How to Install Vinyl Tile Flooring

Installing vinyl flooring can be an easy way to update an otherwise outdated kitchen or home.

How Much to Buy

The majority of today's vinyl flooring is designed for fairly easy installation and no longer requires the use of a professional. Here are a few easy instructions to help with an installation project.

Decide where you want to install the vinyl flooring.

Measure the room in square yards.

Draw a sketch of the room where you want to install the vinyl tile flooring and transfer the measurements of the room onto the sketch. Increase the room's dimensions by a few inches to provide extra material for centering the pattern, cutting and trimming the tile in the room.

Take the drawing to a vinyl tile flooring manufacturer and purchase the appropriate amount of flooring.

Prepare Room and Floors

Prepare the room by removing furniture, appliances or plumbing fixtures like the toilet.

Remove any floor trim moulding from the walls with a pry bar or hammer and flat edge screw driver. You may want to insert a block of wood between the bar or screw driver and the wall in order to protect the wall from damage.

Remove any nails from the wall with pliers. If you are planning on reusing the moulding pull any embedded nails through the back of the moulding to prevent splitting.

Make sure floor surface is completely clean, and that the sub-floor is in good condition, completely smooth and flat.

Repair any existing cracks or holes in underlying concrete and lower any raised spots with a grinder. Vinyl tile can be laid on top of existing linoleum or vinyl floor (if it's in good condition). Fix holes or indentions in by using a coat of embossing leveler. If there are damaged or loose vinyl sections, they should be removed.

Install new underlayment if the existing sub-floor is not in repairable condition.

Install Underlayment

Cut a section from the bottom of the door mouldings to provide a space for the underlayment to fit. Use a piece of the new underlayment as a guide to measure the amount of space needed under the door moulding.

Secure any old loose flooring by nailing it down. Set the nails slightly below the floor's surface. Be sure to fill in any cracks or holes.

Attach the pieces of underlayment to the floor, staggering the seams of the panels. Be sure to leave a 1/32" gap between the panels and a 1/8" gap along the wall to allow for expansion, using the fasteners recommended by the manufacturer.

Level any uneven sections of the underlayment by using cement patching compound or ready-mix floor leveler. Allow the sections to dry and sand smooth. The surface of the underlayment must be smooth, thoroughly clean and free from grease, debris or wax.

Cut the Vinyl Tile Floor

Measure the entire area of the floor and proceed to cut the vinyl tile approximately 3" wider than the measurements on all sides.

Cut the flooring with heavy-duty shears or utility knife. You may want to save excess flooring to install in a laundry room, closet or bathroom.

Reinforce the corners cut in the flooring with two pieces of masking tape. This will protect each corner from tearing when the vinyl tile is placed in position.

Fit Vinyl Flooring

Place the flooring in position, leaving excess around each wall.

Cut half circles on inside corners until the vinyl tile will lay flat, make straight relief cuts for the outside corners.

Pull the vinyl tile back from the wall, exposing the underlayment or sub-floor. In order to make an exact cut, create a template along the wall by rolling craft paper on the length of the wall.

Line the craft paper along the wall, taping it to the floor every two feet with small pieces of masking tape. This keeps the craft paper from moving around on the floor.

Apply a strip of double-sided tape to the top of the craft paper, approximately every two feet.

Roll the flooring over the craft paper and press firmly. Gently lift the vinyl tile up, the craft paper will be stuck to the back of the flooring.

Cut the vinyl along the outer edge of the craft paper. Repeat the foregoing steps for each wall in the room, trimming the vinyl exactly to each wall.

Spread a band of vinyl adhesive, using a notched trowel, about 6 inches wide if you want to only adhere the flooring to the perimeter of the room.

Lay the vinyl into position, flush to each wall. Using a hand roller, press the flooring to the adhesive material.

Replace wall moulding and trim.

Clean adhesive left on the floor, but you may want to avoid washing the floor for 3 days, as well as keeping foot traffic to a minimum for at least 24 hours.

Replace furniture and fixtures.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Patching compound
  • Putty and utility knife
  • Craft paper
  • Masking tape
  • Double-sided tape
  • Handsaw
  • Vinyl adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • Floor roller
  • Pry bar or flat edge screw driver and hammer
  • Small wood block
  • Safety glasses
  • Embossing leveler
  • Grinder
  • Pliers