How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Installing vinyl plank flooring? Learn how to install this sustainable alternative over concrete, tiles, or existing vinyl flooring in our step-by-step guide. If you’re looking for ease-of-use, durability, and water-resistance, vinyl plank flooring has simplicity and style in spades.
Skill
Intermediate
Time
One Weekend
Cost
Less Than $500

What You Need for This Project

Step by Step Instructions

At least 48 hours prior to installation, place the new vinyl plank flooring in the room for acclimation. During installation, mix planks from different boxes to blend the dye lots and patterns for a more uniform appearance.

Tip: You may install vinyl over vinyl if the existing floor is one layer thick.
  1. 1

    Pry Off the Baseboards

    Remove the baseboards.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Prep the Subfloor

    Prep your subfloor so that it’s clean, dry, and level within 3/16-inch change per 10 feet.
    Use a self-leveler on low spots and/or sand high spots of wood or concrete. Do not sand vinyl flooring — it may contain asbestos.
    Self-leveler is available in powder and pre-mixed form and is used to create a flat, smooth surface in flooring projects. The strength of the product is similar to concrete. Self-leveler dries quickly, so work quickly.
  2. Steps:

Plan the Floor

Keep in mind that some walls are bowed, so it’s important to create a starting line square to the room.
  1. 1

    Mark With a Chalk Line

    Mark the centre of each wall and snap lines between them with a chalk line.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Make a Chalk Line Against the Wall

    Measure from the centre to the starting wall, subtracting the 5/16-in. expansion gap, and mark this distance at each end of the wall.
    Snap a chalk line between these two marks to get a straight line against the wall.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Calculate the Width of the Last Row

    If it will be less than 1/3 of a plank, cut about 1/3 of the plank off the first row for even starting and finishing rows.
  2. Steps:

The First Row

  1. 1

    Lay Down the First Plank

    Score and cut the tongue off the first row of vinyl planks using a utility knife.
    Set the first plank in place on the starting line with the cut side toward the wall, maintaining the expansion gap.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Lock the Second Plank in Place

    Hold the next plank at a slight angle against the previous plank's end and fold down to click it into place.
    Tip: The end piece must be at least 6 in. long. If it’s not, cut a bit off the first plank and slide the row.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Put the Last Plank in Place

    To cut the last piece to fit, score with a utility knife and snap the plank.
    Tip: You can use excess cut pieces to start rows if the pieces are at least 6 in. long.
  2. Steps:

The Second Row Onward

The joints must be staggered at least 6 inches. Measure and cut your first piece accordingly, using a cut end from the first row if necessary.

  1. 1

    Click a Plank into the First Row

    Insert the tongue of the first piece into the groove of the previous row's first plank and rotate down to click together.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Connect the Next Plank

    For the next piece, connect the short end first and then connect the long end. You should feel it lock.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Keep Adding Planks

    Continue the installation, making sure to stagger the joints by 6 in. and maintain the expansion gap.
  2. Steps:

  1. 4

    Getting Around Doorjambs

    To get under doorjambs, slightly bend the planks into place and use a pull bar or tapping block to lock the joint if necessary.
  2. Steps:

Finishing

  1. 1

    Put the Baseboards Back

    Replace the baseboards and add transitions and additional trim pieces, like shoe-moulding, if desired. Be sure to nail the trim pieces to the wall, not the floor.
  2. Steps:

How to Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.


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