How to fit vinyl

How to fit vinyl

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Once you’ve chosen your new vinyl flooring, it’s time to get it fitted! Here at Tapi, we’d always recommend that you use a professional fitter to lay your vinyl flooring, and we've got a dedicated team of fitting partners on hand if you need us to arrange fitting. Vinyl installation costs £5.70 per m2 (£56 minimum fitting cost), and our fitters can also uplift and remove your old floor at the same time, so you don’t have to lift a finger! However, if you're a DIY expert who wants to fit vinyl yourself, we’ve put together a handy guide with all the things you need to remember when laying sheet vinyl flooring. Alternatively, you might want to have a read of our guide to the best underlay for vinyl flooring, ahead of installation!

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What can go wrong when laying vinyl?

Generally, vinyl flooring isn’t that easy to fit, and there are many things that could go wrong if you try to lay vinyl yourself. Whilst it’s one of the most affordable flooring options, it could end up costing you much more to rectify if you make one of these mistakes:

  • Installing the vinyl immediately It’s best to leave your roll of vinyl in the room where it will be laid for 24-48 hours before fitting, so it can adapt to the room temperature before being unrolled. Vinyl shrinks when cold, so you might need to turn the heating on if you’re fitting it in winter!
  • Not removing your old flooring Taking up and getting rid old flooring is a messy and dusty job. If it’s really stuck down, it can take hours to remove. And then you need to dispose of it too! If you’re having your flooring fitted with us, uplift and removal is something that can also be arranged with our fitting partners.
  • Ignoring your subfloor The good news is that vinyl flooring can be laid directly onto most subfloors. Before the vinyl can be laid, you need to make sure your subfloor is dry, smooth, structurally sound, and free from debris. This is another thing that Tapi can take care of when you order and arrange fitting with us! See our guide on how to prepare your subfloor for more information.
  • Cutting the vinyl When you measure your vinyl, measure it twice! It needs to fit perfectly. If it’s slightly too big, it will buckle and crinkle; if it’s too small, you’ll have gaps at the edges. Beware - one wrong cut and you’ve ruined the entire sheet of vinyl!
  • Creasing or tearing the vinyl Although vinyl is reasonably flexible, smaller rooms can be challenging to fit. The roll is 2 metres wide and needs to be shaped, and if you’re too rough with it, the vinyl could tear or crease.
  • Sticking the vinyl down incorrectly Loose lay vinyl is held in place by its own weight and only needs spray adhesive around the edges. Fully stuck vinyl requires adhesive spread over the entire subfloor. Using the wrong installation method will cause issues with the vinyl.

Changed your mind about fitting vinyl flooring yourself? Don’t worry - we have a team of professional fitters at our fingertips who are experts in laying vinyl flooring. When you order your flooring from Tapi, we can arrange fitting too. Just call or visit your nearest store and we’ll get it sorted! If you really want to have a go at laying flooring yourself, we’d suggest trying laminate flooring or click LVT. Both use the click method which just slots into place like a jigsaw puzzle! 

Tool checklist for laying vinyl

Before you begin laying your vinyl, make sure you’ve got all the tools below:

  • A tape measure
  • A pencil
  • Paper
  • Knee pads
  • A home-made scribing gauge
  • A concave Stanley knife
  • A straight edge (or you can use a metal tape measure)
  • A bolster chisel
  • Vinyl adhesive (spray or spread depending on your installation method)
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How to lay vinyl

