6 Ways To Prepare Your Floor For Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a great option of flooring which is both practical and stylish for your home. Luckily, learning how to prepare your floor for vinyl flooring is something you can do yourself. Vinyl flooring costs less than other flooring options such as wood and laminate, which makes it a perfect option for new home-improvers and those with little experience fitting flooring. 

Interested in learning how to prepare your floor for vinyl? This guide will give you the basics on how to prepare your floor ready vinyl flooring.

Preparing a Subfloor for Vinyl Flooring 

Along with the floor joists, the subfloor is a structure which helps with the strength and durability of the floor structure. Before getting started on laying the actual vinyl flooring, it’s essential to ensure the subfloor and any other layers beneath the finished flooring are in good condition. 

The steps to this will depend on the condition of your subfloor and the material (concrete or wood). For example, wooden flooring needs different cleaning treatment to concrete flooring, and vice versa. The steps are, however, quite similar across different conditions and material types. So, let's take a look at how to get started on preparing your floor for vinyl flooring.

1. Clear the space of all furnishings

Making sure you’re properly prepared for the installation process is important. Before you make a start, ensure the space is ready for you to work in. Clear anything in the space to another room in the house, or a shed or garage if you have one. This involves moving all furnishings and decor so the space is in an empty shell. Remember, the whole process will likely take more than one day so make sure you’ve thought about where to store everything.

2. Clean the subfloor with product specific cleaner 

If a subfloor is not properly cleaned before laying new flooring, you can run into an issue in the long term. Before using any product on the floor, make sure you vacuum the area thoroughly and pick up any pieces of debris that you can see. 

Specific instructions for concrete subfloors: concrete is a porous material, which means it quickly soaks up anything that is spilled on it. If, for example, you drop wine it will likely stain the area and cause quite a strong smell if it is left. Once you have vacuumed the area, as suggested above, it’s time to use material specific cleaning products to clean the area and more particularly, spot clean stains. You can use soap with warm water, a universal cleaning solution, or for stains that won’t come out, you can use bleach.

Remember to only use bleach on areas that won’t be visible as it might create marks on some of the subfloor.

Specific instructions for wooden subfloors: for wooden flooring, it is recommended to use as little water as possible to prevent moisture from warping the wood. Excessive moisture in the wood can cause it to swell and become out of shape over time. Another tip is to also work in small areas and use a wood specific cleaner which is designed to clean and protect the material.

Need a little help to remove tough stains that won’t budge? Try the racer surface cleaner for a deeper clean.

3. Check for any mould growth and plan how to kill it 

This step is crucial to avoid problems in the future and also unnecessary costs. If you have mould growth in your subfloor, even if it is a small amount, it will damage and possibly ruin any flooring that you lay on top. Sometimes, mould might not be present on the topside of the subfloor but it could be growing on the underside. 

If you do find mould on the subfloor you need to protect yourself with PPC and immediately cover the area with a protective sheet. This is because mould spores can move and infect other non-contaminated areas. Mould has a serious impact on health, particularly respiratory problems and can spread very easily. Therefore, it’s important to wear the following protective clothing if you discover any mould: 

When it comes to getting rid of mould, bleach alone won’t kill mould, particularly on porous surfaces. It’s often best to get a professional mould company in to get rid of the problem. They will have the experience necessary to stop the spread of the mould and get rid of it with advanced techniques. They will likely use a negative air machine or air scrubber, to capture any mould spores from the air. 

4. Make sure the subfloor is level and free of dents or cracks 

Your subfloor needs to be level and free of dents, cracks, or holes in order to lay vinyl flooring. This will ensure the floor is nicely finished and looks clean and slick, and it will also ensure the flooring can be properly installed. If there are slopes in your subfloor, the vinyl will likely have air gaps and will lift off from the floor. 

Specific instructions for concrete subfloors: for concrete subfloors it’s important to use a self-levelling compound. This is a great option as it levels out the area naturally. Again, make sure you wear disposable overalls for this job to prevent you ruining your clothes. 

Firstly, you can identify any larger holes in the subfloor and fill them in with the concrete mixture. If your concrete subfloor is sloped, then you can evenly spread the compound over the area and it will level it out with a horizontal bar or mop. Once dried, sand the area down, vacuum and apply more compound until you reach the desired outcome.

Specific instructions for wooden subfloors: when preparing a wooden subfloor it is more important to restore the area and work with the present material, rather than install new materials. This involves screwing in any loose pieces of wood to keep the area nice and secure. If the wooden subfloor is uneven, it is also necessary to sand it down using a disc sander to smooth out any raised areas. Before you begin sanding, make sure to fill any large holes, depressions, and areas around the nails with compound leveler.

5. Install underlay for further protection if necessary 

Some vinyl flooring can be fitted on top of the subfloor without any added materials. However, installing underlay often results in a better look and feel to the floor. Underlay helps to reduce the noise of the floor and provides a flat surface. This can help to hide any imperfections present in the subfloor that weren’t eradicated when levelling the floor.

6. Measure the area ready for vinyl flooring installation

Before you begin installation, and once the subfloor is prepared, you can measure the subfloor ready for vinyl flooring. Make sure your measurements are accurate by checking twice, then buy about 15% more flooring than you need. This will ensure you have enough flooring to cover the area and will account for any damage or cutting.

Tip: refer to individual manufacturer instructions for instructions on installation as each product will be different.

Ready to Prepare Your Floor for Vinyl Flooring?

We hope you have found this post on preparing your floor for vinyl flooring useful. Vinyl flooring is relatively simple to install today, due to advancements in the materials. However, preparing the floor can be tricky at times, depending on the condition of your subfloor and whether there is any damage or mould growth. If you have any questions about how our products can help you prepare your floor for vinyl, then please feel free to contact us.

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