Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring

As part of our basement renovation, we decided to use Luxury Vinyl plank flooring throughout our new space. The reason we picked this is we could install it ourselves, it's relatively budget friendly, we can lay it over concrete floors that are not 100% level, and it can withstand moisture. Our goal is to use the basement bathroom for guests during the summer when the pool is open, which means wet feet coming in and out. We also have a dog, so we need something to withstand his nails and muddy paws.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.

My husband researched this product thoroughly and watched a ton of YouTube videos on installation to prepare us for this project. Before you can even start to lay the flooring, there was quite a bit of prep work to get the concrete ready for us to install.

Preparing the Floor 


The floor does not have to be completely level; the manufacture allows for up to 1/8" difference. We still had to use concrete leveler in the mudroom area to smooth out where we took up the tile and to level the floor around the defunct drain.

The floor also has to be smooth. Since the planks are flexible, any high spots or sharp area could poke up through the plank and eventually wear a hole. We had to scrape up the dried drywall mud that had fallen on the floor and chip off a couple of areas where the concrete was high. Also, we had considerably more trouble joining the planks when crossing over areas of different heights, so smoothness/levelness is an issue concerning speed and ease of install.

The floor needs to be clean of any dirt or debri. We swept, used the shop vac, then went over the floor with a stick vac to make sure the floor was super clean.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.

Installing the LVP Flooring

Open a few boxes to pull the flooring from as you install it. The manufacturer recommends mixing up the planks in case there are subtle differences between the boxes.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.


Start against a STRAIGHT wall if you have one! Our home was built in the 60's and has settled and WE may not have been 100% accurate in our framing, so we encountered some issues with being square. In the laundry room, we were connecting it from the hallway, so we had to start in the doorway then work off both sides, which resulted in having to cut the planks to finish at the wall on both sides. Make sure to leave 1/4 gap at the edge to allow for expansion/contraction. They make handy plastic spacers to help with this.

For the pattern, we used a whole piece, then 2/3's of a piece, whole piece, 1/3 of a piece to cut down on waste. Just make sure you stagger the seams so you don't have the ends on two consecutive rows line up exactly. During the first couple of courses, be mindful that the entire assembly can shift, come out of square!  If it does, and you don’t try to fix it until you have 4 or 5 courses down – you won’t be able to. We used painters tape to help keep the seams together on the first few rows.

We bought a kit that had a rubber block and flat tool to aid with tapping in the planks as you installed them. I do not see how you could successfully install the floor with out it. Once we got a groove going, it went fairly quickly.
Get yours here using my affiliate link: Flooring Installation Kit.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.

Speaking of cutting, it was much harder to cut than we expected. We used a utility knife for the straight cuts, but around the toilet, we needed a curved cut. We used Aviation snips, which was still difficult and did not give a clean cut. For a notched cut, like around the door frame, we ended up using a Dremel tool. It gave a clean cut, though it smelled terrible! (burning vinyl?)

Through trial and error, we found that if you installed the short edge of the tongue and groove first, then wiggled in the long edge, it would click into place a lot easier. Check out this time lapse video on my YouTube channel for a peek at the process.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.

We then installed base molding to cover the small gap around the edge against the wall that allows for expansion/contraction. Use caulk to fill the nail holes in the trim and finish the top edge and corner gaps.

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.
  

Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.

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Tips for installing Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from a DIY'er.



If you need to level your floors, check out this post: My Experience With Concrete Self Leveler

4 comments:

  1. Your floors look great! I am impressed that you guys did this yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was not too hard once we got the hang of what we were doing!

      Delete
  2. Great floor! Love the color. Vinyl has come such a long way since the old days. Good tutorial too, I'm sure it will be helpful to others who are tackling their own floors :) Pinned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I prefer darker floors, but needed to keep it light in the basement. Thank you for visiting and pinning!

      Delete

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