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How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: Made Easy For Beginners

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Installing vinyl plank flooring for the first time may seem overwhelming. You might get confused with the steps.

As a beginner, you might think,”how to install vinyl plank flooring?”.

Make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment on hand. I will suggest you plan and prepare the flooring layout before hopping in. This will save a lot of time. Do not rush, test fit the first row as a practice. Use spacers wherever necessary and you may need to shape them accordingly.

I have prepared a step-by-step guide for this article. Don’t worry, It will take only a few minutes. You will be able to install planks very easily.

Let’s jump right in!

Necessary Tools and Equipment

Before you jump to installing, I will suggest you have all the tools and equipment ready. I have prepared a list of necessary tools and equipment for the work. Make sure you have them before you proceed.

Tools

  • Sander (if needed)
  • Flat pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Fine-tooth saw
  • Straightedge
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Drawbar tool
  • Hammer
  • Nail Set
  • Pneumatic brad nailer (optional)

Materials

  • Sandpaper (if needed)
  • Vinyl plank flooring
  • 1/4-inch spacers
  • Floor-leveling compound (if needed)
  • Concrete patcher (if needed)

Arranging these beforehand will save time and ease up the process. 

Step-by-Step Guide For Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

You might think that installing vinyl plank flooring is a difficult and mammoth task. Trust me, it’s very simple and easy like installing gutters in the house.

To make things easier for you, I have prepared a step-by-step guide. This will help you with the installation process. This won’t take much time.

Step 1: Planning the Flooring Layout 

This is the first step of the process. Like other floorings, vinyl plank floorings need an aesthetic layout to please the eye.

Usually, this is done by starting with the most visible wall. This is usually the first wall you see when you walk into a room. 

Then move outward toward the door. In a small bathroom, the edge next to the bathtub might be the one. This stands out the most.

You will put the first row of planks next to the wall or room feature. Put this where it stands out the most. Gradually, work your way across the room. 

Because few rooms are really square, your last row might be a little off. Most of the time, baseboards or shoe moldings will hide this unevenness.

Step 2: Remove the Trim Moldings & Prepare the Floor 

To make things easy, I will suggest you remove the trims before proceeding to installation.

This includes the baseboards, base shoe moldings, and case moldings around the doors. Taking doors off their hinges can also help when putting them back on.

The door case molding is easy to take off and put back on. This makes installation easier and cleaner. 

If you don’t want to remove door trim that you can’t get rid of, don’t worry. You can cut the vinyl flooring to fit around these things.

Trims are usually attached with brad nails. It’s easy to pry them off with a crowbar.

If you are putting down vinyl plank flooring over a concrete subfloor, You need patching. I will suggest you use a concrete patcher to fill in any cracks or holes.

If you are putting the flooring over a plywood subfloor, use a floor-leveling compound for patching.

You might also need to sand dry walls and floors if they are rough and uneven.

Step 3: Test Fit the First Row With Spacers

Before going to full-scale installation, you can test fit the first row of planks. This will give you a rough idea about fitting the other rows.

Check how well the first row of vinyl planks fits along the wall’s length. The floor pattern will appear best if opposite side boards are the same length.

Start with a full plank in the middle of the wall and work outward so that the cut planks at the ends are the same length. Leave a 1/4-inch gap at the wall and at each end. 

Spacers can be put against the wall to make this expansion gap. I will suggest using ¼-inch spacers for the job.

Step 4: Cut and Connect the Floor Planks 

Vinyl planks can be cut to size in the same way that drywall panels are. 

First, score a line halfway through the plank’s face with a square and a utility knife. Do not try to cut all the planks at once. Run the knife lightly across the face of the plank several times. 

Since vinyl planks are slippery, be very careful when you pull the blade back. You can also use a handsaw with fine teeth to cut straight through the whole plank.

Turn the board over so the finished side is on the bottom. Fold back the plank and it might break off on its own. If not, finish the cut by running the utility knife through the fold with a light touch.

Most luxury vinyl planks use a fold-and-lock tongue-and-groove system to connect the edges and ends. 

One plank is laid flat on the subfloor. The other is held at an angle and put into the groove on the first plank. Folding the second board flat and parallel to the first helps lock them together.

Once the first row is down, lay the rest of the rows across the floor. 

First, connect the end of the plank to the end. Then, place the new row along the edge of the last row. Fold its tongue into the groove of the last row. Make sure each row’s end joints are six inches apart.

Step 5: Cut for Protrusions (Optional) 

This is an optional step. You need to do this only if you have any vents or openings on the floor.

Where there are obstacles, vinyl planks can be cut with a utility knife. You can easily shape them with tin snips or heavy-duty shop scissors. You can also use devices like the Kreg Accu-Cut.

Attach the cut-out board to the adjacent plank while holding it at an angle. Fold the cut-out board until it latches with the adjacent plank.

Vinyl plank flooring can bend over door frames and other protrusions. Depending on the barrier, prior planks may need to be disassembled to position the cutout plank.

Step 6: Cut and Fit the Final Planks 

At the far wall, you may need to cut the length of the last row of planks to make them fit. Make sure to cut it so that it fits between the planks and the wall with a 1/4-inch gap.

The best way to make lengthwise cuts is with a utility knife and a long straightedge. Make several passes with the knife until the planks are the width you want.

As with the other rows, join these narrow planks end to end, then fold the tongues into the grooves of the previous row. 

If needed, a tool called a drawbar can be used to pull this last narrow plank into place against the row above it. 

Make sure you join the cutouts properly. If not, you may need to fix the cutouts manually. This will cost more time.

Tips And Tricks For Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

I have arranged some tips and tricks for installing vinyl plank flooring. This will help you up and make things easy; 

  • The end butt joints can be hard to fit on the last planks in a row. You can tighten these joints by gently pulling the end plank with a drawbar.
  • Always use safety measures before the installation. Make sure you wear goggles and ear protection. There may be a lot of noise and dust during the installation process.
  • Always sort the patterns before installing. Arrange the identical ones together. This will make the floor look more aesthetic.
  • While buying vinyl planks, try to buy planks with padding support. This will save a lot of your time.

I hope that these will be helpful for your installation process.

FAQs 

Do I Need to Install Anything Under Vinyl Plank Flooring?

If your plank is thicker than 4mm then you can directly install the planks. Vinyl floors less than 4mm thick should be put down right on top of the subfloor. If there are damp spots on your concrete subfloor you need to fix them. I will suggest using a vapor barrier underlayment.

Is It Better to Glue or Float Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Bathrooms, kitchens, laundromats, and bedrooms all benefit from having floating vinyl plank floors installed. Flooring that is glued down has the potential to last longer in large, open spaces. It stands to reason that even in smaller spaces, glue-down techniques can be used successfully.

Can I Use Wide Planks For Small Rooms?

Yes, you can use them. Wide planks can make a room look bigger even if it’s not. The less cluttered appearance of the wood aids in creating the impression of more room. It’s also recommended that you choose lighter woods in smaller rooms because they give off an airier vibe.

Conclusion

That will be all on installing vinyl plank flooring. I hope that this article will help you install vinyl planks easily. 

Do not forget to do proper maintenance of the floor. Make sure they are set up properly before usage.

Have a great day!