlay down every 4 with ribbed underlay nails. (Be sure the nails are long enough to reach most of the way through the subfloor.) Then lay the new tile floor directly on top of the underlay.

To remove old linoleum from floors. insert a putty knife at one edge and pry off all you can. To get off the felt and adhesive that are left, mix together xh cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of hot water. Using an old paintbrush, apply the mixture to the old adhesive. Put on enough so that it soaks in and softens the adhesive. Wait 10 minutes, then scrape off the adhesive with a putty knife. If necessary, repeat the process. If youre at all uncertain about the age of the flooring, be sure to take the precautions listed earlier; theres always a potential health hazard in working with old linoleum, which may contain asbestos.

One way to remove old asphalt or vinyl floor tiles is the freeze-and-chip method. (Remember that if the tiles are old, you should be sure to take extra precautions to avoid breathing in the asbestos they may contain.) For this technique, put dry ice in a wooden frame of your own construction. Place the ice and frame over a tiled area until the tiles freeze, then chip the tiles off with a flat chisel or putty knife. Move the frame to the next area and repeat the process.

An alternative method for removing old asphalt or vinyl floor tiles is the heat-and-lift technique. For this procedure, which most people find easier than the freeze-and-chip approach, warm a small area with an iron or blow dryer. Then work the tiles off the floor with a broad-bladed putty knife. Repeat the process for the rest of the tiles.

After removing old tiles, always scrape off any dried remnants of adhesive left on the subfloor. Make sure all loose material is removed before new tiles are laid.

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