Do You Need a Straight Floor for Vinyl Planks?

Vinyl plank flooring is a terrific alternative if you’re searching for clever, low-cost flooring that’s also easy to maintain.

It’s also not difficult to set up, as long as you arrange your layout wisely.

A straight floor for vinyl planks is essential because while installing vinyl plank floors, the surface must be smooth and clear of clutter.

Because vinyl planks are frequently laid over old flooring, make sure to account for your new floor level.

Cork Flooring
Cork Flooring

Whatever goes beneath your vinyl plank installment must be relatively smooth.

To avoid problems after installation, sand down any high locations and fill up any gaps or irregularities using leveling treatments.

Types of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Can you install vinyl plank flooring on uneven floor?

You can put Vinyl plank flooring in two ways: glue-down or floating. 

Floating Vinyl Flooring

This method entails locking together floating floor-style vinyl planks with a designed tongue and slot system, putting them on the subfloor, or installing them directly over an existing floor.

The flooring is referred to as “floating” because it floats above the substrate without the need for adhesive, allowing for natural stretching due to temperature swings.

Because vinyl flooring is temperature-sensitive, provide a 14-inch expansion gap around the perimeter of your floor.

If the flooring needs to be extended, it will have enough room without warping or buckling in the center.

After all of your hard work designing, preparing, and placing your vinyl planks, the last thing you want is warped boards!

Don’t worry; you won’t notice this spacing gap around your finished floor since ornamental trim and shoe mold may be applied to hide it when you’re done.

Glue-down Vinyl 

As the name suggests, the Glue-down vinyl plank is bonded directly to the floor.

One benefit of putting down vinyl planks is that it makes future repairs easier since you can remove a damaged or cracked plank, apply new glue, and replace it.

While it is simple to explain, glue-down vinyl requires a firm touch and a lot of time to complete a clean installation, so this is a better decision left to the pros.

Ways You Can Install Your Vinyl Planks

How to prepare a floor for vinyl plank flooring

Below are some of the ways you can use to install your vinyl planks.

Choose Your Layout

The first stage in placing vinyl planks is deciding which planks will run.

It is important for determining the additional items needed to cut waste; for straight-layout, you might need approximately more floor, and for more complex lay patterns, you will need an extra hand.

You must also consider light sources, the geometry of the area, specific components in the room, and your preferences. 

Placing your vinyl planks along the room’s most visible wall or in the same direction as the dominant light source (such as a window) opens up the area and makes it more aesthetically attractive.

Keep the boards constant and pointing in the same way as the hallway if the room is a corridor.

When flooring a whole house, the boards should cover the entire length of the house, from the front door to the back wall.

When you’ve decided which way you like your planks to run, it’s time to start leveling your room.

Make Your Floor Ready

Before working, leave the vinyl flooring in the room to install it for about two days. This will allow the planks to settle to the humidity and temperature before installation.

Check your floor and ensure that it is clean and flat. Work with a level to ensure that the variation in 10 feet is not more than 3/16 of an inch. 

If there is, fill up any low places using a self-leveler, and any elevated areas should be sanded or ground away.

It is critical to remember that if you currently have old vinyl flooring placed, do not sand it. Asbestos, which is exceedingly dangerous if breathed, may be present in older objects.

Remove any baseboards in touch with the floor with a pry bar. If there’s paint on them, run the knife blade’s edge along the edges first. 

Take care you don’t destroy the boards, and you’ll be able to restore them after the planks have been installed. This will result in a lovely, clean finish. 

Your door jambs may also need to be trimmed. To test this, place a vinyl plank over the subfloor. Mark the level on the posts if it is higher than the location of the current jambs.

Remember to allow approximately 1/16″ extra for grout. It would be best if you then trimmed the jambs to size.

Install the Underlayment

If you’re installing a floating floor, you’ll need to use underlayment.

Lay it in the same way that you’ve opted to install your vinyl flooring. Flatten it and cut the first length to fit the width of your wall.

Duplicate the first row, slightly extending the second row.

A lot of the subfloor is sticky, so you’ll only have to push it into position. If this isn’t the situation with yours, you may conceal the seams with underlayment tape. 

Continue till the whole floor has been coated, trimming any extra with a utility knife.

Put the Vinyl Plank Flooring.

Keep in mind that walls aren’t always straight, so stay true to your chalk line.

You may need to cut your first row of boards to produce a straight line. In that case, a cylindrical saw will suffice.

Most boards can be scored and snapped, but a saw will provide a smoother finish.

After securing the first plank, insert the tip of the other plank into the gap of the first. With your tapping block and rubber mallet, tap them together.

Install the Row’s Final Plank

The very final plank in almost any row is a little trickier.

First, decide the necessary length. Draw the cut line using a carpenter’s square, then score and break the plank.

When it doesn’t snap cleanly, trim it with a flat-cut saw.

Insert the tongue into the groove made by the previous board. Then, using the drawbar tool, snugly secure it in place.

Slip one end of the tool over the end of the board. Then, tap the other side of the instrument lightly to secure the joint.

Repeat the process for every new row. For a more natural appearance, scatter the joints in odd areas.

Finishing Touches

After all of the planks have been installed, use your mantle and drawbar to tighten everything up. You can now remove the spacers at the bottom of the walls. 

It’s now time to secure your quarter-round. Remember to attach this to the walls rather than the floor, as the floor has to expand and compress.

Finally, install transition trim on any thresholds that separate your existing flooring.

You’ve finished everything. Take a breather and enjoy your efforts!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Flat Should the Floor be for Vinyl Planks?

When putting vinyl planks on top of a concrete floor, the usual tolerance required is for the floor to be straight to 3/16″ within a 10′ radius.

It also cannot have an 18″ drop within 2′. A level floor does not slant in any way.

Is it Necessary to Have a Level Floor Before Installing Vinyl Flooring?

However, as with any other permanent product, it is critical that the existing floor be clean and dry, in good condition, and, most importantly, level.

It is crucial to have a smooth and level surface so that the adjacent vinyl plank flooring does not have variable heights.

Final Thoughts

If you have to, don’t skimp on preparation.

It is time to sketch your arrangement or just layout your planks before nailing them down. It will also prevent you from having to fix mistakes later on.

Take your time installing the planks and check for gaps often.

Remember to include transitioning strips, baseboards, and trims. They’ll make a huge difference in producing a solid appearance.