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How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Installing vinyl planks is an easy DIY project that will help you refresh any room with brand new flooring. Learn how to install vinyl plank flooring with our easy step-by-step guide and video. We’ll show you how to cut vinyl plank flooring and stagger rows for a beautiful floor that requires no underlayment.

Skill Level: Intermediate
  1. Step 1 Prepare for Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

    Prepare for Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

    Vinyl plank flooring, such as Lifeproof, doesn’t require acclimation if stored properly - horizontally and in a dry area away from sunlight. Order 10% more flooring than your square footage to account for cuttings and waste. Check your subfloor for moisture and make sure it’s level to within ¼-inch in a 10 foot span. Vinyl planks can be installed above or below grade on most surfaces including concrete and tile. Do not install vinyl over carpet, laminate and floating floors. Always refer to manufacturer instructions as installing vinyl on the wrong subfloor can void the product’s warranty.

  2. Step 2 Carefully Remove Baseboards and Thresholds

    Carefully Remove Baseboards and Thresholds

    Before you start, make sure all your vinyl is from the same production run by locating the 8-digit Run Number on the short end of each vinyl flooring case. Randomly pull planks from three different cases to ensure good colour and shade mixture. Next, remove all baseboards and thresholds with a pry bar. Make sure your subfloor is clean and level. High spots on concrete can be levelled with a grinder and any cracks can be filled with patching compound. Remember, vinyl planks come with a pre-attached sound-mitigating pad and don’t require underlayment.

  3. Step 3 Measure the Length and Width of the Room

    Measure the Length and Width of the Room

    Measure the length of the room in inches and divide it by the length of the planks. If the resulting number is less than 8 inches you will need to cut your first plank accordingly to avoid having planks that are less than 8 inches on the opposite end of the room. Measure the width of the room and divide that number by the width of the plank. This will centre your flooring and ensure you have end planks of equal widths.

  4. Step 4 Start in a Corner with Your Precut Width

    Start in a Corner with Your Precut Width

    When using tongue and groove planks, vinyl flooring installation should start in a lefthand corner with the tongue facing the wall. Position the first plank from the starting wall using ¼-inch spacers. Install one row at a time clicking the ends together. Square the joints by tapping the long edge with the profiled tapping block and soft-faced hammer.

  5. Step 5 How to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring

    How to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring

    When cutting vinyl planks use a straight edge and a utility knife to score the surface. Snap at the score line. You will also need to back-cut the under pad on the bottom of the plank. If you have difficulty using this method, you can use a jig saw, circular saw or miter saw.

  6. Step 6 Install the Second Row

    Install the Second Row

    Stagger the rows by cutting the first plank of the second row to two-thirds plank length. Make sure there will be at least an 8-inch (20.3 cm) stagger between end joints. Angle the long tongue edge of the plank into the long groove edge of the first plank. Drop and lock the end joints together. Make sure there are no gaps and, if necessary, tap along the long groove edge using the soft-faced hammer and profiled tapping block to ensure a tight fit. Do not tap the short end if the long joint is not properly engaged, as doing so can cause damage to the tongue and groove. When starting a new row, you can use the cut piece from the previous row, as long as it is more than 8-inch (20.3 cm).

  7. Step 7 Continue the Vinyl Plank Installation

    Continue the Vinyl Plank Installation

    Install remaining rows, one row after the other, and maintain the required 8-inch (20.3 cm) stagger throughout the install. Don’t forget to insert spacers along the perimeter of the room. If you encounter irregular shapes like a floor duct, make a paper template then trace the pattern on the plank to cut.

  8. Step 8 How to Install Vinyl Around Doorways

    How to Install Vinyl Around Doorways

    For doorways, use a jamb saw and a scrap piece to fit flooring underneath. Reinstall the baseboards and shoe moulding with a nail gun once the floor is completely laid. Nails should go into wall, not the floor. Save any leftover planks in case you need to replace a plank in the future.

  9. Step 9 Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

    Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

    Promptly wipe up any water spills and avoid cleaning your floor with a steam cleaner or wet sweeper pads. Regularly dust, damp mop, or vacuum (without beater bar) your floor to remove any particles that could cause abrasions or scratches to appear on your floor.

What You Need for This Project

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