Understanding How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Properly

Installing vinyl plank flooring can dramatically transform the look and feel of your home or office. It’s a durable, cost-effective, and attractive flooring option that’s relatively easy to install, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties alike. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to install vinyl plank flooring, including the specific steps for installing glue down vinyl plank flooring. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced installer, following these detailed instructions will help ensure a successful and professional-looking installation.

Preparing for Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation

Before diving into the specifics of how to install vinyl plank flooring, it’s essential to prepare the area and gather the necessary tools and materials. Preparation is crucial for a smooth installation process and long-lasting results.

Tools and Materials Used

  • Vinyl plank flooring
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Straightedge or ruler
  • Chalk line
  • Spacers
  • Tapping block
  • Hammer or rubber mallet
  • Pull bar
  • Underlayment (if required)
  • Adhesive (for glue down installations)
  • Notched trowel (for glue down installations)

Installation Preparation

  1. Measure the Area: Start by measuring the length and width of the room to calculate the square footage. This will help you determine how much vinyl plank flooring you need to purchase.
  2. Acclimate the Flooring: Leave the vinyl planks in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours. This allows the material to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction after installation.
  3. Prepare the Subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any old flooring, debris, and dust. Repair any cracks or holes, and sand down high spots.
  4. Lay the Underlayment: If your vinyl planks require an underlayment, lay it down according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Underlayment can provide additional cushioning and noise reduction.

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Installing vinyl plank flooring typically involves a floating floor method, where the planks are not glued or nailed down but rather click together. Follow these steps for a successful installation:

Step-by-Step Installation

  1. Plan Your Layout: Start by laying out the planks to determine the best layout. Consider the direction of the planks and how they will look in the room. It’s often recommended to run the planks parallel to the longest wall or the main light source.
  2. Mark the Starting Line: Use a chalk line to mark a straight starting line on the subfloor. This will help keep your rows straight as you install the planks.
  3. Install the First Row: Begin in a corner of the room, placing spacers between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion. Lay the first plank with the tongue side facing the wall. Continue laying the first row, connecting the ends of the planks by clicking them together.
  4. Cut the Last Plank in the Row: Measure the space for the last plank in the row and cut it to fit using a utility knife and straightedge. Use the leftover piece to start the next row if it’s at least 6 inches long.
  5. Continue Installing Rows: Start the second row with the cut piece from the previous row, ensuring that the joints are staggered by at least 6 inches. This will create a more natural look and increase the floor’s stability. Click the planks together, using a tapping block and rubber mallet if necessary.
  6. Install the Final Row: Measure and cut the planks for the final row to fit. Remove the spacers and install baseboards or trim to cover the expansion gap.

Installing Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

Glue down vinyl plank flooring installation is slightly different, requiring adhesive to secure the planks to the subfloor. This type of vinyl plank flooring is ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic and where a more permanent installation is desired.

Step-by-Step Glue Down Installation

  1. Apply Adhesive: Using a notched trowel, spread adhesive on the subfloor according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Only apply enough adhesive for a few planks at a time to prevent it from drying out.
  2. Lay the First Plank: Place the first plank into the adhesive, pressing it down firmly. Use spacers to maintain the expansion gap between the plank and the wall.
  3. Continue Laying Planks: Continue laying planks in the adhesive, pressing each plank firmly into place. Ensure the ends are tightly joined and there are no gaps.
  4. Roll the Floor: Once a section is complete, use a floor roller to press the planks firmly into the adhesive, ensuring a strong bond.
  5. Allow to Cure: After installation, allow the adhesive to cure for the recommended time before walking on the floor.

General Tips for a Successful Installation

  • Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always follow the specific instructions provided by the vinyl plank flooring manufacturer.
  • Work in Small Sections: Especially for glue down installations, work in manageable sections to prevent the adhesive from drying out.
  • Use Spacers: Maintain expansion gaps around the perimeter of the room to allow for natural movement of the flooring.
  • Stagger the Joints: Staggering the end joints by at least 6 inches not only looks better but also provides more stability.
  • Check for Levelness: Regularly check that the planks are level and securely connected to avoid unevenness.

Trust La Mesa Flooring for Professional Installation Services

For residents of San Diego, installing vinyl plank flooring can be a straightforward process, but it does require precision and attention to detail. Whether you’re working on a residential or commercial project, our team at La Mesa Flooring is here to help. We offer professional flooring installation services, ensuring that the job is done right the first time. Our experienced installers are well-versed in all aspects of vinyl plank flooring installation, including glue down vinyl plank flooring installation.

Contact La Mesa Flooring for Professional Flooring Installation in San Diego

Installing vinyl plank flooring can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your space. By following the detailed steps and tips provided in this guide, you can achieve a professional-quality installation. However, if you prefer to leave it to the experts, don’t hesitate to contact La Mesa Flooring. We proudly serve the San Diego area, providing top-notch residential and commercial flooring installation services. Contact us today to get started or to learn more about how we can help with your flooring needs.


Yes, it is essential to acclimate the vinyl planks for at least 48 hours in the room where they will be installed. This helps the material adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction after installation.

Vinyl plank flooring can often be installed over existing flooring such as tile, hardwood, or vinyl, provided the surface is clean, dry, and level. However, it’s crucial to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility.

The subfloor should be clean, dry, and level. Remove any old flooring, debris, and dust, and repair any cracks or holes. If necessary, sand down any high spots to ensure a smooth surface for installation.

Floating vinyl plank flooring is not adhered to the subfloor but clicks together and “floats” over the underlayment. Glue down vinyl plank flooring, on the other hand, requires adhesive to secure each plank directly to the subfloor, providing a more permanent installation.

Spacers are used to maintain an expansion gap between the planks and the walls. This gap allows the flooring to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, preventing buckling or warping.

You should wait at least 24 hours before walking on newly installed glue down vinyl plank flooring. This allows the adhesive to fully cure and ensures a strong bond between the planks and the subfloor.

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