Vinyl Planks Flooring Installation!

Vinyl planks flooring installation is a great project for even the most novice DIYer.  This floor was laid in about 4 hours by an absolute beginner!

To learn how to do it yourself, check out the photos below!

Can You Lay it Over Existing Flooring?

The answer is the proverbial "Depends!"  if the existing floor is completely flat, then the interlocking, floating floor can just be installed over it.  That was Plan A.

The linoleum in the laundry room was laid over 33 years ago, and was starting to peel up by the exterior door.  It was impossible to glue it down again, so that meant it all had to be removed.  So, here is #1 son and the local Inspector General working on Plan B.

I will have more later on the steps to get the cement and the rest of the room ready for this vinyl planks flooring installation.

You Will Need Just a Few Basic Tools.

When I bought my flooring the salesperson talked me out of buying the "Click Floor Installation Kit".  After I reviewed the vinyl planks flooring installation instructions, I went back to the store and purchased it anyway.

It had just about everything needed, plus the bag to store it in! The kit included:
1 plastic tapping block;
1 pull bar;
1 rubber mallet;
knee pads; and
50 piece spacer set.

I knew I would be installing this type of flooring in more than one room, so I wanted to have all these tools handy for the next room!

You will also need a saw to cut the outside edges for both the first row and the last row.  I actually used a table saw, but the jig saw would have worked, too.  Those cuts do not have to be completely straight because they will be covered up by the base board or the quarter round trim when the floor is finished.

You will also need a square, a utility knife, and a pencil.

Acclimate the Vinyl Planks to the Room.

My boxes of floating, click together vinyl planks had been laying flat in the house for a month or so.  Because of expansion and contraction you want them in the house for a recommended 48 hours before vinyl planks flooring installation.

When installing you also want to use a couple of planks from each of several boxes, so if there is some color variation between boxes, it won't be noticeable.

Planning of the Vinyl Planks
Flooring Installation is Crucial!

Determine How WIDE
the First Row Should Be.

Your next step is to determine how wide to make the first row. You rarely will start with a full plank!  The issue is not the first row, but the last!!!  You have to plan so that the very last row will not be less than 2" wide.

In my case, this planning was easy because my room was a simple rectangle with no interior corners, islands, or other complications.

However, if your room is not that simple, draw it out first!!!  You definitely don't want a 1/2" wide strip next to the kitchen island where everyone will see.  This also could create an area that would not be as securely anchored as the rest of your floating floor!

Sometimes an inch or 2 adjustment at the beginning can save you extended aggravation at the end!

Once you know how wide to make the first row, it is just a matter of cutting enough pieces to that width to complete the first row.  Just make sure all of your pieces are aligned the same - with the grooved side the part that will be used!  Your next row will click into the groove.

Determine How LONG
the First Plank Should Be.

Glass insets on this door had slipped since the door was installed 33 years earlier.

Measure the total length of the row.  How many pieces will you need to complete the row?  Then you can determine the length of the first plank in your row.

Again, rarely will you start with a plank that is a full length!  You want the plank at the other end of your row to be AT LEAST 6" long.  And the only two planks you can cut are the ones at the beginning of the row and the end of the row!

So, again, space it out to make sure each of your ends will be at least 6" long.

Layout your row using the spacers against the wall to hold the first row in place.

Cutting the Vinyl Planks
to Length is a Snap!

The cutting to length is simple!  Mark where your cut would be.

Score Along That Mark.

Line up your square along your mark and then use a utility knife to score a straight line across the plank.

Then simply SNAP the plank along the scored line!

This is definitely the easiest part of this vinyl planks flooring installation!

Where to Make the Mark, Though?

Take a good look at this photo!  To get the cut on the correct END, flip your vinyl plank 180 degrees, so the two "groove" edges are facing each other.

Go through the process of marking and making the cut.  Then flip the cut piece over 180 degrees again.  By doing this your cut end will go by the wall, and the interlocking end will connect to the previous piece!

I'm not sure I am explaining it well, but please know that it works!

P.S.  If you make a mistake, that piece you just cut wrong may fit on the other end of the room in another row.

Installing Second & Subsequent Rows.

For the second row, you want to make sure your starting plank is a different length - by at least 6" - from the starting plank in the first row!  The seams in each row will then be staggered.  BEFORE you make that cut, though, you want to be sure that the last plank in the second row will be at least 6" long.

Again, to make that cut, flip the plank 180 degrees so the cut end will end up next to the wall.  Also, put spacers along the starting wall.

The you just click each plank in the second row to the first row.  Hold the new plank at an upward angle against the first row, and then push until it clicks.

As you add each plank use the plastic tapping block and the rubber mallet to make sure each seam is a tight as possible.  Do this from both the side and the end of each plank!

At the end of the row, use the metal pull bar to pull the last plank in the row tightly against it's neighbor.

Keep Repeating Until Almost Done.

The last couple of rows of the vinyl planks flooring installation have to done a little differently.  Because of the limited space, you need to slide the ends of the whole row of planks together before you click that row into the previous row.

Prior to this you could add one plank at a time.  Now you need to add a row at a time!

For the last row, measure how wide that row will be, and cut enough planks to that width to run the whole row.  Again, you will have to slide all of the ends for the last row together before clicking it into place.

Add the Baseboard or Quarter Round.

The last step is to add the the baseboard to hold the floating vinyl plank flooring in place.  Once I added the baseboard, I loved the floor!

If you kept the baseboard in place (I didn't have that option.) you can just add quarter round at the joint between the flooring and the baseboard to hold your vinyl plank flooring in place.

Tips to Make Vinyl Planks
Flooring Installation Easier!

Tip #1.  Wearing a tool belt did not work at all!  After scurrying down the floor on my hands and knees several times to retrieve a tool I left at the beginning of the row, I finally got smart!  I found a bin, and kept all of my tools in the bin.  Now, I just had to move the bin along with me as I moved down the row.

Tip #2.  This was a small room, but when I do a larger one, I will make sure I have a "gofer"!  It would have been so much easier if there had been someone bringing me more planks as needed!  The repeated getting up and down was not fun!

Tip #3.  Change the blade in the utility knife often.

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Laundry Room Makeover
is Progressing Nicely!

Click here or on the photo
to see more of the
DIY laundry room improvements.

In addition to learning how to do vinyl planks flooring installation, you can learn how to make the board and batten wainscoting!

Check out the laundry ladder tutorial! Make your own towel bars! And much more!

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