Vinyl flooring is a great choice for floors. It’s durable, good-looking, and easy to install. Many people, including DIYers and experts, like to put it on concrete because it comes with many advantages. If you follow the right steps and use the right tools, you can make your floors beautiful and long-lasting. But concrete floors can be tricky to work with when it comes to laying any type of flooring. It’s not the easiest subfloor to deal with. After all, knowing where to begin can be a bit of a challenge.
Read more: What Is Concrete Made Of?
Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring on Concrete
First things first! Decide on the direction in which you want to lay the vinyl planks and figure out how many rows you’ll need.
- Use a measuring tape to account for expansion gaps.
- Now, start the first row against the longest wall, making sure the tongue side faces the wall.
- Use a utility knife to score and snap the planks to your desired length.
- For straight cuts, a straight edge can be useful.
- If you encounter any tough cuts, you can use a hairdryer to warm the plank, making it easier to work with.
Removing the Baseboards
When putting down vinyl planks, it’s important to have a small gap between the planks and the walls to allow the vinyl to expand and contract. Also, you’ll need to slide some planks under the room’s corners. To make this happen, you’ll first have to take off any baseboards in the room.
- Start by cutting any paint that’s sticking the baseboard to the wall.
- Then, use a putty knife to lift and remove the boards.
- If nails are holding the boards to the wall, use a pry bar to loosen them.
Moreover, be careful with your baseboards if you plan to put them back after you’re done.
Read more: How Is RAAC Concrete Made?
Cracks in the subfloor or concrete slabs can harm the new flooring and even affect its strength. Before you put in new flooring, check for and fix any problems with the existing surface.
Homeowners can choose from various crack repair methods based on the size and seriousness of the problem.
- Small cracks can be filled with a suitable leveling compound or a special mix for concrete repair.
- For bigger and deeper cracks, you might need to start by cleaning the damaged area. Then, use a dedicated repair system like injecting epoxy or using hydraulic cement.
Read more: Why Does Concrete Crack?
Clear Away Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt can mess with how the flooring materials stick and might lead to future problems. To sidestep these issues, begin by thoroughly cleaning the entire area before starting the installation. You better begin sweeping and vacuuming the floor to eliminate loose debris.
Read more: How To Clean Concrete?
Measure and Level
If you want your floors to be level, you’ve got to put in the effort during the installation to make it happen. Take precise measurements of the space, considering any unique features like doorways, vents, or corners. This information will come in handy when figuring out what materials you need and can help you avoid problems like cutting or placing planks in the wrong way.
Moreover, use a long level and measure along both diagonals for a flat and even subfloor. If you find any inconsistencies, you can fix them by using a leveling compound, sanding, or shimming method.
Read more: How to Level a Concrete Floor?
Check for Moisture
Additionally, the moisture levels in concrete subfloors need to be as low as they can be before you put in vinyl flooring. Here’s a simple way to test the moisture level on your own:
- Tape a small piece of scrap vinyl to your subfloor.
- Make sure the edges are sealed properly to keep air from getting out.
- Leave the tape in place for exactly 3 days.
- After 3 days, try peeling the tape off the floor. If it comes off too easily, it means the moisture level might be too high for vinyl installation. In that case, you should use a dehumidifier in the room.
You Can Now Proceed With The Installation
Put in the Underlayment
Underlayment serves as an additional vapor barrier on top of your subfloor and adds extra cushioning to make the floor more comfortable to walk on.
Besides, remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that are tailored to your specific vinyl flooring product when installing it.
Starting with the First Row
The first row of planks or tiles is a defining part of the overall success of your flooring installation. It’s critical to carefully align this initial row along the room’s longest and most visible wall. This sets the stage for a straight and good-looking starting point.
Getting this first-row level, well-spaced, and secure will make sure the rest of the installation goes smoothly.
Read more: How to Lay a Concrete Floor with Insulation?
Creating a Visually Pleasing Floor with Staggered Planks
Staggering the planks is a key element in floor installation. It not only enhances the room’s appearance but also contributes to the floor’s stability by spreading out the seams. Also, proper staggering prevents the formation of continuous lines in the flooring pattern that can disrupt the room’s overall look.
When staggering the planks, the basic rule is to keep at least a 6-inch distance between the end joints on adjacent rows. This approach creates a random pattern, much like a natural wood floor. To achieve this, start the:
- First row with a full-length plank
- The second row with a 2/3-length plank
- The third row with a 1/3-length plank
Following this staggering method prevents unintended patterns and ensures an attractive floor. Also, always remember to mix planks from different packages during the installation process. This way, your flooring will have a more natural appearance since colors and shades can vary slightly between packages.
Read more: How to Remove Stubborn Rust Stains from Concrete?
Avoid a Narrow Last Row of Flooring
A common mistake that many installers make is ending up with a last row of flooring that’s too narrow. It can lead to issues like buckling and being less durable against foot traffic. Also, a wider last row provides a solid base and keeps the room looking good.
To steer clear of this mistake, measure the room’s width and divide it by the width of a plank. If the remainder is less than half the width of a plank, it’s a good idea to trim the first row so that both the first and last rows have a similar width. This approach results in a balanced and visually pleasing layout.
Read more: How Long Does Concrete Take To Set?
Completing the Room – Giving Your Floor a Refined Finish
After you’ve laid your floor, it’s time to add those finishing touches that give the room a refined and complete appearance. Properly finishing a room involves adding trim, quarter round, and other details that cover gaps and hide imperfections, creating a seamless look.
Further, here are some essential steps to consider when finishing your room.
Read more: How to Lay a Concrete Base?
Install the Trim
Trim imparts a neat and expert touch by hiding any gaps between the walls and the floor. The most commonly used types of trim for flooring projects are baseboards, shoe molding, and door casings.
- Replace or reinstall the baseboards along the walls to conceal any gaps between the floor and the wall.
- Further, make sure the baseboards are level and snug against the wall, with no gaps or bumps.
- Cut the door casings as needed to accommodate the new flooring.
- To cover any remaining gaps or uneven floor edges, add shoe molding at the base of the baseboards, giving your room a polished appearance.
Use Quarter Round to Hide Edges
Quarter-round molding is a versatile trim piece with a rounded outer edge, designed to fit snugly into corners and along the baseboards. It helps conceal any gaps between the flooring and baseboards, which can occur due to incorrect cuts or uneven floor edges.
Beyond its functional purpose, quarter-round molding also brings a decorative element, creating a smooth transition between the floor and the wall.
Read more: How to Improve an Ugly Concrete Driveway?
A lot of steps, right? But if you’re willing to do it, you will enjoy the whole process, and the final result will be worth it. If at any point you feel like you need help, you can always reach out to a professional.
For all your concrete-related queries, Pro-Mix Concrete is just a few clicks away.