How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Want a budget-friendly alternative to a wood
floor? Try vinyl plank flooring. It’s durable and great for high moisture
areas like basements and bathrooms. Vinyl can be installed over concrete, wood,
and existing vinyl—as long as it’s only one layer thick. Your subfloor should be clean, dry, and relatively
level—no more than 3/16-inch change per 10 feet. Use a self leveler on low spots and sand or
grind high spots on wood and concrete. Do not sand an existing vinyl floor–it may
contain asbestos. Removing the baseboard can make the installation
easier. Let the vinyl flooring planks acclimate to
the room for about 48 hours and use planks from different boxes to mix up colors and
patterns. When installing, maintain a 5/16-inch expansion
gap at the perimeter and stagger the joints at least six inches. You’ll need a starting line square to the
room. However, many walls are bowed or out of square,
so here’s what you do. Mark the center of each wall and snap lines
between. Then measure from the center to the starting
wall, subtract the expansion gap, and mark this distance at the ends.

Snap a line between to get a straight line
against the wall. Also, calculate the width of the last row. If it will be less than 1/3 plank, cut about
1/3 of the plank off first row. Begin the install by scoring and cutting the
tongue off the first row. Then set the first plank in place on the starting
line—cut-side toward the wall. Hold the next piece at a slight angle and
fold down. To cut the last piece to fit, score with a
utility knife and snap it. The end piece must be at least 6 inches. If it’s not, cut a little bit off the first
plank, and slide the row. Onto row two. Insert the tongue of the first piece into
the previous row and rotate down.

For the next piece, connect the short end,
then the long end. You should feel it lock. Continue the installation, staggering the
joints at least 6 inches and maintaining the expansion gap. To get under doorjambs you can slightly bend
the planks into place, and use a pull bar or tapping block to lock the joint if necessary. And that’s how simple it is to install floating
vinyl plank flooring. Another vinyl plank option is peel and stick
flooring. It’s as easy as it sounds–just peel, and
stick onto the subfloor. To finish your installation, add transitions,
and trim. Nail to the wall, not the flooring. Vinyl plank flooring gives you the great look
of a wood floor with the durability and low-maintenance of traditional vinyl. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to Lowes.com/HowTo or just click to subscribe.

If you’re looking for another flooring option,
check out How to Install a Tile Floor..

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