Vinyl plank flooring is one of the most popular flooring options for homeowners and commercial property managers alike. It is an affordable, durable, and low-maintenance flooring option that can add a touch of elegance to any space. However, one of the most crucial aspects of vinyl plank flooring is the installation process. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about vinyl plank installation, from preparation to the finishing touches.
Before beginning the installation process, it is essential to prepare the space properly. Start by removing any existing flooring, such as carpet, hardwood, or laminate. Make sure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. If the subfloor is not level, use a levelling compound to create a flat surface.
Next, measure the room’s dimensions to determine the number of vinyl planks you will need. It is always a good idea to purchase an extra 10% of planks in case of any waste or cutting errors. When buying the planks, ensure that they are from the same batch to avoid any colour discrepancies.
Acclimating the Vinyl Planks
Vinyl planks are sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, which can affect the installation process. To prevent this, it is essential to acclimatise the planks to the room’s environment. Leave the planks in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours to allow them to adjust to the temperature and humidity.
Preparing the Vinyl Planks
After the planks have acclimated, it is time to prepare them for installation. First, remove any packaging and stack the planks in the order they will be installed. This will help you stay organised during the installation process. Next, inspect the planks for any defects or damage, and remove any defective planks.
It is also essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific installation requirements, such as adhesive or underlayment.
Installing the underlayment
Underlayment is an essential component of vinyl plank installation. It acts as a barrier between the subfloor and the vinyl planks, providing sound insulation, moisture protection, and a smooth surface for the planks to adhere to.
There are several types of underlayment available, including foam, cork, and rubber. The type of underlayment you choose will depend on the subfloor type and the room’s purpose. For example, a foam underlayment is suitable for a residential space, while a rubber underlayment is ideal for a commercial space.
To install the underlayment, roll it out over the subfloor, ensuring that it covers the entire space. Trim any excess underlayment using a utility knife. If using a foam underlayment, you can also tape the seams together using duct tape.
Installing the Vinyl Planks
Once the underlayment is installed, it is time to start laying the vinyl planks. Start by finding the room’s center and marking a straight line using a chalk line. This line will serve as a guide for laying the planks.
Next, lay the first row of planks along the chalk line, ensuring that the planks are snug against each other. It is essential to leave a 1/4-inch gap between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion.
When laying the second row, offset the planks by at least six inches to create a staggered pattern. This will give the floor a natural look and prevent the planks from lining up in a straight line. Continue laying the planks row by row, ensuring that each row is snug against the previous row. Use a utility knife to cut any planks to fit around corners or obstacles.
When you reach the final row, measure the distance.
Once all the vinyl planks are installed, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Start by installing baseboards or quarter-round moulding to cover the gap between the planks and the wall. This will give the floor a polished look and prevent dirt and debris from collecting in the gap.
If you have installed vinyl planks in a bathroom or kitchen, you may want to seal the edges using silicone caulk. This will prevent water from seeping under the planks and causing damage to the subfloor.
Maintenance and cleaning
One of the benefits of vinyl plank flooring is that it is easy to maintain. To keep your new floor looking its best, sweep or vacuum it regularly to remove dirt and debris. You can also use a damp mop or microfiber cloth to clean up spills and stains.
Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your vinyl plank floor, as they can damage the finish. Instead, use a manufacturer-approved cleaner or a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap.
In addition to regular cleaning, it is also essential to protect your vinyl plank floor from scratches and dents. Use furniture pads on the bottom of chairs and tables to prevent them from scratching the floor. You can also place a mat or rug in high-traffic areas to reduce wear and tear.
Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable, durable, and low-maintenance flooring option. While the installation process may seem daunting, it is a relatively simple DIY project that can be completed in a weekend. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can install vinyl plank flooring with confidence, knowing that you have done everything correctly. With the right preparation, tools, and materials, you can transform any space with beautiful and long-lasting vinyl plank flooring.