Luxury vinyl installation tips from National Floors Direct

Techniques for Installing an LVP Floor Like the Pros

Have you chosen to install your own luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floor? Great choice! As you might know, LVP flooring is a simple way to transform any room in your house. Not only is it extremely durable and waterproof, it is also easy to clean and maintain. That makes it perfect for high-use areas in homes with children and pets.

Installing your LVP floor like a pro is simple - if you have the proper tools and know what the best techniques are. In this article, we will take you through each step of the process and show you the best tips and tricks to ensure that your flooring installation goes smoothly.

Step 1: Get the Right Tools

Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to make sure you have the right tools for the job. You will need a pencil, chalk-line, tape measure, utility knife, miter saw, and circular saw to cut the planks to size.

For the instillation you will need a carpenter's square, rubber mallet, tapping block, pull bar, and 1/4'' spacers. 

Depending on whether or not you are going to remove the previous floor cover you may need a belt sander. One of the benefits of LVP flooring is that you can lay it directly over the original floor. In this case all you need is a pry bar, putty knife and hammer to remove the baseboards.

Make sure that you have a good set of knee pads as you will definitely be spending a lot of time on your knees! Don't skip on these as they will make the process much more comfortable and enjoyable. It is also advisable to use safety glasses and ear protection.

Step 2: Choose Which Direction to Lay Your Planks

Deciding how to lay out your planks may take some time and planning depending on the size of your new floor. If you are only replacing the floor in a single room this is much easier and you only need to consider the transition into the next room.

For a room next to a hallway you can create a smooth flow by laying the planks parallel to the hall. If the adjacent room is also covered with planks then laying your new floor in the same direction is the best way to connect the two rooms.

Should you be replacing your entire floor then the standard way to lay your planks is along the length of the house. By running your planks along the longest wall you can make your space feel bigger than it actually is.

Another aesthetically pleasing tip is to lay your planks towards your largest window. If your room has a clear focal point, like a fireplace, it may look better to lay your planks towards that feature.

You can experiment by temporarily laying down a few planks and find out what works best for room or house. If you are looking for something different then try a herringbone layout, this can often work beautifully in smaller rooms.

Step 3: Prep Your Floor

Taking the time to thoroughly prep your floor will make the instillation of your planks much easier. It will also make your floor look seamless and professional.

Remove your baseboards by gently inserting the pry bar and loosening the nails that hold it in place. For door jams you will need to cut a gap the same thickness as your planks so that you can slide them under.

If you are laying your planks on an uneven subfloor make sure you sand down any bumps and fill in any cracks with a leveling compound. This step may take some time but the end result is worth it! Once your floor is level be sure to remove any debris and hoover up the dust. 

When using LVP it is important to leave the planks in the room where they will be installed for 48 hours, before you lay them out. This allows them to expand or contract depending on the temperature and humidity of the room. Doing this prior to installation ensures that your planks will fit snugly with no gaps.

Step 4: Install Your Planks

The best place to start laying your planks is along the longest exterior wall. This will give you the most accurate straight line to begin with. If you suspect that any of your walls are not completely straight, you can measure the distance between the walls at both ends.

If the measurements are different you will need to cut your first plank at a slight angle to make sure your flooring is square. At this stage you should also calculate how much you will need to trim off the final row of planks. You don't want to end up with a very narrow plank here. Try and cut the first and final row of planks to the same width for a symmetrical finish.

Once you have cut and positioned your first row of planks you can connect the next plank by fitting the tongue of this plank into the groove of the first one. Use your rubber mallet and tapping block to ensure that the planks are tightly fitted together with not even the slightest gap. Even a tiny gap can result in your planks not being square.

To cut the end pieces of planks you can score and snap them if they are thin enough. For thicker planks you will get a  smoother cut by using your circular saw. Remember to stagger all your joins by at least 6''.

Make sure you use you 1/4'' spacers to leave some breathing room between the wall and your plank. Once all your planks are in position you can remove these spacers and carefully replace your baseboards.

Pro Tips and Tricks

When using LVP calculate how much you need and then order an additional 10% for straight-lay and 15% for herringbone. This will give you the extra pieces you need for cutting waste and mistakes.

For concrete subfloors always use an underlayment below your LVP. This gives your floor an extra bit of cushioning and will also help absorb sound.

If you are laying LVP over an existing tile floor fill in the grout joins with self-levelling compound to make sure that they don't become visible through the LVP after a few years.

Are You Looking for LVP Flooring? Contact National Floors Direct

With over 75 years of experience we know everything there is to know about LVP Flooring!

Browse through our range of different floors to find the perfect texture and color to match your home.

Alternatively you can contact us on 1-888-400-FLOOR (3566) to request a free in-home estimate with one of our professional flooring experts.