Luxury Vinyl Install - Top 5 DIY Tips

This is the third of three blog posts (check out the first and second posts) focusing on luxury vinyl and the DIY process. Follow along as we share our knowledge and tips compiled from years of flooring installation experience. 

We have created a free Luxury Vinyl DIY Guide PDF with step by step instructions and a combined version of the three blog posts in this series. Click here to get a copy of the 8 page PDF.

Don't have the time to DIY? We offer professional installation backed by a lifetime installation warranty.

Shaw Endura Plus Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring in dining room from Johnson's Flooring in Springboro, Ohio and Clayton, Ohio
Shaw Endura Plus (Color: Marina) luxury vinyl plank flooring, available in-stock at Johnson's Flooring

Top 5 Luxury Vinyl DIY Tips

1. Make Sure Your Floor Is Flat

The single most important step to ensure a successful luxury vinyl installation is preparation of the floor that the vinyl will be installed over. An adequate subfloor must meet be flat, dry, structurally sound, and free of debris. 

- Before beginning installation, you should check to see if there is any height variability in your floor. An easy way to do this is to use an eight feet long 2x4 board (make sure the board is straight) and measure the difference between the board and floor to determine heigh variability. A common threshold recommended is no more than 3/16 inch height variability in a 10 feet radius.  Make sure to check the installation instructions of the floor you are installing for specifics.

- Your floor should have no evidence of moisture and many manufacturers recommend a moisture test prior to installation. 

Structurally Sound - Wood subfloors should be securely attached to joists. 

Free of Debris - Your floor should be swept prior to installation. 

2. Have The Correct Tools

Ensuring that you have the correct tools will make the installation process much smoother. Most of the required tools can be found in the average homeowner's garage. A tape measure and pencil to mark cuts, a utility knife to score length cuts, and a table saw for width cuts are the most important tools. Tapping blocks and spacers are needed and are unique to luxury vinyl but can be purchased or rented at affordable prices.

    Flooring cutter for luxury vinyl DIY installation available to rent at Johnson's Flooring Center and Johnson's Flooring Source
    Example of a flooring cutter, sometimes referred to as a flooring chopper

    3. Stagger End Joints of Planks
    As you start each row, ensure that the first end joint in the new row is at least eight inches away from the end joint of the row you just installed. This will give your floor a more appealing and natural look.

    Staggered luxury vinyl planks for DIY installation; Johnson's Flooring Clayton, Ohio and Springboro, Ohio

    4. Use Spacers
    Luxury vinyl floors require a 1/4 inch gap between the wall or other surface that the floor is being finished to. This is a pivotal part of the installation process and if it is not completed, will likely cause issues with the quality of your floor. Use spacers to keep the planks off of the wall as you install the floors.

    Spacers for luxury vinyl installation in Springboro, Ohio
    Example of a flooring spacer

    5. Start on a Straight Wall

    Starting on a straight wall is important to make sure the entire layout of the floor is done correctly. Before starting, confirm that the wall you are starting on is straight and square. To do this, measure 1/4 inch + the width of a plank from each end of the wall that you will be starting on. Use a chalk line to mark a line the length of the wall between the two measurements.

    To check if the wall is straight, pick a few spots in the middle of the chalked line and measure how far from the wall the chalked line is. The measurements should be within 1/4 inch of the initial measurement you used to chalk the line.

    If the wall is not straight, use the chalked line as where you want the planks to line up and rip down the planks to make it straight.

    Contact or visit us in Clayton, Ohio or Springboro, Ohio today and we will help you get started on the DIY journey.