Cushion vinyl flooring, also known as resilient vinyl, is prized both for its durability and minimal maintenance requirements. There are three ways to install cushion vinyl flooring; loose lay, semi-loose lay and full spread. The difference between the three types is in how much adhesive you use; loose lay only uses adhesive across doorways and semi-loose lay uses adhesive all along the perimeter of the vinyl. Full spread uses adhesive across the entire floor and should be done by a professional to avoid creasing the vinyl, breaking the vinyl backing and leaving bubbles in the finished floor, among many other potential mistakes.The type of installation you do depends on the size and usage of the room.
Turn off any radiant heating systems in the room.
Pry off baseboards and remove any other obstacles in the room. In a bathroom, pull the toilet.
Walk across the floor looking for any protruding nails and hammer them down below the surface. Nail down loose or squeaky boards and high spots in the floor as you encounter them.
Fill in low spots in the subfloor with leveling compound until they are even with the rest of the floor.
Vacuum the surface of the subfloor to remove all dirt and debris.
Install a layer of plywood underlayment across the floor according to manufacturers’ instructions. The joints between the underlayment boards should run perpendicular to the subfloor. Underlayment is not necessary on concrete floors or if installing over a previous vinyl installation.
Warm up the vinyl. There are two ways to do this. You can either roll it out flat in the room where you’ll install it and let it set for 2 hours. The other option is to roll it loosely, which you can ask the floor-covering store to do for you, and leave it in the room for 24 hours. The temperature in the room must be at least 65 degrees.
Cut the vinyl to the shape of the room, plus a 2-inch overlap on each wall. If you require two pieces of vinyl to cover the floor, overlap the edges of the vinyl by 2 inches and cut through both pieces at the same time to ensure the seam will bond together perfectly. Set the scraps aside.
Lift up the 2 edges of the seam if you are installing two pieces of vinyl. Spread a layer of adhesive approximately 3 inches wide along that point of the floor. Lay the edges of the vinyl into the adhesive and roll over the seam with a floor roller.
Place a piece of scrap vinyl underneath one corner to protect the floor below while cutting. For an external corner, slit the vinyl along the corner until you reach the floor. For an internal corner, cut diagonal lines across the corner, little by little, until the vinyl will lie flat in the corner. Do not crease the edges of the surrounding vinyl.
Trim along the walls so that the vinyl is 1/8 inch short of reaching the wall. Repeat the process for all four walls.
Lift up the edge of one side of the vinyl gently and install double-sided sticky tape to the floor, 1/4 inch away from touching the wall. For loose lay, install tape only at the doorways and for semi-loose lay do it around the entire perimeter of the room.
Lay the vinyl back down. Continue installing the tape in this manner for all four walls if you're installing in semi-loose lay style.
Roll over the edges of the room with a floor roller to bond the floor and vinyl to the sticky tape.
Staple or nail your baseboards back in place along the walls with a 1/8-inch gap between them and the vinyl. Reinstall the toilet if you were covering a bathroom floor.
Things You Will Need
- Pry bar
- Leveling compound
- Plywood underlayment
- Utility knife
- Vinyl floor adhesive
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Floor roller
- Staples or nails
- Loose lay is not an option if you require more than one piece of vinyl to cover the floor. By gluing a seam between two pieces of the floor, it automatically becomes a semi-loose lay floor.
- The pattern on the vinyl should run parallel to your focal wall.
- Loose lay floors cannot withstand the force of heavy moving objects.
About the Author
Based in southern Virginia, Kristy Robinson has been writing for various websites since 2008. Her work focuses on tutorials and self-help articles. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from American InterContinental University.
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