Installing and repairing vinyl flooring: key tips

August 23, 2015

If you're looking for an affordable floor covering, it's hard to pass up vinyl sheet and tiles. And, best of all, vinyl flooring is something you can install, maintain and repair yourself. Here are a few key tips.

  • If you've never installed vinyl sheet flooring before, choose one of the thinner products – they're easier to handle than the bulkier ones and usually less expensive. If you prefer a thicker, higher-quality vinyl, consider hiring a professional to install it.
  • Before laying new vinyl, make sure your existing floor is free from dirt, polish, paint spills and bits of plaster. Any imperfections remaining on the floor can cause the vinyl to deteriorate from the underside up.
  • Sheet vinyl comes in rolls, but you'll need to flatten it out before you install it. Unroll the vinyl and let it straighten out before you begin. If you have space, do this inside, or spread it on the front lawn or driveway and let the warm sunlight soften the material.
  • After your vinyl flooring has relaxed, roll it out in the room where it will be installed and let it sit for at least an hour. This will give the vinyl time to adjust to the room's temperature.
  • To secure a loose vinyl tile, apply adhesive beneath the edges, then drive small nails into each corner and midway along each seam. Fill any depressions left from the nails with sealant in a matching colour to conceal them.
  • Rub vinyl with a soft abrasive pad, using a circular motion, to remove any scuff marks from the surface. You can also revive your vinyl flooring's shine with a piece of wool felt or a lambswool pad.
  • If you warm damaged tiles you can soften them and their adhesive. You can do this with a hair dryer, or just lay down a towel and apply heat with an iron. Then, starting at a corner, use a stiff-bladed scraper to pry up the tile. Scrape off any remaining adhesive, then use a notched applicator to apply a fresh coat. Warm your replacement tile, then set it in place. Tap the tile with a mallet and a wood block to secure and wipe off excess adhesive with a damp cloth. Then, cover the tile with a board and heavy weight and leave it to set for 24 hours.
  • Vinyl laid before 1984 may contain asbestos fibres, and removing it may release those dangerous fibres into the air. Instead of pulling it up, lay your new flooring over the top of it.
  • If you have to remove flooring that was laid before 1984, ask for professional advice.
Installing and repairing vinyl flooring: key tips

What you will need to repair vinyl flooring

  • Utility knife
  • Scrap of vinyl flooring
  • Adhesive tape
  • Straightedge
  • Stiff-bladed scraper
  • V-notch trowel
  • Flooring adhesive
  • Rolling pin and damp cloth
  • Heavy weight

1. Cover and cut

  • Cut out an oversized patch and place this patch over the damaged area.
  • Align the pattern of the tiles, tape your patch in place, then use your utility knife and straightedge to cut through both the patch and the flooring beneath.

2. Scrape and paste

  • Remove the top (new) piece of vinyl and set it aside.
  • Peel up the damaged flooring.
  • Scrape any remains of the old adhesive from the underlay with a stiff-bladed scraper.
  • Use a small V-notch trowel to apply adhesive to the floor.

3. In with the new

  • Position the patch and press, starting at the centre and working towards the edges.
  • Roll over your patch firmly with a rolling pin, wipe away excess adhesive with a damp cloth and leave to dry under a heavy weight for 24 hours.

Handy tip: If you don't have an original off-cut to use as your patch, buy a matching piece or steal a patch from inside the pantry or under an appliance.

Keep these key tips in mind and you'll have an easy time installing and repairing your vinyl flooring.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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