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Vinyl flooring is a waterproof, scratch-resistant, easy to clean and long-lasting product that is highly suited to particular rooms in the house, such as bathrooms and kitchens. But to make the most of it, you must ensure you install it correctly.
Our vinyl floors are made only by companies we trust – but in each case it is very important that you read the manufacturer's instructions as there may be particular actions you need to take with specific products.
One measure that should be undertaken with any vinyl floor is to check the condition of the underfloor before you start. There are two issues that must be addressed. The first is to establish that it is level and take any remedial action that is necessary. This is important as it is something that can destabilise a floor, particularly a tile vinyl floor where individual tiles may come loose due to being out of kilter with each other on an undulating surface.
If the subfloor is made of concrete, this may be done using a smoothing compound, whereas sanding or even replacing parts may be required with a wooden subfloor and there are also underlay options to help. Laying your vinyl onto a surface that is not a well levelled and even across its entire area may result in gaps and other problems later on.
Another problem with your subfloor is that it may be damp. This applies mainly to concrete floors and a hygrometer showing it to have an RH of 75% or more means it should have a damp-proof membrane laid on top of it before the vinyl is laid on top.
Vinyl floors may be fitted in three ways. Many sheet vinyl floors need to be stuck down with the appropriate adhesive, and it is a good idea to check the list of possible glues the manufacturer states are suitable for the purpose. We stock many of these ourselves and these should also be used according to instructions.
With some vinyl flooring products, no extra glue is necessary as they come with stick-down installation. This consists of strips of sticky adhesive on the underside of the tiles, which have a plastic covering. This simply has to be peeled off when you are laying down the vinyl.
Finally, some products do not need any adhesive at all and can be put in place using systems like Uniclic, where the different parts fit together like a jigsaw and are held in place without any need for glue. Such products are very simple to install and do not require much, if any, expertise.
Installing a vinyl floor may seem like a daunting task, but if it is carried out carefully, sensibly and according to the manufacturer's instructions all should be well. With full attention having been given first to the state of the subfloor and any remedial action that is required carried out, the job of laying the vinyl should be reasonably straightforward and will leave you able to enjoy the quality and appearance of an attractive, strong and practical floor that should stay in place for many years and give you few, if any problems.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD