Vinyl plank flooring is a logical approach to giving your unsightly floor a facelift with a few tools. This flooring option comes in planks like hardwood, but it’s primarily built of PVC plastic. Not to mention, it’s a scratch-resistant option as opposed to hardwood that exhibits dings and dents after maximum use. Thanks to its ultra-durable wear coat that withstands maximum ill use. But what people need to know is; Do You Need Spacers for Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Yes, vinyl plank flooring requires spacers during installation to maintain the right expansion gap between the planks and contiguous obstacles. Unlike wedges that tip over and fall with time, spacers remain firmly in place and are also easy to remove when you want.
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How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
- Find out your layout, figuring out the direction your planks should run.
- Preparation- ensure your vinyl plank acclimates inside your home for about 48 hours to help maintain its natural expansion and contraction so you won’t encounter installation failures afterward.
- Reinstall the trim moldings, that is, you can reattach the trim Moldings.
Vinyl plank flooring is currently the choice for many DIY installers considering the ease of installation coupled with other unparalleled features. Even if installing this flooring option seems easy, you need to understand all the necessary steps involved.
Find out more in this guide.
- Knee pads.
- Safety glasses.
- Flush cut saw.
- Razor knife.
- Tin snips.
- Transition trim.
- Tapping block.
- Carpenter’s square.
- Metal putty knife.
- Rubber mallet.
- Circular saw.
With the above supplies at hand, you can install your vinyl plank flooring in these easy steps.
Step 1: Find out your layout.
First, figure out which direction your planks should run. This prescience is integral as it allows you to know any extra supplies needed to account for cutting waste. Some aspects to factor in include electrical light sources, your room’s shape, special features in the space, etc.
For instance, running the planks in the same direction with light sources makes your space seem pleasing to the eyes. So once you discover the direction you want your planks to run, start squaring your room.
Step 2: Preparation
Before installing your vinyl plank floor, ensure it acclimates inside your home for about 48 hours. You do this because vinyl planks gradually change dimensions with fluctuation in temp and humidity. So acclimating your vinyl planks helps maintain its natural expansion and contraction so you won’t encounter installation failures afterward.
First, uninstall the trim moldings. Doing this promotes ease of installation. They include base shoe moldings, baseboards, and case moldings. The doorcase moldings are relatively easy to remove and install. But if you don’t plan to remove the door trim or suppose you have protrusions that don’t easily, you can forge your vinyl flooring to fit around the obstacles.
Next, sand down your existing floor to ensure the vinyl flooring installs on a smooth surface free from installation failures. Use fine-grit sandpaper to soften the high peaks, then fill in any gaps with leveling compound to avoid issues after installation.
It’s best to use thick vinyl planks to hide the surface deformities, unlike thin ones that highlight surface irregularities after installation.
Assuming your floor is smooth, you can begin laying your flooring. First, decide which side of your room you will begin laying your planks. After that, start laying out a plank at your wall’s center as you work to either side. This way, the cut planks at the ends will have the same length. Leave at least a ¼ inch gap at the walls and adjacent obstacles. This gap allows spacers to be installed.
Once you’re done covering the larger part of the floor, cut your planks for protrusions. Use a utility knife to cut the planks for accurate shapes. The cut planks will fit where you encounter obstacles like floor ducts or door frames.
So after designing the cutouts, attach the plank to the neighboring plank exactly when holding the cut planks upwards. You then slowly lay down the cut plank until it’s equal to the adjacent plank. Don’t worry about bending the planks, as they are flexible enough to fit around protrusions like door frames.
Step 3: Reinstall the trim moldings.
After installing your vinyl plank floor, you can reattach the trim Moldings. You can achieve this easily using a brad nailer instead of a hammer that can damage your trim.
Where to Put Spacers for Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring closely resembles real wood, and it offers impressive authenticity while remaining a cost-effective option that’s easy to install and maintain. They come in many colors, finishes, and styles ideal for both commercial and residential spaces. But a common question with this flooring option is, where to put spacers for laminate flooring?
Spacers in laminate flooring should be positioned along all walls in your room, then removed later after installation. Be sure the gap between your wall and laminate flooring is 10mm.
While installing laminate flooring, ensure the planks don’t align in one place. If not, your floor’s surface will appear unsightly while decreasing the floor’s stability as a whole.
What Size Spacers for Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring along with other flooring materials expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. For this reason, an extension gap is required to enhance this movement. That’s when spacers come in handy to create the gap needed when installing your floor. But what size spacers for vinyl plank flooring?
Ideally, the recommended size spacers for vinyl plank flooring is roughly ⅜ inch to ½ inch. Most of these spacers come with vinyl plank flooring. But you can also forge yours by cutting pieces of ½ inch or ⅜ inch plywood.
How to Use Spacers for Vinyl Plank Flooring
Spacers help maintain an expansion gap for your vinyl plank flooring to adapt to temperature fluctuations. Using them is relatively easy. All you need is to position at least two spacers besides the wall that runs equal to the long direction of your vinyl plank flooring. The wall should be running in the same direction as your flooring.
