The decision to renovate a tired room may have you gazing at the walls for inspiration, but the best place to look is right beneath your feet. While replacing certain floor surfaces requires an artisan's touch, laying a vinyl floor is a task most homeowners can complete themselves. Once installed, a new floor gives the room a different atmosphere and provides a sturdy surface for walking or furniture.
Measure the room to get its dimensions. Make certain the measurements are precise so you know how much vinyl to purchase. Transfer the measurements to a paper template if working with sheet vinyl. Cut the template to fit to the room, leaving at least an extra 1/8 inch on the outer edges.
Remove any obstacles that are attached to the floor. For example, if you plan to lay vinyl on a bathroom floor, detach the toilet and cover the drain hole with a rag. This way, you can cut a hole in the vinyl flooring to fit over the sewer drain to create a seamless look once you reinstall the toilet. Pick up a new wax ring if you are removing a toilet.
Detach the baseboard molding with a small pry bar placed beneath fastener locations to avoid breaking it during removal. If the trim is in good condition, take extra care not to damage it as you pry it up so it can be re-used.
Rip up the old flooring and remove. If small bits of glue or the previous surface remains, use a putty knife to remove. Only install vinyl flooring on a completely clean and smooth surface. Move to Step 6 if you are installing the vinyl on new concrete.
Pull up any carpet tack tracks slowly with the pry bar to avoid making cone-shaped pits. Trowel concrete patching mix into any holes or pits. Scrape off excess cement with the flat edge of the trowel. Allow the patch material to dry, and then sand or file it down to be level with the rest of the floor.
Check the surface of the concrete to verify it is smooth and even. Clean the surface thoroughly after sanding or removing rough spots or bumps with a masonry chisel, sandpaper or file. The concrete floor must be free of debris, or these will appear as small lumps beneath the vinyl.
Lay out the floor template over the vinyl sheeting you need to cut. If installing vinyl tiles, lay a chalk line between the center point of all four walls. Snap the chalk line horizontally and vertically at these points to form a cross in the room. Install the tiles working from the center out on this grid, cutting the tiles next to objects or the wall to fit. Peel and stick tiles already have the adhesive on the back of them.
Select a clean hard concrete floor to cut the vinyl. A garage or basement will work well for this step. Cut the flooring with a razor knife or a linoleum hook to the shape of the template when cutting sheet vinyl. Clean the down side of the vinyl to remove any specks of dust or debris.
Place the sheet vinyl down allowing the the edges to curl up the wall if they go beyond the wall's edge. Slice the outside corners inward from the edge of the vinyl. Trim inside corners in a series of small V-shaped cuts at the corner point until the proper fit is established.
Set a two-by-four board or straightedge along the wall, and then trim the vinyl flush with the wall if it isn't flush already. Make the lines straight and close to the wall, but they do not have to be perfect, as the border trim will cover this area.
Roll the fitted flooring half way back and apply a releasable adhesive to the cement floor. If installing tile squares that do not have adhesive on the back, lay just enough adhesive for the tiles you are installing, working from the center of the room out.
Make short sweeping arcs with the notched side of the trowel down to create a tooth in the adhesive. Cover the entire area beneath the vinyl with adhesive evenly.
Roll the flooring carefully on to the adhesive then roll up the other side and repeat the adhesive-laying step.
Wipe off any excess glue with a wet rag. Smooth out the vinyl using a floor roller, working from the middle of the room out. Apply moderate pressure to ensure a firm bond between the floor and the adhesive.
Install new floor molding or reuse the old molding.
Restrict foot traffic on the floor for several hours until the adhesive has time to set and harden.