Attaching vinyl flooring to a subfloor requires an adhesive that's strong enough to hold the vinyl in place while also being flexible enough to move along with the floor as it expands and contracts due to temperature changes. Unlike most other adhesives, contact cement creates an immediate bond, shortening the waiting period between application and use of your flooring. Contact cement is thin, however, meaning that any irregularities in your subfloor before laying your vinyl will show through the vinyl. You must prepare the subfloor adequately before use, repairing any cracks or holes and making sure the subfloor is smooth and level.
Clean the floor of any dirt or debris that could interfere with the contact cement application. Sweep away loose dirt with a stiff-bristled broom and then mop the floor using a damp rope mop and a pH-neutral cleanser. Rinse off the cleaner with clean water and let the floor air-dry.
Turn off any flames in the room and surrounding rooms as the fumes from the contact cement are flammable.
Mark off the area of floor that you're covering with the vinyl flooring using a piece of chalk. If covering the entire floor, remove any baseboards surrounding the floor by placing the tip of a prybar between the boards and the wall at the nail locations and prying the board off.
Lay out the vinyl flooring in a separate room large enough to contain enough of the flooring to cover your flooring surface. Measure the flooring surface dimensions and transfer those measurements to your laid out flooring. Mark the measurements, adding about 1 1/2 inches to the perimeter for trimming, onto the flooring with a pencil. Cut the flooring to measurement then roll it up and transfer it to the flooring surface.
Lay the vinyl out on your flooring surface and trim it to fit using a utility knife. Roll the flooring back up and return it to the other room.
Apply the contact cement to your flooring area with a notched trowel. Spread the glue along the floor using a figure-eight motion with the notched edge to completely cover the flooring surface with a moderate layer of adhesive. Let the contact cement dry on the floor until it's no longer wet, but is still sticky to the touch. Place the flooring onto the surface within one hour of its drying to this point.
Roll a thin layer of contact cement onto the rear of the vinyl flooring using a medium nap paint roller. Allow the cement to dry to the same level as that on the floor, then roll the vinyl up so that the cement layer is outside the roll. Move the flooring roll to the installation area.
Lay the vinyl flooring over the cement by unrolling it into place. Make any needed adjustments quickly, as the two layers of contact cement will bind near instantly. Go over the flooring with a vinyl floor roller, rolling from the center of the flooring surface outward, to the edge. The roller makes certain the entire surface of the flooring meets the cement and pushes air bubbles that can form hills in the surface from beneath the vinyl before the cement sets completely.