How to Install Vinyl Tile Flooring

Andrew Howard
Andrew Howard
Property Advisor
Mar 11, 2024
How to Install Vinyl Tile Flooring

Not every home improvement project needs to be outsourced to a professional. Sometimes, it’s easier and more cost-efficient to tackle some of the more manageable renovations yourself. When it comes to installing vinyl tile flooring, understanding the different options you have available to you and how to install them will make the process a lot smoother. 

Know Your Options

Vinyl tile flooring is available in various types, including luxury vinyl plank (LVP), luxury vinyl tile (LVT), and sheet vinyl. This resilient flooring option offers benefits such as water resistance, easy maintenance, and a wide selection of designs and colors.

But before diving into your vinyl flooring installation project, consider the following:

  • Subfloor Condition: Ensure your subfloor is clean, dry, level, and structurally sound.
  • Room Temperature and Acclimation: Maintain a consistent room temperature (65-85°F) and acclimate the vinyl flooring material to the space for 24-48 hours before installation.
  • Tools and Materials Needed: Gather the necessary tools, such as a utility knife, measuring tape, spacers, and a rubber mallet, as well as any additional materials like underlayment or adhesive.
  • Safety: Wear protective gear, including safety glasses and gloves, and ensure proper ventilation when working with adhesives or sealants.

Preparation Begins

  1. Assessing and Preparing the Subfloor
    • Cleaning and Leveling: Thoroughly clean the subfloor, removing any dirt, debris, or old adhesive. Use a self-leveling compound to address any unevenness or irregularities.
    • Sealing and Repairing: Seal porous subfloors with a primer and repair any cracks or holes with a patching compound.
  2. Room and Material Preparation
    • Acclimating Vinyl Planks: Allow the vinyl flooring material to acclimate to the room's temperature and humidity for at least 24 hours before installation.
    • Removing Baseboards and Doors: Carefully remove baseboards and doors to ensure a seamless installation and proper fit.
    • Undercutting Door Jambs: Use a jamb saw or handsaw to undercut door jambs, allowing the vinyl flooring to slide underneath for a professional look.
    • Planning Layout and Direction: Determine the layout and direction of your vinyl planks, considering factors like room shape, natural light, and desired look.

Acclimating Vinyl Planks: Allow the vinyl flooring material to acclimate to the room's temperature and humidity for at least 24 hours before installation.

  1. Removing Baseboards and Doors: Carefully remove baseboards and doors to ensure a seamless installation and proper fit.
  2. Undercutting Door Jambs: Use a jamb saw or handsaw to undercut door jambs, allowing the vinyl flooring to slide underneath for a professional look.
  3. Planning Layout and Direction: Determine the layout and direction of your vinyl planks, considering factors like room shape, natural light, and desired look.

Installation Underway

  1. Installing the First Row of Vinyl Plank
    • Cutting and Fitting: Measure and cut the first plank to the desired length, ensuring a straight edge along the starting wall. Use a utility knife and a straight edge for precise cuts.
    • Securing the First Plank: Apply adhesive (if required) to the subfloor and place the first plank in position, using spacers to maintain a consistent expansion gap along the wall.
  2. Continuing with Subsequent Rows
    • Staggering Planks: Offset the seams of the planks in each row to create a staggered pattern, enhancing the visual appeal and structural integrity of the floor.
    • Attaching and Locking Planks: Use the manufacturer's recommended method for attaching planks, such as a click-lock system or adhesive. Ensure a tight fit and use a rubber mallet to gently tap planks into place as needed.
  3. Special Considerations
    • Handling Obstacles and Trims: Carefully measure and cut vinyl planks to fit around obstacles like pipes or corners, using a utility knife or jigsaw for intricate cuts.
    • Fitting Around Irregular Objects: Use a contour gauge or template to trace the shape of irregular objects, transferring the pattern onto the vinyl plank for a more accurate cut.

Finishing Touches

  1. Cutting and Installing the Final Row: Measure the width of the final row, accounting for the expansion gap, and cut the planks lengthwise to fit. Use a pull bar to lock the final row into place.
  2. Reinstalling Trim and Moldings: Reattach baseboards and moldings, nailing them into the wall rather than the flooring to allow for natural expansion and contraction.
  3. Installing Transitions and Thresholds: Use the appropriate transitions and thresholds when connecting your vinyl flooring to adjacent rooms or different flooring materials, ensuring a seamless and secure transition.
  4. Inspecting and Cleaning the New Floor: Conduct a final inspection, checking for any gaps, loose planks, or imperfections. Clean the floor thoroughly to remove any debris or adhesive residue.

Post-Installation

  1. Care and Maintenance: Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning and maintaining your vinyl flooring, and use appropriate products and techniques to ensure its longevity and appearance.
  2. Troubleshooting Common Issues: Address any issues that may arise after installation, such as gaps, buckling, or lifting planks, by consulting the manufacturer's instructions or reaching out to a professional. 
  3. When to Call a Professional: If you come across any challenges beyond your skill level or comfort zone during the installation process, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional flooring installer for guidance or to complete the project.

Installing vinyl tile flooring can be a rewarding DIY project that transforms the look and feel of your space. By following this step-by-step guide and paying close attention to subfloor preparation, layout planning, and proper installation techniques, you can save money and achieve beautiful results. 

Remember to take your time, measure carefully, and don't hesitate to seek additional resources or support if needed. With patience and attention to detail, you can successfully install your vinyl tile flooring and enjoy its benefits for years to come.

Share this post
Andrew Howard
Andrew Howard
Property Advisor
Mar 11, 2024

Andrew D. Howard, MBA, is a Property Advisor at Revive, specializing in pre-sale renovations and PropTech. He collaborates with homeowners, Realtors®, and contractors to maximize ROI and provides top-notch customer service. His expertise in presale renovations and PropTech makes him a key asset to Revive.

Unlocking equity is hard,
we've got your back.

See what's possible, it's your real estate.

Discuss home