Vinyl flooring comes in several different varieties including tiles, planks and large vinyl sheets in a roll. Regardless of the type of vinyl you're putting down, installation is fairly straightforward. Though the specifics of installing vinyl flooring may differ slightly based on the layout of your rooms and the type of vinyl you're installing, the basics of vinyl installation remain the same. Best of all, there aren't major differences when installing over different surface materials, such as wood or concrete.
Choose the Right Flooring Option
Select a vinyl flooring type based on the look you desire, your room layout and your available budget. Sheet vinyl may be a cheaper option overall, but installing sheet vinyl requires a lot of trimming if you aren't trying to fill a large area or if you have fixtures you need to work around. Plank and tile flooring are better options if you need to do a lot of trimming, though you may end up paying more in the long run.
Determine Flooring Area
Calculate your flooring needs in square yards. Measure the length and the width of the room, multiplying the two figures together to determine the area in square feet. Most flooring options are measured in square yards, so divide the square feet calculation by nine (a yard is 3 feet, so an area that measures 1 square yard would equal 3 feet by 3 feet or 9 square feet) to determine how much vinyl you need in square yards.
Prep the Room
Remove baseboards, doors and other fixtures in the room where you'll be installing the flooring. Remove any existing carpet or flooring, though you can leave an existing vinyl or linoleum floor so long as it's in good shape and is only one layer thick. Clean the subfloor to remove any debris or dirt that might interfere with vinyl installation.
Acclimate the Vinyl
Place the vinyl in the room and leave it there for at least 24 to 48 hours before continuing with the installation. This allows the vinyl to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room, making installation easier and preventing shifts after installation due to expansion or shrinkage.
Move the acclimated vinyl and install a thin sheet of plywood or other material on top of the floor surface. Stagger the edges of the wood across the floor, leaving a 1/32-inch gap between sheets to give the wood room to expand with humidity. Leave a 1/8-inch gap around the walls.
Position the Vinyl
Unroll the vinyl in the room if you're using sheet vinyl or select a starting wall and position your first tiles or planks. If using vinyl planks, cut the lip off the planks using a utility knife and butt that end up against the wall. Trim the vinyl as needed to ensure a close fit to door frames or other fixtures in the floor.
Fold back half of the vinyl if using sheets or lift the tiles or planks you have in place and apply adhesive with a notched trowel to the underlayment beneath. Allow it to set according to package directions.
If you're installing peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, there's no need to apply additional adhesive; they already have an adhesive on the back. To install these tiles, you simply need to peel the backing off of them and press them into place on the underlayment.
Install the Vinyl
Carefully reposition the vinyl over the set adhesive, pressing firmly as you do so. Repeat the process, folding back the other half of the vinyl sheet if necessary and placing more adhesive on the floor. If using plank vinyl, position the new planks at a 45-degree angle to get the plank under the lip of the previous plank before lowering them into place. Continue working on the floor, trimming vinyl as necessary, until the adhesive has been applied everywhere and vinyl covers the floor.
Allow the vinyl adhesive to dry completely before moving furniture into the room or subjecting the floor to regular traffic. Avoid getting water on the flooring for at least five days after installation to allow proper curing time for the adhesive. Sweep or dry mop the floor regularly, and use floor cleaners designed for use on vinyl as needed to keep the floor clean and with the appropriate shine.
Jack Gerard is a freelance writer with over 15 years of experience writing in the home improvement, DIY and home & garden space. Coming from a background in roofing and construction and bringing firsthand gardening and home repair experience, Gerard applies himself to his writing as a jack of many trades.