Hardwood Floor How-To's

How to Install Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Learn how to install luxury vinyl flooring and see if it’s something you want to take up as your next DIY project.
How to Install Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) is an excellent option for those that want to save money but don’t want to sacrifice looks. For a while, vinyl was looked down upon for its uncomfortable feel and cheap looks. However, today’s luxury vinyl flooring (also known as LVT or LVP if you’re using tiles or planks) is a resilient material that can copy the look of other floor types and natural materials. LVF is low-maintenance, water resilient and easy to install.

If you’re in the market for luxury vinyl flooring, learning how to install LVF can help you better plan and make the right choices for your flooring budget.

Glue Down vs. Floating

When it comes to luxury vinyl plank flooring, there are two main installation choices: glue down or floating floor installation. The glue down method uses an adhesive to stick the vinyl pieces to the subfloor. The floating floor method is like its laminate floor counterpart—a floor is installed on top of a subfloor, underlayment or existing floor. The main difference between installation choice is foot traffic. For high traffic floors, the glue down method offers more protection and is often used in commercial spaces. The floating floor method is widely used in residential spaces.

Floor Prep

Before you begin installing your luxury vinyl plank flooring, your floor or subfloor needs to be inspected and possibly repaired. Make sure you remove any baseboards before any repair work is done to make the entire installation process easier. Luxury vinyl plank flooring can be installed on basically any clean, smooth surface, but the surface must be level. Since LVF is a softer material, any imperfections on the surface it will be installed on will be seen in the LVF. Once the floor is ready for installation, it is best to plan ahead before you start laying down flooring.

Installation

Always refer to the LVF manufacturer’s instructions on the best way to install luxury vinyl flooring. While installation processes will differ from product to product, installing vinyl plank follows some basic rules.

  • Buy an extra box. After you measure out your space, buy an extra box just in case you need extra materials. You can always return an unopened box.
  • Lay planks parallel to the longest wall of your space. Laying LVP this way will ensure the least amount of cutting needed.
  • Leave gaps along the walls to allow the floor to expand. Most LVF installation kits will have shims to create gaps around the floor to allow for seasonal changes.
  • Plan your design. Do a dry run of your installation plan to see where you’ll need to cut your LVP. When you plan your design, be sure to stagger the seams of the planks. Start your installation with your longest, most visible wall to ensure that it get the best look with full, uncut planks.
  • Measure and cut as needed. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is easy to cut. You can use some heavy-duty scissors or a utility to knife so score both sides of the plank to easily snap apart pieces. When you cut LVP because the original plank is too long, simply start the next row with the remaining piece. Also, you’ll want to trim any door jambs that the LVF won’t easily slide under. 
  • Reinstall baseboards. After you’re finished installing your new luxury vinyl flooring, reinstall baseboards to finish the job. If you want to upgrade your baseboards or simply give it a new coat of paint, now is the time to help fully transform the look of your floors.

Luxury vinyl flooring is a versatile, resilient and easy to install type of flooring that is a popular choice for remodeling your home. Whether you want to install it yourself or call in a professional flooring contractor, you’ll be happy with the new look of your space.

Interested in changing the look of your existing floors? Contact a Bona Certified Craftsman to find a flooring contractor near you that can help you get the look you want.

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