How to Install Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
Are you planning to give your kitchen, basement, or laundry room a new face that is beautiful, easy to maintain, long-lasting, cost-effective, and easy to install? You have come to the right place! Without any further ado, let's get started!
Tools & Materials
The tools you will need for this project are a shop vacuum, an oscillating tool, a 5-in-1 paint multi-tool, a putty knife (or floor scraper, which will be more comfortable but more costly), a drill with bits, a utility knife, a 100lb floor roller, and a belt sander. The materials you will need for this project are luxury vinyl tile flooring, floor underlayment leveler, flooring primer, shoe molding (optional), and snips (optional).
Measure the Room
Firstly, measure the room size before installing the LVT. To calculate the square footage, multiply the length by the width. Next, you will need to find out how many cartons of LVT you'll need. To do this, divide the square footage you just calculated by the square footage contained in a carton. It is also good to add a 10 percent overage (for waste and future replacements). A good practice is to not measure around islands or other obstructions. You can include this as a part of your overage.
Acclimate the LVT
After you purchase the tile, bring it into the installation room to let it acclimate for about 48 hours before you install it.
Grab a Friend to Help Out (Optional)
This step is optional; however, it is supremely beneficial to have someone else's help at hand, especially when moving large and heavy appliances, which brings us to our next step.
Move Appliances if Needed
You may need to move your large appliances out of the way for the installation, like your refrigerator or stove. Sliding pads for furniture moving are great for making moving these cumbersome objects easier.
Remove the Old Flooring
The great thing about LVT is that it can go over almost any subfloor type: wood, concrete, or existing vinyl. If you remove existing vinyl, it must be in good shape and securely attached to the subfloor. If the old vinyl leaves an uneven surface, apply an embossing leveler over the top to create a smooth and level surface.
If the surface you are installing on has treatment with varnish, sealant, paint, or anything similar, do not install LVT on it. Don't add more adhesive if the LVT is self-stick. Applying additional adhesive can void the warranty and can cause a chemical reaction making the LVT not stick.
Remove flooring in poor condition. The following is how to remove old vinyl.
Removing Old Vinyl
- Wear a respirator. This step is vital as vinyl made before 1986 may contain asbestos. It is beneficial to have a professional test the old vinyl for asbestos and remove it for you. We do not recommend that you remove vinyl flooring with asbestos in it by yourself.
- Remove the baseboards or shoe molding around the edges of the room. Leave baseboards in place if you plan to attach shoe molding after installing the LVT.
- Cut around the edges with a utility knife.
- Slice the old vinyl into small sections. It is much easier to pry up smaller pieces than larger ones.
- Pry up the old vinyl. Use a paint multi-tool (also known as a 5-in-1 tool) and a putty knife or floor scraper (whichever you chose from the two in the material list) to pull the old vinyl from the adhesive.
- Eliminate as much of the old adhesive as possible. A paint multi-tool is excellent for this step.
It is best not to use chemical adhesive remover as it may reduce future adhesive potential, such as when you install the new LVT.
Preparation of the Subfloor
- Clear the floor of fasteners or anything that will prevent the vinyl tile from being level and smooth. Pull out or push in any fasteners that prevent the surface from being level.
- Use a level to determine if there are any high spots. If there are, use a belt sander to level them off.
- Fill in low spots with cementitious leveler if needed. Follow the instructions on the leveler and apply it to the floor on low spots.
- Check the doorways. Usually, LVT fits under existing doors, but you should double-check. Lay some LVT next to your door; if it doesn't fit, remove the door from the hinges and undercut it with a circular saw by 1/8 inch. Also, you should check the casings on the door.
- Cut the casing if the LVT doesn't fit underneath it. Use one tile of the LVT as a guide when cutting the casing to the height needed. Cut with a backsaw or oscillating saw.
- Clear the debris from the cut. This step includes vacuuming the surrounding area from the waste.
- Add cementitious leveler over remaining old adhesive and subfloor seams.
- Prime the subfloor with latex-based flooring primer, which is made for floors and not the primer you would apply to walls or ceilings. Follow the directions for drying time.
Starting Line Mark
A good starting line keeps the LVT joints straight during LVT installation. Follow the instructions for your tile. A good starting line is as follows.
- Mark the center of two walls facing each other with a line of chalk. Then do this again with the other two walls.
- On the first wall you want to work on, measure from the center. Subtract the manufacturer's expansion gap (listed on the LVT box) and one tile width—Mark this distance at the ends.
- Create a chalk line between the marks to get a starting line near the wall. In some cases, you can check that the walls are square to each other and measure your center lines at each end of the wall.
- Do a dry layout (without adhesive) to see how the tile will end against the walls or fixed appliances.
Install the New LVT
Most likely, your Luxury Vinyl Tile won't need adhesive applied, as it may already be peel-and-stick. The paper backing shows arrows in the direction of installation; pay attention to which direction the pattern goes in. The steps of installation are as follows:
- Peel the paper backing revealing the sticky side.
- Place the tile down in the position with thoughts of the arrow direction and correct application. Once applied, it cannot be removed. Also, keep aware of the manufacturer's expansion gap needed.
- Throw away the release paper as it can be a slipping hazard (it tends to be incredibly slick).
- Making sure the pattern continues to the first arrow from the first LVT down. Peel off the release paper and place the second tile snug against the first.
- Continue laying the Luxury Vinyl Tiles this way.
- For working around walls or cabinets, you'll most likely need to cut the tile to fit. Hold a full tile of LVT over the last installed tile. Now place another tile directly on top of that tile against the wall. Mark the line on the middle tile. Use a straight edge and cut along the line with a utility knife.
- To cut the tile along angled walls, use the last installed tiles to get measurements to the wall.
- Transfer the measurements to the new tile, draw a line between the marks, and cut.
Finishing the Floor
- Roll over the entire floor in several directions with a 100-pound roller, which will ensure a good adhesive bond between the LVT and the subfloor. Renting a floor roller should help you save on installation costs.
- Replace the wall trim by attaching the trim to the wall and not the floor.
- Allow for a few days so that the adhesive backing fully bonds to the subfloor. Don't mop or clean during this time, and especially don't place appliances back yet.
Congratulations! You have completed a task that not only looks fantastic but probably saved you a bit of money as well.