How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Install vinyl plank flooring over concrete, wood or existing vinyl flooring for a durable floor that stands up to moisture.
Prepare for Installation
Vinyl flooring placed in room for installation 48-hours in advance for acclimation
At least 48 hours prior to installation, place the new vinyl plank flooring in the room for acclimation. During installation, mix planks from different boxes to blend the dye lots and patterns for a more uniform appearance.
Removing baseboards prior to vinyl plank flooring installation
Levelling the subfloor prior to vinyl plank flooring installation
Prep your subfloor so that it is clean, dry and level within 3/16-inch change per 10 feet. Use a self-leveler on low spots and / or sand high spots of wood or concrete. Do not sand vinyl flooring – it may contain asbestos. Self-leveler is available in powder and pre-mixed form and is used to create a flat, smooth surface in flooring projects. The strength of the product is similar to concrete. Self-leveler dries quickly, so work quickly.
Plan the Floor
Keep in mind that some walls are bowed, so it’s important to create a starting line square to the room.
illustration of room center snapped in chalk line
Mark the center of each wall and snap lines between them with a chalk line. Watch our DIY Basics video: How Do I Use a Chalk Line?
chalk line against wall to prepare for vinyl plank flooring installation
Measure from the center to the starting wall, subtracting the 5/16-inch expansion gap, and mark this distance at each end of the wall. Snap a chalk line between these two marks to get a straight line against the wall.
illustration of cutting the first row of boards to more generously accomodate last row
Finally, calculate the width of the last row. If it will be less than 1/3 of a plank, cut about 1/3 of the plank off the first row for even starting and finishing rows.
The First Row
cutting tongue of vinyl plank off with a box cutter
Score and cut the tongue off the first row of vinyl planks using a utility knife. Set the first plank in place on the starting line with the cut side toward the wall, maintaining the expansion gap.
2nd piece of vinyl plank held at an angle to create connection with first piece
Hold the next plank at a slight angle against the previous plank's end and fold down to click it into place.
scoring and snapping vinyl plank using a square
To cut the last piece to fit, score with a utility knife and snap the plank.
The Second Row Onward
illustrated 6-inches between plank joints
The joints must be staggered at least 6 inches. Measure and cut your first piece accordingly, using a cut end from the first row if necessary.
creating a connection between vinyl planks in flooring installation process
Insert the tongue of the first piece into the groove of the previous row's first plank and rotate down to click together.
connecting the short end of the planks first, then then lengths
For the next piece, connect the short end first and then connect the long end. You should feel it lock.
staggered joints in vinyl plank flooring
Continue the installation, making sure to stagger the joints by 6 inches and maintain the expansion gap.
bending a piece of vinyl plank flooring to slip under door jamb in installation process
To get under doorjambs, slightly bend the planks into place and use a pull bar or tapping block to lock the joint if necessary.
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