Posts Tagged ‘bath’

How to Install Vinyl Flooring

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Most do-it-yourselfers do not know how to install flooring, especially vinyl flooring (what used be called linoleum). Vinyl flooring installation has become easier than ever now since you do not have to have to glue it down or use complicated tools to install it.

Tools you need for installing roll flooring

Utility knife (like a Stanley with a changeable blade)

Framing square (the big kind that measure 16” by 24” in an L shape)

Tape measure (a simple 25’ tape will do fine)

– Pencil (sharpened, of course)

Materials you will need

– Vinyl flooring (enough for the area you will be doing)

– Building paper (a roll of red rosin paper or sturdy construction paper)

– Masking tape (the cheap tan-colored stuff will work fine for this project)

– Double-sided flooring tape (made especially for vinyl floors)

Prepare the floor

If you are working with an old floor, consider leaving it there. If the new vinyl you are buying has a foam backing, it will cover up the bumps and grooves underneath. If the old floor has rips or holes, consider pulling it up. Unfortunately, many old vinyl floors have glued holding them to the plywood floor. This can be an exhausting removal project. On the project you see pictures from here, we started to take up the old floor but it was too heavily glued. We scraped and tapered it down around the edges, leaving the bulk of the old floor in the middle. The new floor covers it so well, you would never know.

At this point you will want to remove the commode (if in a bathroom) or refrigerator and stove (if in a kitchen) and whatever else the floor will need to go under.

Measure the floor

With your tape measure, you want to make two long measurements: one across, the other the length. For our church kitchen, the largest parts of the floor spanned 11’6” by 19’6”. So, we bought a piece of flooring 12 foot by 20 foot. At this point, you do not want to roll out the new floor and try to carve it around the cabinets. This is where most homeowners make a disaster of their project from not knowing how to install a vinyl floor best. Set the new roll of flooring in the garage or other safe place for now.

Make your flooring pattern

Bring in the construction paper, and unroll it in the area where the new flooring will go. Get it close to the wall and up under the cabinet toe areas, but it does not have to touch. In fact, try to keep the paper about an inch away from all the edges of the floor. This paper will be the pattern for when you install the vinyl flooring. On the kitchen floor in the picture, we had to run about three widths of paper, which we taped together. Cut around cabinet edges and other protrusions, keeping your cuts within an inch of all interruptions. You may have to cut strips of paper to fill in doorways or other odd spots.

Once you have laid out the paper and taped it together, cut half moon circles in the floor. Stick a piece of tape through the slice to hold down the paper to the old floor so the paper pattern does not float around while you make your marks.

Once the paper lies in place, set the long edge of your framing square against the wall or cabinets and scribe alongside with your pencil. This will put a mark exactly 2 inches from the finished edge. Keep moving your framing square, being sure to always use the long side, and trace the outline of the whole room. When you go to cut out the new flooring, you will hold this same tool on the same line and cut the outside edge with your knife. This will save you from hacking your way around walls and corners, trying to work with the flooring in place (a sure-fire disaster).

Transfer the pattern

Find a large flat surface to lay out your new flooring such as in the garage or even in the driveway. For the church kitchen, I carried the new flooring to the church gymnasium and let it lie flat there. Once that is in place, detach the paper pattern off the old floor (just loosen the tape in the moon-shape cuts). Roll it up and carry it to the new flooring (which should be showing the finished surface—do not attempt to cut it upside down). You can probably reuse the same anchoring tape (in the moon-shape holes) to stick it to the new flooring. If your new floor has a straight pattern (woodgrain, tile) line up your longest edge with one of those straight patterns. Or, hold the longest line on the pattern 2” from the edge of the roll. This will give you a perfectly straight line to start with. Unfortunately, our project did not allow us to use the factory edge in any spot.

Now, grab the same framing square you used to make your marks, and set it against the pencil mark you made. Now cut on the opposite side of the square (not the pencil mark) and this will give you a perfect finish cut that will snug right up to the wall or cabinet in the room. If you are working over another finished floor, protect it from knife marks by putting another piece of roll flooring or a few layers of construction paper under it. Do not do this over carpet unless you lay down sheets of plywood for a solid surface to cut against.

Just a few minutes of careful cutting will leave you a perfect duplicate of the room’s footprint. When finished, remove the paper and roll it up. Now, roll up the new flooring and carry it to its destination. Sweep thoroughly to be sure absolutely no dirt remains in corners or anywhere it will leave bumps in the vinyl surface.

Other considerations

If you have uneven flooring with chunks missing or knotholes, buy a flooring lever. This product works like drywall mud for the floor, but it is waterproof. Spread it smooth and evenly and let it set until has cured completely (usually 24 hours). Do not worry about cracks or shrinkage as thick vinyl flooring can span cracks as big as 1/4 inch.

You can buy flooring up to 15’ wide. Anything larger, you will have to seam down the middle. Join the two pieces of flooring with double-sided tape. First, however, make sure the pattern of your floor will match up at the joint to look like one solid piece (ask the sales clerk to help you find some that does). Wood-grain flooring works very well for a floor that needs a seam. When laying out the pattern, join the two pieces of vinyl with masking tape; only put the double-sided tape under the two pieces once you have set them in place (you do not want to have to carry two taped pieces from one room to another).

Put the flooring in place

Carefully unroll the cut flooring and jiggle it into the corners. If you have followed the instructions correctly, you will have a masterpiece floor in the easiest way possible. Pull back sections where heavy appliances will go and put an X of double-sided tape. Add a strip of double-sided tape in front of the sink or other high-traffic area. Cut out your air vent holes now by slicing an X into the hole (you can feel it through the flooring) and pop the vents into place. Where the flooring meets another floor surface (in the doorway for example) buy a flooring edger (a.k.a. floor transition plate) and tack it down. Now you can see why a floor like this does not need glue with all the vents, tack strips, and appliances holding it in place.


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