• Floors Depot Team

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring


How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank is one of the most popular flooring products on the market. Affordable, durable and easier to install than hardwood, vinyl is a great product for a wide variety of applications.


Which Type Of Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The most popular variety of vinyl plank flooring on the market is “Luxury Vinyl Plank” or LVP. LVP is lightweight, affordable, resistant to wear and moisture, and easy to install.


Luxury Vinyl Plank is a composite product formed of many different layers. Each piece is constructed in the following way:

  • At the bottom, the thick ‘backing layer’ of vinyl

  • The ‘design layer’, chosen to resemble your flooring material of choice

  • A translucent layer of clear film to protect the design

  • A thin coating to prevent scratches and scuffs

The design layer can be chosen to closely imitate the look of other popular materials such as hardwood, allowing you to replicate the look of a wood plank floor even in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements.


LVP is manufactured in two versions, one which needs to be glued to the subfloor and a click-lock system where the planks do not have to be glued, also called floating plank because the material ‘floats’ over the subfloor. We recommend that all DIYers stick with floating plank as it is easier and more forgiving.


Preparing For Your Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation

Like any other flooring project, preparation is required for an effective installation. Once you’ve selected a product you find attractive, the next step is to calculate the amount of flooring you’ll need. We’ll sketch out the basic procedure here – if you have questions or are working in a room with a unique layout, it’s best to ask your floor supplier or an installer if you have any questions!


Measurement

First, you’ll need to measure the length and width of your room. To calculate the square footage you’ll need, round up both measurements (if you measured 9 feet 7 inches x 12 feet 3 inches, round up to 11 x 13 feet) and multiply. Then, add 10% to the total for safety, in case you make a mistake or need to make cuts to fit your room. To continue this example, we would multiply 11 x 13 = 143, and adding 10% would bring us to 158 square feet. Now you’ll know how much material your installation will require.


You’ll also need to order underlayment for your floor. Underlayment acts as a thin layer of insulation between your vinyl planks and the subfloor, keeping your floor warmer in the winter and reducing noise. Underlayment is always recommended for a vinyl plank installation, and the type you need will vary depending on the type of subfloor. If you have any questions about the underlayment required, consult with our professionals.


Lastly, if you’re installing vinyl planks in a single room, you will want to incorporate vinyl plank transition strips, which improve the appearance of the transitions where your vinyl plank floor will meet another flooring type. Ask your flooring material supplier for the correct type of transition – as vinyl flooring has a very flexible appearance, you should be able to match the other type of flooring at the transition.


When your material is delivered, always leave it in the room you plan to install it in for at least 48 hours so that it can acclimatize to the heat and humidity.


Preparing Your Room and Floor

Next, you’ll need to prep your room for installation. Always remove baseboard, shoe moulding and trim, to be replaced after you’ve finished the installation. It’s usually recommended to take any doors or closets off their hinges, as this makes the installation easier, as well as temporarily removing the door jambs.


The next step is taking stock of your subfloor. First, make sure that it is completely clean. Then, if the surface is uneven or irregular, you’ll need to sand down any protuberances and fill any gaps prior to starting the installation. The exact process will depend upon the type and shape of your subfloor.


Installing Your Vinyl Plank Flooring

Begin your installation along the room’s most prominent wall. For example, in a dining room, the wall with a mantelpiece opposite the entrance might be considered the most prominent.


First, do a test-fit along the wall; for best results, cut planks should be equal length from each of the side walls. Start with a full plank in the centre of the wall to determine the fit, and remember to always leave a ¼ inch gap from the walls and ends.


Some wonder about the best way to cut vinyl planks. As vinyl is a soft material, it can be cut to size using a carpenter’s square and utility knife. After cutting the plank several times, you can often just snap the two pieces in two by hand. Alternatively, you can use a fine-tooth handsaw to cut straight through the plank.


As you install across the floor from the wall, connect the planks using the tongue-and-groove, fold-and-lock system. First join each row of planks end-to-end, then attach each new row to the last until you have filled the floor. Make sure to stagger the end joints so that they are at least six inches away from the end joints of the previous row. If you encounter any protrusions or irregularities, you’ll need to cut and fit the planks to accommodate them.


Finally, fit the last row. Remember to leave a ¼ inch gap! Once you’ve surveyed your work and made sure you’re satisfied, you can begin replacing the trim, moulding and doors. Enjoy your new vinyl floor!


Summary

Vinyl plank flooring installation is a great way to add some personal style to your living space. Vinyl plank floors offer many perks, from the way they feel under your feet to the way they're made. Manufacturers have improved methods over time, so that vinyl plank floors can look as good as their more expensive counterparts while also being more durable and long-lasting.