Avoid These Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties due to its durability, affordability, and aesthetic appeal. However, installing vinyl plank flooring can be a challenging task, especially for those who are not familiar with the process. To help ensure your installation goes smoothly, it’s crucial to avoid the common mistakes that can lead to poor results. In this article, we will discuss the most common mistakes when installing vinyl plank flooring and provide tips on how to avoid them.

1. Inadequate Subfloor Preparation

One of the most common mistakes when installing vinyl plank flooring is failing to properly prepare the subfloor. A smooth, clean, and level subfloor is essential for a successful installation. If the subfloor has debris, dust, or is uneven, it can cause the vinyl planks to not adhere properly, leading to gaps, bumps, and an uneven surface.

How to Avoid:

  • Thoroughly clean the subfloor to remove any dust, debris, or old adhesive.
  • Use a leveling compound to fill in any dips or cracks.
  • Ensure the subfloor is dry, as moisture can cause the vinyl planks to warp or peel.

2. Not Acclimating the Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring needs to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity before installation. Skipping this step can lead to expansion or contraction after the flooring is installed, resulting in gaps or buckling.

How to Avoid:

  • Bring the vinyl planks into the room where they will be installed at least 48 hours before installation.
  • Keep the room at a consistent temperature and humidity level during this acclimation period.

3. Incorrect Measurements

Accurate measurements are crucial for a successful vinyl plank flooring installation. Failing to measure correctly can result in purchasing too much or too little flooring and can lead to improperly fitting planks.

How to Avoid:

  • Measure the length and width of the room accurately.
  • Take into account any alcoves or irregularities in the room’s shape.
  • Add an extra 10% to your total measurement to account for cutting and waste.

4. Ignoring Expansion Gaps

Vinyl plank flooring expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. Ignoring the need for expansion gaps can cause the flooring to buckle or warp.

How to Avoid:

  • Leave a 1/4-inch gap around the perimeter of the room and around any fixed objects like columns or cabinets.
  • Use spacers during installation to ensure consistent gap width.

5. Improper Adhesive Application

Using the wrong adhesive or not applying it correctly can result in the planks not sticking properly, leading to movement and gaps over time.

How to Avoid:

  • Use the adhesive recommended by the flooring manufacturer.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
  • Apply the adhesive evenly and allow it to set as directed before laying the planks.

6. Incorrect Plank Placement

Plank placement is critical to achieving a professional-looking floor. Randomly placing planks can result in a visually unappealing pattern.

How to Avoid:

  • Plan the layout before starting the installation.
  • Mix planks from different boxes to ensure a more natural variation in color and pattern.
  • Stagger the joints by at least 6 inches for a more stable and aesthetically pleasing floor.

7. Skipping Underlayment

While some vinyl plank flooring comes with a pre-attached underlayment, many types require a separate underlayment. Skipping this step can reduce the flooring’s durability and sound insulation.

How to Avoid:

  • Check if your vinyl plank flooring requires an underlayment.
  • Choose an underlayment that is compatible with your flooring type.
  • Install the underlayment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

8. Failing to Use a Vapor Barrier

In areas with high moisture levels, such as basements, failing to use a vapor barrier can lead to mold and mildew growth under the flooring.

How to Avoid:

  • Install a vapor barrier if the subfloor is concrete or in a moisture-prone area.
  • Ensure the vapor barrier is installed properly, with seams overlapped and sealed.

9. Rushing the Installation

Hurrying through the installation process can lead to mistakes that affect the overall quality of the flooring.

How to Avoid:

  • Take your time to ensure each step is done correctly.
  • Double-check measurements and placements.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

10. Overlooking Final Adjustments

Once the planks are laid, final adjustments such as trimming and fitting around edges and obstacles are essential for a polished look.

How to Avoid:

  • Use a utility knife to trim excess material.
  • Install baseboards or molding to cover expansion gaps and give the room a finished look.

Professional Installation Services from La Mesa Flooring

At La Mesa Flooring in San Diego, we understand the complexities and challenges of installing vinyl plank flooring. Our team of flooring experts is dedicated to providing professional installation services to ensure your flooring looks beautiful and lasts for years. We take care of every detail, from subfloor preparation to precise cutting and fitting, ensuring a flawless finish every time.

Our experienced installers follow manufacturer guidelines and industry best practices to avoid common mistakes and deliver high-quality results. Whether you’re upgrading your home or outfitting a commercial space, you can trust La Mesa Flooring to handle your project with expertise and care.

Contact La Mesa Flooring for a Free Installation Quote

Installing vinyl plank flooring can transform your space, but it’s important to avoid common mistakes to achieve the best results. By paying attention to subfloor preparation, acclimation, measurements, and manufacturer instructions, you can ensure a smooth and successful installation.

For residents and businesses in San Diego, CA, looking for professional help with vinyl plank flooring installation, La Mesa Flooring is here to assist. Contact us today for a free quote or to learn more about our flooring services. Let our experts handle your installation, so you can enjoy beautiful, durable flooring without the hassle.


Proper subfloor preparation ensures that the vinyl planks adhere correctly and lie flat. An uneven or dirty subfloor can cause bumps, gaps, and a generally uneven surface, compromising the durability and appearance of the flooring.
Failing to leave an expansion gap can cause the vinyl planks to buckle or warp as they expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. It’s essential to leave a 1/4-inch gap around the room’s perimeter and around fixed objects.
Some vinyl plank flooring comes with a pre-attached underlayment, but many types require a separate underlayment. Skipping this step can reduce the flooring’s sound insulation and durability, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If your subfloor is uneven, you should use a leveling compound to fill in any dips or cracks. Ensuring a smooth, level surface is essential for the proper installation of vinyl plank flooring.
Use the adhesive recommended by the flooring manufacturer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for application ensures the planks stick properly and prevents movement and gaps over time.
Yes, professional installation can ensure that the flooring is installed correctly, avoiding common mistakes and ensuring a durable and aesthetically pleasing result. Professionals have the experience and tools needed for a high-quality installation.

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