How to Lay Sheet Vinyl Flooring
Laying New Flooring for Your Kitchen or Bathroom
Sheet vinyl is ideal wall-to-wall floor-covering for kitchens, utility rooms and bathrooms, where you are bound to spill water from time to time. It is straightforward to lay if you follow a systematic routine.
- Adhesive spreader
- Craft knife
- Home-made scriber
Sheet vinyl is available in a wide range of colours and designs and patterns. To ensure it lays as flat as possible, leave the vinyl in the room for 24 to 48 hours before laying it, preferably opened flat or at least stood on end, loosely rolled.
Sheet vinyl is made by sandwiching the printed pattern between a base of PVC and a clear protective PVC covering. All vinyls are relatively hard-wearing, but sonic have a thicker, reinforced protective layer to increase their durability; ask your supplier which type will suit your needs best. There is a vast range of colours, patterns and textures from which to choose.
Backed sheet vinyl
Backed vinyl has similar properties to the unbacked type, with the addition of a resilient underlay to make it softer and warmer to walk on. The backing is usually a cushion of foamed PVC.
Laying Sheet Vinyl
Before you lay a sheet of vinyl floor-covering, make sure the floor is flat and dry. Vacuum the surface and nail down any loose floorboards. Take out any unevenness by screeding a concrete floor or hard-boarding a wooden one. A concrete floor must have a damp-proof membrane; a ground-level wooden floor must be ventilated below. Don’t lay vinyl over boards that have recently been treated with wood preserver.
- Assuming there are no seams, start by fitting the vinyl against the longest wall first. Pull the vinyl away from the wall by approximately 35 mm (1-1/2in); make sure it is parallel with the wall or the main axis of the room. Drive a nail through a wooden lath about 50mm (2in) from one end, and use the nailed lath to scribe a line following the skirting. Cut the vinyl with a knife or scissors and slide the sheet up against the wall.
- To get the rest of the sheet to lie as flat as possible, cut a triangular notch at each corner. Make a straight cut down to the floor at external corners. Remove as much waste as possible, leaving 50 to 75mm (2 to 3in) turned up all round.
- Press the vinyl into the angle between skirting and floor with a holster. Align a metal straightedge with the crease and run along it with a sharp knife held at a slight angle to the skirting. If your trimming is less than perfect, nail a cover strip of quadrant moulding to the skirting.
- Fit the vinyl around the doorframe by creasing it against the floor and trimming the waste. Make a straight cut across the opening and fit a threshold bar over the edge of the sheet.
Modern vinyls can be loose-laid but you may prefer tothe edges, especially along a door opening. Peel back the edge and spread a band of the recommended flooring with a toothed spreader, or use a 50mm (2in) wide double-sided tape.
Profile gauge – A profile gauge is a useful tool for copying the shape of door mouldings or pipework; it provides a pattern that helps you fit soft flooring accurately.
Fitting vinyl flooring around doorways
Cut a notch at each of the corners and trim around the doorframe.
Cutting around a toilet or washbasin
To fit around a WC pan or basin pedestal, fold back the sheet and pierce it with a knife just above floor level; draw the blade up towards the edge of the sheet. Make triangular cuts around the base, gradually working around the curve until the vinyl sheet can lie flat on the floor. Crease and cut off the waste.
Joining strips of vinyl
If you have to join widths of vinyl, scribe one edge to the wall, then overlap the free edge with the second sheet until the pattern matches exactly. Cut through both pieces with a knife, then remove the waste strips. Without moving the sheets, fold back both cut edges, apply tape or flooring adhesive and press the join together.