  1. First things first, you need to measure your room for your new vinyl flooring. To help, we’ve created a step-by-step measuring guide that you can follow. Remember not to add any allowances on to your measurements – we’ll work this out when you submit your plans and measurements.
  • Tapi Top Tip If you have fixtures in your room like a toilet or sink, include these in the total measurements of the room as they will need to be cut out of the sheet of vinyl.
  1. Next, try and clear as much furniture out of the room as possible. As vinyl comes on a large sheet it can be quite tricky to manoeuvre into place, so removing any potential obstacles will make it a little bit easier!
  • Tapi Top Tip If you have an old vinyl floor you’re removing, you can use it as a template and draw the room shape onto your new vinyl. Very handy if your room is especially small as you can cut it into shape somewhere where you have more space.
  1. Make sure your subfloor is dry, smooth, structurally sound, and free from debris (that means scraping off the old glue if you’ve ripped out old vinyl or laminate).
  2. Move your roll of vinyl into the room where it’s being fitted at least 24-48 hours beforehand to allow it to acclimatise to room temperature.
  3. Unroll your vinyl with the longest side of the sheet parallel to the longest clear wall and position it about 25mm away from the skirting board. 
  • Tapi Top Tip Often the skirting boards in your rooms will not be completely straight so a scribing gauge will help the vinyl fit flush against the wall. To make a scribing gauge, find an off cut of wood then hammer a nail into it about 30mm from one end until the point is just sticking out of the other side.
  1. Move the gauge slowly along the skirting using the nail to lightly score the outline of the skirting onto the vinyl. Use your Stanley knife to cut along this line, then slide the vinyl against the skirting board.
  2. For internal corners, cut a small triangle out of each corner to enable the vinyl to lie flat.
  3. Use the bolster chisel to press the vinyl between the floor and the skirting, making a defined crease.
  4. Use your straight edge and a knife to cut along the crease, holding the knife at a slight angle as you go.
  5. For any external corners, cut straight down from the edge of the vinyl to the floor then trim away the excess vinyl, leaving 50mm - 100mm turned up at the skirting boards.
  6. Press into the angle between the skirting and floor using a bolster chisel. Hold your straight edge against the crease and cut along it, angling the knife to get a neat finish.
  7. Once you’ve laid the whole sheet of vinyl, you need to stick it to the floor. For loose lay vinyl, lift the edges and spray adhesive along the perimeter of the room then press down. For fully stuck vinyl, roll half of it back then apply spread adhesive to the floor. Replace the vinyl then swap to the other side of the room and repeat this step. When the whole vinyl floor has been put back into position, press it down flat with a soft broom.
  • Tapi Top Tip If you’re laying vinyl in a bathroom, it’s a good idea to seal the edges of the floor with silicone to ensure it’s completely waterproof.

How to fit vinyl in difficult areas

You might also encounter some more difficult areas when fitting vinyl – here’s how to tackle them:

Fitting vinyl around door frames

Using your Stanley knife, cut down to where the vinyl meets the floor and repeat this around the door frame at evenly spaced intervals. Cut away the excess but leave around 50mm-100mm turned up at the bottom so you can trim more accurately. Using the bolster chisel, press the vinyl into the angle between the door frame and the floor to make a crease, then cut along it. Cut in a straight line across the doorway so the vinyl flooring ends roughly halfway under it, then install a door bar to hold the vinyl in place.

Fitting vinyl around a toilet or sink pedestal 

Lay your vinyl as far as the front of the pedestal, then fold it back on itself. Cut in a straight line from the edge to the centre of the pedestal. Make lots of small cuts in the vinyl around the pedestal base until the sheet lies flat. Take your time! Don’t cut too far in or tear the vinyl. Next, take your bolster chisel and push the vinyl around the base to make a crease, then cut around the crease and trim down each flap of vinyl until it fits perfectly. Roll the vinyl back into position around the base to check everything is ok. Lift it back up again then put adhesive around the edges and along the join. Finally, press down to secure it in place and finish with silicone sealant to make it fully water-resistant.

Fitting vinyl around a radiator pipe 

Using your knife, make a straight cut from the edge of the vinyl to the pipe, then make lots of tiny cuts around the base of the pipe until the vinyl lies flat. Trim off the excess for a neat, professional finish.

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How to join two sheets of vinyl

If you’re laying vinyl flooring in a large room, you might find you need to join two sheets of vinyl together. Here are a few things to remember:

  • To create a seamless look, use vinyl sheets cut from the same roll so the colours match.
  • Try to avoid joining your flooring in the doorway as this is the area that gets the most wear, so a join is likely to come apart (and even become a trip hazard) over time.
  • For patterned vinyl floors, you need to line up the patterns by sliding the second sheet along until it matches the first one (which will have already been fitted). If it’s a complicated pattern, you can overlap the sheets until the pattern lines up, then cut through both pieces of vinyl with your straight edge and Stanley knife.
  • Once they are lined up perfectly, don’t move them! Fold back the edges one at a time then use adhesive to stick them to the floor and press down firmly to lock in place.

And that’s it! Time to admire your newly laid vinyl flooring. As always, we recommend using professional fitters to lay our flooring, and this is something we can arrange for you with our trusted team of fitters. Alternatively, if you're still in two minds as to which flooring to choose, have a look at our range of care guides, including vinyl vs lino.


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