How To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring On An Uneven Floor

Vinyl flooring is an inexpensive and excellent way to spruce up your space. You can find it in a variety of textures and colors to match any style. Vinyl flooring can be installed over uneven surfaces–in fact, it’s the best flooring for an uneven floor–but there are a few careful steps you’ll want to follow to be successful.

If you’re ready to jump into your next DIY project and install some vinyl flooring, then we’ve got the step by step guide for you to do so. The steps below will ensure that your vinyl flooring looks great regardless of the uneven floor. 

Gather Your Tools and Materials

To get started, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary tools and materials to install your vinyl flooring. Below is a list of recommended tools and materials to have on hand. 

  • Vinyl Plank Flooring: Here are several options on Amazon.
  • REXBETI Floor Installation Kit: A great flooring kit with important tools like a mallet, pull bar, tapping block, and spacers.
  • Measuring Tape: Remember, always measure twice and cut once.
  • Circular Saw or Utility Knife: This is a choice of if you are comfortable with power tools or have access to them.
  • Knee Pads: Obviously optional, but highly recommended for comfort.
  • Carpenter’s Square: A super handy tool you’ll definitely want to keep things square.
  • Level: To try to eliminate the “unevenness” of the floor.
  • Power Sander: A powered sander will make leveling deformities much easier than just manual sanding. 
  • Self Leveling Compound: Cement-based product to raise dips in the floor.
  • Chalk or pencil: Something to mark where you are going to cut the planks.

Even Out Deformities and Level the Floor As Much As Possible

Assuming you are installing the vinyl on top of an uneven concrete subfloor, you’ll still want to try and even things out as much as you can. This means you want to bring raised areas down and dipped areas up. Start by identifying any raised or dipped areas of the subfloor using your level and best judgement. 

Once you’ve identified deformities that can be remedied, start by sanding down the raised areas. Careful not to sand them down too far. Then move on to the dipped areas. Use your self-leveling compound to raise the dips. Usually you just pour the compound on the floor, then smooth it out and let it dry for a day, but follow the product’s instructions on the packaging. 

Remove Baseboards, Molding, and Other Treatments

Any wall or door treatments that create protrusions will interfere with a clean installation. You’ll want to remove the baseboards, door molding, and any other additional wall treatments so you have clear access from edge to edge of the room.

Careful as you remove baseboards and molding. Ideally, you can remove these cleanly so that they can be reinstalled after you’ve finished the flooring. If you need help learning how to remove baseboards, go ahead and check out this video right here

Measure Your Space Carefully

Once you’ve leveled the floor and cleared protrusions, you can take some very careful measurements of the space. Determine which direction you’ll be installing the flooring, then measure to figure out how many planks you will need to fit across the room. Effectively you are determining the width of the room then dividing it by the width of the vinyl planks.

The best carpenter’s always say “measure twice, cut one.” Once you’ve cut something down, you can’t really go backwards, so always take a measurement twice and pay careful attention to it. 

Thoroughly Clean Your Workspace

It doesn’t take much to ruin a flooring job when it comes to debris and dust. Be sure to thoroughly clean up the workspace before going to install your flooring. Any loose dust and debris could interfere with the adhesive and bonding properties of the flooring and result in loose boards. 

Clean up the floor as much as possible before installation. Sweep, vacuum, mop. If you do mop the space, then also be sure that the subfloor has completely dried before you install the vinyl planks. Water will also interfere with the bonding process. 

Start To Install Your Vinyl Flooring

Now that you’ve leveled the surface as much as possible, taken careful measurements, and cleaned the space, you can move on to the actual installation process. The steps below explain installing “tongue and groove” flooring, which does not require the use of additional adhesive. 

Cutting Your Vinyl Planks

There are several options for cutting your planks to size. As mentioned above, you could use a circular saw if you are comfortable with that and have access to one, but you could also use a utility knife. Use those carefully gathered measurements and mark with a pencil or chalk your intended cutting area. 

If you are using a circular saw to cut your planks, then be sure to work slowly. Things tend to heat up quite a bit as they pass through the saw and the vinyl can actually start to melt if you push it too hard. So take it nice and easy and allow some time to cool between cuts. 

Laying Your Vinyl Plank Flooring Down

Start in the corner of the room. Use the spacers or your carpenter’s shims to make a ⅜” gap between the walls and the vinyl flooring. This is called the “expansion gap.” Lay down your first plank. Bring your next plank, and be sure that the “groove” of one plank fits snugly into the “tongue” of the other plank.

Proceed with interlocking the tongue and groove connectors of each plank. Carefully align your seams as you work your way across the room until you complete a row of planks. If you reach the end of the row and a whole plank doesn’t fit between the last plank and the wall, then carefully measure the remaining space and cut a plank to fill the gap. 

Use the rubber mallet and the tapping block to lock your planks in place. Careful not to let things shift as you tap. Apply force straight up and down. Repeat for the next rows as you fill up the room with planks. Don’t forget to lay spacers every few feet around the vinyl’s edge. These spacers can be removed once you’ve finished installing the floor. 

Reinstall Baseboards, Molding, and Trims

Once you’ve successfully installed your vinyl planks, don’t forget to reinstall any baseboard, door molding, or trim you removed in preparation. You may need a brad nailer to reinstall these baseboards. If you don’t own one, you should be able to buy or rent one from your local hardware store. 

What Is The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring?

There are a plethora of options when you are picking your vinyl plank flooring, but some brands definitely stand above the rest. We highly recommend checking out the vinyl options made by Shaw Floors.

Shaw is a trusted brand with a huge assortment of products. They offer plenty of mid-level affordable options for the budget conscious, as well as higher-end luxury products for someone who is ready to spend a little more. Everyone is sure to find a product that fits their style and budget with Shaw Floors. 

Should You Install Vinyl Planks On Uneven Floors?

Vinyl plank flooring is an easy and affordable refresher. They are easy to maintain and are waterproof. An uneven subfloor shouldn’t get in the way of you reinvigorating your space with a fresh new look. It takes a little bit of work and attention to detail, but we’re sure you’ll love the fresh new feeling your floor brings.

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