Suppose you have sufficient spacers on hand, place them all along the parallel wall, permitting at least two spacers for each plank. Then drop one spacer on the adjacent wall where the verge of the first vinyl plank will join that wall.
Be sure to keep the spacers in place along your walls as you install the planks. This way, your floor won’t shift as you install and as you introduce foot traffic over the newly installed floor. Once you’re through, uninstall the spacers before adding any shoe molding or base.
Molding hides the expansion gap, so it’s not apparent after installation. The base molding covers the gap between the wall and flooring. So if you leave the base molding in place while installing the floor, this hides the expansion gap, especially if shoe molding Is added in front of the base.
Which Direction to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Installing vinyl plank flooring is a daunting task, especially for amateurs, but your effort will be worth it in the end. So proper preparation is the key to the mission success of your project. With that in mind, which direction to install vinyl plank flooring?
Your planks should run parallel to the longest side of the room. For example, if the space is 6 feet by 9 feet, the planks should run along the 9 feet wall. This layout will give you the outcome you want. Begin from the left side of your room, then work right.
Is it Better to Glue or Float Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Floating vinyl plank flooring is a common choice for many as it connects easily in a continuous way, allowing them to drift above the floor. Its floating nature makes this option suitable for subfloors enduring imperfections.
On the other hand, glue down vinyl plank flooring uses liquid glue or adhesive tape to attach the planks to the subfloor. This method of installation takes time to install, but it’s more permanent in design. So professional installation is advised.
Ideally, it’s best to use glue vinyl plank flooring since it can endure high traffic exactly when minimizing chances of the floor to lift when you introduce high impact across the floor. This option is also resistant to scratch and dents, making it withstand high demands without fear of imperfections.
Do You Have to Remove Baseboards to Install Vinyl Flooring?
Ideally, baseboards need to be uninstalled before bringing in vinyl flooring. Doing this makes covering your vinyl planks relatively easy and also adds to the convenience of installation.
Considering that most vinyl plank floorings are not secured to the subfloor, the baseboard serves to hold it firmly into place. However, if you plan to leave them in place, ensure you leave a ¼” gap between the flooring and the baseboards. Doing this accounts for expansion with time.
Expansion Gap for Vinyl Plank Flooring
Before installing your vinyl plank flooring, measure out your room’s length and width. After that, divide your room’s width by that of the planks. It would help if you settled for at least a ¼” gap along your walls to allow expansion and contraction. This also tells you the rows of planks needed for your project.
Can You Fix a Separating Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Yes, it’s possible to fix a separating vinyl plank flooring, but there are times when fixing is not recommended. Regardless, fixing a separating vinyl plank flooring is quite simple and doesn’t require a complete replacement.
Usually, separation in vinyl plank floors is characterized by tiny gaps caused by temp variations, moving heavy furniture around, etc. If this occurs, don’t worry, as there is a quick way to fix it(preferably caulking). Caulking holds up the floor’s integrity and also acts as a perfect barrier between water. Additionally, it’s very flexible, allowing for expansion and contraction without leaving visible signs. Check out these steps:
First, select the right caulking. It’s best to opt for caulking with low odor and good expansion characteristics. After that, begin cleaning your floors thoroughly, not disregarding any tiny dust particles. You can achieve this using a good vacuum cleaner and water.
Next, ensure your space has no obstructions, including kids and pets. You then take masking tape and protect your floor to avoid catching caulking everywhere, excluding where you want it to be.
It’s now the ripe time to apply your caulking. Make sure you cover all separated areas, then use a damp finger to wipe out the excess caulk. Once you’re through, let the floor air-dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on an Uneven Floor?
Yes, it’s possible to install vinyl plank flooring on an uneven floor, assuming the severity of the unevenness is mild. However, most flooring planks require an even floor to avoid damaging the flooring planks and degrading prematurely.
So vinyl plank flooring can go over uneven floors considering the planks are sturdy. But when the unevenness is severe, opt for laminate flooring.
How Long Does Vinyl Flooring Need to Dry?
Vinyl plank flooring is normally installed to offer a permanent floor covering. Ideally, a good-quality vinyl floor should take about 24 hours to dry fully. However, this duration can be affected by temperature and humidity changes in your room.
How Much Gap Does a Floating Floor Need?
All floating floors require an extension gap to avoid damaging the planks during temp and humidity changes. But how much of a gap is needed? Usually, experts recommend a ¼” gap around the perimeter to permit the floor to float and expand as usual.
What Causes a Bouncy Floor?
Usually, most floating flooring options bounce due to water damage or installation issues. So the best way to evade this is by cleaning all spills on your floor immediately and avoiding wet mopping. You may also want to regulate the humidity level in the room using special devices.
Replacing boards, installing a letter of plywood, and adding a beam can also help deter a bouncy floor.
The video below shows how to fix gaps in vinyl plank flooring
Vinyl plank flooring is currently popular for a good reason. It offers a permanent floor covering with durable and impact-resistant qualities. Installing them is relatively easy, especially for those with prior experience. However, this flooring option often expands and contracts during extreme temperatures. And for that, you will need spacers during installation to create that expansion gap. If not, your planks may get damaged with time, meaning you will need to replace them, adding to the cost.