5 Tips for DIYing Vinyl Plank Flooring

Choosing & Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

Why Choose Vinyl Plank Flooring

In terms of flooring options, vinyl plank has become all the rage after taking over the laminate flooring storm from several years ago. Consumers choose vinyl plank – often referred to as Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) – for many reasons, but one of the most common is the ease of installation for all those DIYers out there. Additionally, it gives a real wood look and feel without the price, is easy to clean, and doesn’t chip or scratch easily like tile and wood.

With the selling market on fire, vinyl plank flooring can increase your property value as well – especially for families with children and pets. Why? It doesn’t have to be removed or replaced when you sell your home like carpet often does, which means less hassle when negotiating the fine details of your sale. If you’re ready to start shopping for vinyl plank flooring and plan on installing it yourself, let’s get you prepared for what’s to come.

5 Tips That Will Make Your Install A Breeze

1. Consider all the different options as you make a selection for your space.

Always pick the right style for your home that will withstand the tests of time. Consider the wear and tear your floors currently see in a typical week from spills, tracked in dirt/mud/water, pet accidents, frequent mopping, heavy, shifting furniture, etc. Then, consider your vinyl plank options:

  •  Stone plastic composite vinyl planks (or Rigid Cord Vinyl Planks) are 100% waterproof and have a stone plastic composite core, meaning they’re very dense and can withstand a lot of the wear and tear associated with high traffic areas. Because of that, SPC plank flooring is often used in commercial spaces. There are some drawbacks, though. This type of flooring doesn’t provide as much warmth or softness as other vinyl planks.
  • Wood plastic composite vinyl planks are also 100% waterproof with a core made of a mixture of wood and plastic. The core of WPC vinyl planks is what makes it perfect for homes — it’s tough but it’s softer underfoot than your SPC vinyl plank options.
  • Luxury vinyl planks are high quality and very durable, making them a great option for high traffic homes with kids and pets. The planks themselves contain multiple layers, including a tough-wear layer, which help the flooring stand up to the tough stuff.

Then choose your best option in installation. The basic types of application are:

  • Interlocking – the planks lock together in a tongue and groove installation design
  • Peel and stick – the back of each plank is coated in an adhesive the sticks to your concrete subfloor
  • Glue down – using a special high-test glue, the planks stay put for years, regardless of interior heat which can cause other flooring to peel up when glue bonds fail
  • Loose lay (also known as floating) – these float above the floor without being secured with glue

2. Measure twice and account for waste!

When you have selected your style and chosen your installation plan, make sure all measurements are accurate. There is a wonderful and incredibly accurate online calculator that will tell you exactly how many planks and boxes you need to fit your square footage (or simply bring your measurements to us at Lakeland Liquidation and we’ll calculate this for you).

Don’t forget to account for waste and any amount of extra flooring you may want to keep on hand after installation is complete. With planks, it’s best to account for +10% waste.

3. Prep and clean your space thoroughly.

Make sure the floor is completely clean of debris, dust, and all particles that can make your flooring sit unevenly, or – if you are peeling and sticking – impede the glue bond from adhering to the back of the tile. This is a good time to choose your plan for the baseboards. You’ll need to decide if you wish to remove them, create a gap for expansion, or use bridge molding.

You should have your tools ready when you begin, but if you are still unsure of which tools will be necessary, here is a checklist for you to reference from:

  • Crowbar
  • Level
  • Chalk line
  • Square
  • Utility knife
  • Power saw with a fine-tooth blade (larger toothed saws may chip and shred your planks)

It is important that you put your vinyl planks in the intended installation space for at least 48 hours. This gives them a chance to acclimate to the humidity and climate of the space. Although it is acceptable to lay your new vinyl plank flooring over existing vinyl flooring, we highly recommend pulling up all existing flooring and laying your planks on the bare concrete or wood subfloor.

4. Mark the floors with chalk lines to map your starting point and the direction you want to run the planks.

Did you decide to remove the baseboards? Well done. This is the easiest way to ensure your measurements will stretch your vinyl to the walls. 

You’ll now want to find your room center. Use a chalk line to get your bearings as to the direction you wish to run your vinyl planks, then mark the floor accordingly.

Lay the first plank and don’t forget to stagger the seams about 6 inches from the end of the next plank. Score the first row of planks and cut off the tongue of the plank. Place this cut side against the wall, but make sure to leave a gap for expansion. The vinyl will expand as the room grows warmer; doing this prevents warping.

5. Use pull bars and tapping blocks to snap tricky seams closed.

Vinyl planks aren’t fragile, but they are thin more often than not. The tool you use to tap the seams together must be designed with this in mind, lest you ruin your planks and add to the waste. A pull bar is great for stubborn seams, while a tapping block will help you at those tricky door jams. You’ll see what we mean if you have to cut a plank to fit around the door molding. Remember, the vinyl planks are made to be perfectly aligned to fit together. So, if this step makes you nervous, it is ok to skip it.

Vinyl Plank Flooring in Central Florida 

Never again stress about what lives in (or under) your carpet, cleaning stubborn grout lines, or dropping something on your tile or wood, causing cracks or major dents.

Lakeland Liquidation is a great source for in-stock and special order vinyl plank flooring. We also carry other types of flooring, including tile, carpet, and other vinyl options. We are ready to supply your needs for any kitchen, flooring, or bathroom remodel! Come browse the warehouse today.

Pssst…Unsure if you’re up for the task of installing your own vinyl plank flooring? No worries. We also offer installation services!

 Lakeland Liquidation is your go-to source for Vinyl Plank Flooring in Lakeland and Winter Haven and surrounding areas.