How To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
- 2-4 Days
Vinyl plank flooring is a great way to upgrade the flooring in any room of your home and is a relatively easy process for installation. With a few tools, you can transform any room of your house and give your tired floor a facelift in as little as a few days.
Before You Begin:
Remove Existing Flooring
In today’s market, vinyl plank flooring typically comes as either a floating floor or a glue down floor. Glue down flooring may require the removal of the existing floor and leveling of the subfloor. A floating vinyl plank floor, however, can usually be installed over your existing hard floor, eliminating the hassle of tearing up your old flooring. If the existing flooring is in bad shape, however, you may need to remove it to ensure your new flooring is installed correctly. If your old floor is too difficult/dangerous to remove, cover it up with some new underlayment. This will raise the height of your floor, so be sure to cut the door jams and give enough clearance for any appliances or cabinets.
If you removed the previous flooring, check the subfloor to make sure that it is solid, flat and clean. Fix any holes or cracks, you can also use a leveler to help floors that are worn or damaged. If the subfloor is in bad shape, replace it. Review manufacturer guidelines for subfloor recommendations.
In most cases, vinyl plank flooring does not need to acclimate prior to installing. Please check your product for details.
- Vinyl Plank Flooring
- Flooring Spacers
- Matching Quarter Rounds (if needed)
- Transition Strips (if needed)
- Baseboards (if needed)
- Pry Bar
- Tape Measure
- Rubber Mallet
- Tapping Block
- Table Saw
- Chop Saw
- Pull Bar
Step 1: Remove Thresholds & Baseboards
Using a flat pry bar, remove any thresholds & baseboards from the area you are working on. Use a shim between the bar and the wall, so that the wall does not get damaged. Be prepared – some of these moldings make break as you remove them.
Don’t want to deal with removing baseboards? You can leave them in place, but you will need to leave a ¼” gap between the baseboard and flooring, to account for expansion over time. You may want to purchase some quarter-round pieces in a matching color to cover up this gap. For a better look, however, our experts recommend removing the baseboards prior to laying down new flooring.
Step 2: Measure Room
Your vinyl planks will be placed parallel to the focal wall or the longest wall in the room. Measure out the length and width of the room, and divide the width of the room by the width of the planks. Plan for ¼” gap along the walls to allow for expansion. This will tell you how many rows of planks you need. Before you start laying the floor, keep in mind: the first and last row should be at least 2” wide.
Step 3: Assemble First Row of Planks
Assemble the first row of vinyl plank flooring, putting the tongue of one board into the groove of the previous board. Press the plank flat to snap in place. When you get to the far wall, cut the last plank to size, so that there is a ¼” gap between the last plank and the wall. You can use spacers to maintain these gaps as you assemble your floor.
For best results, the last plank should be no shorter than 6”. If needed, trim the first plank to allow for more room for the last plank.
Do NOT make your flooring cuts beforehand, cut the planks as you need them. Preemptively cutting your planks to size can result in problems as you install.
Step 4: Assemble Remaining Rows
Using the same steps as above, assemble the remaining rows. You should try to place the joints about 8” apart from nearby joints so that you have a stronger floor. Connect each row to the others using the tongue and groove on the end of each plank. Use a mallet & block to tap together any planks that have a gap.
Step 5: Reattach Baseboards & Install Quarter Rounds
After you have completed all of your rows, nail in your baseboards or install quarter rounds to cover the ¼” gap you left in the flooring.
Norfolk Hardware & Home Center is Boston’s largest family-owned hardware store and home center, in business since 1934. With over 40,000 sq. feet of retail space, Norfolk Hardware has everything you need for your vinyl plank flooring project in our BRAND NEW flooring department! From carpet tiles to hardwood floors, we offer top quality materials at reasonable prices. If we don’t have it in stock, don’t worry – we will order it for you! Contact us today for all of your DIY needs or to speak with a DIY expert.