how to lay vinyl flooring
So you’ve got a bunch of beautiful vinyl flooring. Now to fit it!
We advise leaving it to the experts and using a professional flooring fitter to get the best possible results. But if you fancy doing it yourself, we’re here to help.
We’ve crammed this fitting guide with expert advice and tips to help you along the way and make things as easy as possible.
Which? approved Carpetright fitters
Our professional fitting service is approved by industry experts Which? and we’re super proud of it. Our recommended fitters have all passed the rigorous assessment process set by Which? to become a recognised Which? Trusted Trader.
Getting your new floor fitted by our recommended fitters means you get to enjoy your room transformation with much less hassle. Just select fitting at our online checkout, or ask one of our Carpetright team members in store.
As well as our standard fitting service, we also offer an uplift and disposal service which means the fitters will take up and dispose of your old flooring before they fit your new one for a small additional fee.
It’s just one less thing for you to worry about.
Find out what you can expect from our professional fitting service by clicking here.
Our step-by-step guide to fitting vinyl flooring
Whether you go with our recommended professional Which? approved flooring fitters or want to take on the challenge of fitting your new vinyl flooring yourself, you will find everything you need in this fitting guide. We'll cover every stage of the installation process including:
How to measure a room for vinyl
This is the most important stage! Getting your measurements right will set the rest of your project up for success. Here are the important things to remember to get those crucial numbers:
- Draw a simple diagram of the rooms you’re going to fit vinyl in. They drawings don’t need to be perfect, but the measurements need to be accurate.
- For square or rectangular rooms, just multiply the width by the height. For example, a room that is 5m x 2m will need 10m2 of vinyl.
- Add an extra 50-100mm to each edge to allow for wastage.
- If your room includes recesses or chimney breasts, you still need to measure the complete surface area without these as the vinyl will be cut around them.
- If the above is tricky, measure each area separately, and write the measurement in the relevant space on the diagram. These areas can be added together to get the total area of the room.
- Always measure twice to make sure you’ve got your measurements right.
- Remember to measure to the back of any door frames or room trims.
- To work out the coverage for stairs, measure the height and depth of each stair which will give you the length before multiplying by the width. This will give you the area of each stair.
How to measure a simple room accurately
Watch our step-by-step guide to accurately measuring a simple room. It's never been easier to get a perfect fit.
How to measure a room with extra areas
Learn the basic steps to accurately measure a room with extra areas by watching our helpful video.
How to measure a room which needs a join
Learn how to accurately measure a room which requires a join with our step-by-step guide.
If you’d rather leave it to an expert, just pop your name in our simple online form and arrange an appointment for our free measuring service. We’re guaranteed to be fast and accurate. Less waste means less overall cost!
Tools for fitting vinyl flooring
Once you’ve mastered your measurements, the next step is making sure you’ve got the right equipment for the task at hand. Tools for laying vinyl include:
- Knee pads
- Bolster chisel
- Good pair of scissors or Stanley knife
- Measuring tape
- A straight edge
- Vinyl adhesive
- Lining paper
- Home-made scribing gauge
Preparing your sub-floor for vinyl
One of vinyl’s many benefits is that it can be laid on almost any surface, as long as it’s flat and clean.
1. Clear your room of any furniture, fixtures and fittings so you have room to work.
2. Don’t lay vinyl over recently treated wood or moist concrete. Leave them to dry out before starting work.
3. Leave your vinyl in the room you want to lay it in for 24 hours before starting. This important step lets it adapt to the climate of the room for the best fit.
4. Ideally, any existing tile or floor covering should be removed. If you can’t do this, make sure the existing covering is secure and in good condition. Give it a good clean and fill any dents or gaps with compound.
5. If you have underfloor heating, check with the manufacturer that the particular brand you have is suitable to cover it. Many vinyl types are.
6. To stay safe and comfy while working, always wear knee pads.
7. If a lot of your floorboards are damaged, it’s often cheaper and easier to start again with new ones. Tongue-and-groove chipboard flooring boards are great to use as a base, as are hardboard sheets.
8. Prepare existing floorboards by ensuring no nails are sticking out above the surface and nailing down any boards that are loose. Sand down any boards that are at a higher level than the rest.
9. Make sure you’re using nails of the right length, about 19mm or so. If they’re too long, there’s a risk of piercing through the floorboard into pipes or cables.
10. If hardboard sheets are your base, lay them texture side up so the adhesive will stick. Start in a corner of the room and set the nails about 13mm in from the edges of the sheet in a pyramid pattern. It’s a good idea to use something as a spacer like a piece of wood.
