4 Tips on Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

December 29, 2021

Home improvement's DIY generation created vinyl plank flooring to replace traditional hardwood flooring at an affordable price. The fact that vinyl plank flooring is far more affordable than natural wood, and easy to install with very little skill or tool knowledge, makes it an excellent option for the average homeowner. It's still possible to speed up the installation process with a few tricks and tips.

Floor Preparation

A flat surface is all that is needed to install vinyl plank flooring. Floors may not be level, but they can still be flat and plane. Installing a floor for the first time requires a flat and debris-free installation surface. You can use a floor scraper to remove high spots from your subfloor quickly, but if you cannot remove the high spots with a floor scraper, a belt sander or floor grinder may be required, depending on the type of material. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove dirt and debris. Gluedown vinyl planks may come with a primer to enhance adhesive adhesion.

Make Undercut

Cuts in a floor should be able to slide under door frames, casings and baseboards running around the room for optimal results. It is easier to cover vinyl planks after the baseboard has been installed, as it is generally installed after the floor has been installed.

The floor is usually installed before the door casings and jambs, so you will need to undercut them. A door can be fitted with the cuts hidden under the vertical segments, giving the impression of a seamless installation. Despite their convenience, hand-held jamb saws are most suitable for small projects, whereas power jamb saws are ideal for large, commercial projects or for areas with a large number of doorways. If required, a mechanical saw can be used to undercut the baseboard. You may not wish to remove the existing baseboards, for example.


Hot, humid weather expands materials, while cooler, drier weather contracts them. You should therefore allow space around every perimeter. The cut should be about 1/8 inch away from the edge of the surface you're installing on if you're installing against a bathtub or cabinet base. Caulk is applied afterward. Based on the thickness of the baseboards that cover this gap, you have some flexibility in the baseboard areas. These areas are ideal for scrap material since the cuts are hidden by the baseboard, so they do not need to be consistent.

It may be possible to use the cut-off boards themselves if they are long and wide enough if you're cutting off the ends of boards that run into the wall.


Providing you are installing the vinyl planks over a structurally sound, flat floor covering, you can install the planks directly over another floor covering. Tile floors should first be coated with self-leveling compound to ensure that all grout joints are flush and full. You should not leave any indentations or depressions after the vinyl planks are pushed into the grout joint depressions by foot traffic.


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