How to Install Loose-Lay Sheet Vinyl

New flooring doesn't get easier than this. Check out the benefits of loose-lay sheet vinyl and why it may be right for your home.

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Loose-lay sheet vinyl is unique because it doesn't require adhesive. Once you cut it to size and put it in place, it's installed. It's an ideal solution for covering surfaces such as painted concrete, to which adhesives don't adhere well. You can also roll it up and move it—something you might want to do if the washer overflows, for example.

Loose-lay vinyl has a heavy fiberglass backing that allows the sheet to lay flat on the floor without glue. You can purchase the flooring at most home centers and flooring stores. Standard sheet vinyl is not heavy enough to be installed in this fashion—it will slip and curl over time.

To prevent loose-lay vinyl from curling up in high traffic areas, secure the material with double-sided tape at the doorways. Before installing this or any floor covering, make sure the subfloor is clean, dry, and smooth.

The ease of this flooring option makes it a popular choice among homeowners. We've got the tips and tricks you should know if you're planning to use loose-lay vinyl in your home.

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What You Need

  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Butcher paper or kraft paper
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Loose-lay vinyl tape
  • Loose-lay vinyl sheet

Step 1: Make Template and Cut

Lay out and cut a template just as you would for standard sheet vinyl. Your particular brand of loose-lay vinyl may require a slightly different-size expansion gap, so read the manufacturer's directions carefully. Spread out the vinyl on a clean floor that is larger than the template, tape the template to it, and cut the vinyl to shape.

Step 2: Place Tape for Edges

To prevent curling use double-sided tape designed for loose-lay vinyl to secure the flooring at thresholds and under appliances and fixtures. Cut the tape to the proper length, remove the protective paper from the side you will be adhering to the subfloor, and press the tape in place.

Step 3: Roll Out Vinyl

Roll up the vinyl and bring it into the area where you are installing it. Unroll it. Using a clean push broom, smooth the flooring in place. If the floor has a seam, roll back the connecting pieces and apply double-sided tape to the subfloor along the entire length of the seam.

Step 4: Adhere Flooring

Working at one taped area at a time, roll back the vinyl so you can see the double-sided tape. Remove the tape's protective backing, roll the vinyl back over it, and press the flooring in place. Repeat this procedure for each of the taped areas.

How to Smooth Subfloors

Like other forms of vinyl, the material is resilient—it springs back when you push on it and conforms to the surface on which you install it. If there are bumps of glue, popped-up nails, or uneven bits of concrete on the subfloor, the vinyl will flow over the spot and create a slighty elevated area. As you walk on the spot, you'll eventually wear through the elevated area. To ensure a smooth application, sand and clean the subfloor so there are no imperfections that will show through the vinyl.

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