11. Space the nails about 150mm apart around the edges but in the centre 225mm apart. It’s a good idea to start in the centre of one edge and work across the board to the other side.
12. Push the sheets together and nail the edges where the sheets meet first. When you finish the first row of boards the last one will need to be cut to size.
13. Use this off-cut from the last sheet in the first row to start the second row and carry on in the same way. This reduces waste and also helps by ensuring the joints are staggered.
Do I need vinyl flooring underlay?
Vinyl flooring is already cushioned, so you don’t need any underlay.
How to fit sheet vinyl flooring
With sheet vinyl, it’s best to fit a single sheet where you can. Not only does it look better, but it stops any peeling or wear on the edges of your flooring.
1. Store your vinyl in the room where you’ll fit it for 48 hours before fitting. This will bring it to the right temperature and prevent problems like brittleness or cracking.
2. If the room is particularly chilly, having the heating on during this process can be better for the vinyl.
3. Unroll your vinyl and place the longer side of the sheet parallel to the longest wall, about 25mm away from the skirting.
4. Trace the skirting profile onto your vinyl before you cut it as skirting is very often not completely straight. You can use a scribing gauge, which can easily be made, to do this.
5. Take a small piece of wood and hammer a nail in around 30mm from one end so it is just sticking through the other side. Put the gauge against the skirting and move it along to let the nail trace the length of the skirting onto the vinyl. You can use this line as your guide to cut along the vinyl, ensuring it is perfectly lined up with the skirting.
6. Cut a small triangular section at each corner out of the excess allowance from your measurements. This will enable the vinyl to lie flat.
7. Using a bolster chisel, press the vinyl between the floor and skirting board enough to make a sharp crease.
8. Now you need to cut along this crease, holding a straight edge along it, and preferably using a knife at an angle.
9. If you have any external corners, cut straight down from the vinyl edge to the floor and cut away the excess leaving 50-100mm turned up at the skirting boards.
10. When the whole vinyl sheet is down and the above is complete, lift the edges and stick down to your sub floor with a vinyl adhesive.
NOTE: Heavier duty vinyl flooring does not need to be stuck down, while light, non-cushioned varieties need adhesive all over, not just at the edges.
How to join vinyl flooring
Occasionally, for example in a large room, you might need to join two sheets of vinyl. Try to use two sheets from the same roll to avoid any minor variations in colour between rolls.
- Slide the second sheet along the first until any patterns match perfectly.
- Fold the edges over whilst keeping the sheets in exactly the same position.
- Use double-sided tape or adhesive to stick the edge and press down hard to secure to the floor.
Top tip – vinyl adhesive
Some heavy-duty vinyl flooring doesn’t need an adhesive at all, as it’s kept down by its own weight. Lighter cushioned flooring needs glue around the edges and at any joins.
The lightest and thinnest vinyl needs to be stuck down all over. The best way to do this is to put the vinyl in place, roll it back halfway and apply adhesive to the floor. Put this half down and repeat on the other side.
Fitting vinyl in difficult areas
Some areas of the home provide more of a challenge when it comes to fitting vinyl. The bathroom, with its fiddly fittings, is a good example.
- Lay the vinyl out in your bathroom as far as the front of the toilet, wash basin etc then fold it back on itself.
- Then cut a straight line from the edge of the vinyl to the centre of the toilet or pedestal using scissors.
- Again with scissors snip a series of cuts all the way round the base of the pedestal being careful to not go too far in.
- Make a sharp crease around the base and cut around it, trimming off each flap until it fits perfectly then roll it back.
- Put adhesive on the floor around the fitting and press the vinyl hard into place.
- For a door frame make a series a cuts in the same way, but this time leave 50-100mm sticking up while trimming for greater accuracy.
- Make a crease in the vinyl by pressing it into the angle between the door frame and the floor and cut along the crease. Make a straight cut across the line of the door with it ending under it, about halfway.
- Fit a door bar to hold it down into place and give a profession finish.
How to fit a door bar
Door bars give a neat join between different floors across door thresholds. First make sure you have the right door bar for your flooring type and height.
- A door bar needs to be positioned centrally across the threshold so it can’t be seen on either side when you close the door. Once you have it in place, cut it to the right length with a hack saw.
- Double check there are no pipes or cables under this section of flooring.
- For a concrete floor drill the holes with a power drill using a masonry bit and insert wall plugs. Now you can fit your door bar.