Vinyl flooring is sometimes seen as the poor man’s alternative to gorgeous luxuries such as slate, marble and hardwoods. However, this material has more to offer and is just perfect for some people who, aside from budget considerations, have other reasons to choose a less ‘finicky’ flooring solution.
For starters, properties that will be rented to tenants needn’t have a fortune spent on the floors. Laying a vinyl floor is perfectly adequate and a wonderful way to revitalize the interior of a tired old house.
Great Beginner’s DIY Project
Vinyl flooring looks neat and clean and is available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns. It’s extremely hard-wearing so it more than justifies its presence even in more upmarket homes. It simply wipes clean, is very comfortable to live with, is not cold underfoot and it absorbs noise better than some harder floors. In fact, laying vinyl flooring resolves several issues and comes in at a far lower price than the alternatives.
Before you begin laying a vinyl floor
Given the softness and amount of cushioning present in vinyl, you’ll need a very smooth surface to work with, otherwise any blemishes, dents, raised bumps or pockmarks will be evident when the floor is finished. You can use hardboard to cover your existing floorboards and this will result in a lovely, even surface for your vinyl.
If your floors are solid concrete, you must test for dampness by taping a plastic bag about 1’ x 1’ over the floor and leaving for 24 hours. When you lift the bag, if there is moisture evident then you will need to use a damp-proof membrane before laying the vinyl floor.
Ceramic tiles will require a 3mm coat of self leveling compound to make sure the joints between each tile are smooth.
Before you place your order, measure the dimensions of the room/s and include any oddly shaped corners, nooks and the risers of staircases. Check the width of your chosen vinyl sheets as they come in 2, 3 and 4m and fit your dimensions to the vinyl specifications. Don’t forget to make allowances for trimming.
Laying your vinyl floor
• Allow the vinyl to acclimate for a day or so in the room in which you will be laying it. It should be opened flat if there is adequate space, or at least left rolled more loosely.
• Remove your shoes and give the floor a good vacuum to ensure the surface is free of debris that will show through the finished vinyl.
• When ready to use, unroll the vinyl and position it up against the longest, single straight wall. Be sure to leave around 100mm of vinyl as overlap.
• Check that your walls are square-on and if they are not, you might have to adjust the pattern for best results by angling the vinyl sheet a little.
• Take a soft broom – preferably a new one without any grit in the bristles – and sweep the vinyl sheet nice and flat being careful to push out any air bubbles.
• Cut in from the edge to keep the sheet flat in nooks and corners.
• To fit internal corners, press the vinyl tightly into the corner and make a vertical cut downwards. Then trim off the waste from both sides of the vertical line and this will make a v-shape that you can push into the corner.
• External corners should be cut from the apex of the corner towards the outer edge, using a 45° angle to allow plenty of vinyl to trim.
• Make your way around the room using a steel ruler or other implement with a firm, straight edge to work the vinyl into the gap between the floor and the wall. Trim the vinyl waste away to ensure a good fit. For smaller areas such as door frames, use a paint scraper or putty knife for leverage.
• Once you have finished laying your vinyl floor, use threshold strips at doorways to protect the edge of the vinyl sheet.
Laying a vinyl floor is a fairly straightforward procedure that requires more common strength than a tool box full of the latest handyman gadget. Think logically and take efficient measurements and the job should be simple for even a beginner.