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Your Step-by-Step Guide: How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank

April 24, 2023 8 min read

Your Step-by-Step Guide How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank

Let’s be real – home renovations can be scary if you’ve never done any DIY before. When it comes to installing our luxury vinyl plank flooring, we know some people might feel nervous about attempting to put down their new flooring themselves. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to ideally help make you feel much more comfortable with installing vinyl flooring. 

Why Vinyl’s the Best Choice for Your Floors

Vinyl flooring is a great option for all the floors in your home. From your laundry room to even the bedrooms, our vinyl flooring is the perfect choice. Here’s why:

  • Affordability: Vinyl is affordable. Whereas some reports indicate that hardwood and other types of flooring can cost as much as $10,000 to put down in your home, vinyl won’t ever cost you that much.Vinyl’s affordability is one of the number one factors of its popularity and the reason it’s the best choice for your home. 
  • Durability: Vinyl is durable. Whether you’ve got a home full of pets or kids, vinyl flooring can withstand a lot of what’s thrown at it. Scratch-resistant, water-resistant and less likely to warp over time, vinyl is a great choice for your home because its durability will last for years to come. 

Before You Begin

Before installing your vinyl floors, here are some steps you should take:

Before You Begin

  • Remove everything from your floors: This includes baseboards, furniture, appliances and even trimming door frames if needed. All of this can be reinstalled after you put the floors down, but to ensure a speedy and efficient installation, it’s best to remove these items. 
  • Clean your subfloor: A subfloor is the base of your floors. Basically, it’s the material that your floors go on top of. Some popular examples of subfloor are wood and concrete. Make sure your subfloor is clean (either by sweeping or mopping) prior to laying down the vinyl planks. This will help to ensure that the planks will adhere to the floor easily and won’t trap any harmful dust or debris between your main floor and your subfloor.
  • Measure your square footage and decide the layout of your planks: This is a huge consideration in your home. We recommend laying your planks perpendicular to the window in regular rooms and have the hallway planks line up parallel to the wall. 
  • Gather your materials: Some of the best materials to use are a rubber mallet, spacers, tape measure, utility knife and even a pencil and ruler. These materials will make installing vinyl floors much easier. You’ll save time and money using the right materials! 
Find the Right Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring for Your Home!
  • Check for defects: This is a really important step. If you don’t check for defects before laying down your flooring, then our warranty might become void. It’s imperative that you check each plank for any defects and then contact us if you find any! We always want to ensure that you’re receiving the best quality items, but if you install defective planks without checking that they’re okay first, you might end up having to spend extra money to replace them later. 
  • Installing Your Vinyl Planks – Basic Tips

    Vinyl plank installation doesn’t have to be scary. Here are some tips for installing vinyl flooring in your home!

    baisc tips for installing vinyl flooring in your home

    • Go from left to right: Install vinyl planks from left to right. This is due to where the grooves are located as well as ease of installation. You’ll want to keep the groove facing you as well, and use spacers between the plank and the wall. When you put the baseboards back on, that will help to bridge the space between the plank and the wall. 
    • Use pieces that you’ve cut from the previous row: Your last plank in your first row might have some overhang. That’s okay! You’ll use that piece as the first one of your second row. As you continue to install planks, you’ll use the portions of the last plank of the row as the first piece in the next. This gives a unique grain pattern to your flooring, plus it helps you use all your pieces and not worry about wasting money. 
    • Nail through the wall, not the floor: When you replace the molding or baseboards, you’ll want to make sure you nail through the wall and not the floor. This could damage the planks and make them unstable, potentially causing buckling. No one wants that!
    • Cut holes after laying down the planks: While you might think cutting the holes for your pipes and wires before laying down the planks will make your life easier, the opposite couldn’t be more true. You won’t know where those pipes will line up until after placing the planks down. Make sure you drill a hole that’s half an inch wider than what you need to ensure the pipe will fit and you can secure a piece of the plank to it. 
    • Know how to disassemble the planks: To disassemble the planks, you can remove an entire row by lifting it up at an angle. To disassemble an individual plank, simply leave them flat on the ground and slide them apart. If you run into any resistance while trying to slide them apart, you can lift the planks a bit while sliding them apart. 
    • Know what not to install plank flooring on top of: There are a few types of flooring that you shouldn’t install plank flooring on top of. This includes carpet, existing vinyl flooring with cushion backs and even some types of hardwood flooring. This can ruin your existing floors, your subfloor and the vinyl planks you’re installing. And, since your home is an investment, you can do some serious damage to the investments you’ve put into your home by installing plank flooring incorrectly.

    luxury kitchen

    Installing Vinyl Planks – Step-by-Step

    Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of installing vinyl planks, such as our FirmFit flooring.

    • First plank: With the groove edge of the plank facing you, place the plank about a quarter of an inch away from the leftmost wall. Place spacers between the wall and the plank. 
    • Second plank: Place the plank down and use a rubber mallet to gently lock the second plank into place with the first. They should both be the same height and perfectly aligned. When you use the rubber mallet, be sure to make contact with the planks directly above the short edge. Otherwise, you can cause permanent damage to the plank. Then, you’ll have to reorder floor planks! 
    • Third plank to end of row: Continue the process from the second plank for the third plank and any other planks in that row until you reach the end. Depending on the size of your room, you could end up with a lot of planks! Just make sure that they’re each staying aligned and the same height. If you notice that they’re not the same height or not aligned, then you should disassemble the planks and start over again. This is important because unaligned planks can cause damage to the joints of the planks, which is irreversible!
    • At the end of the row: You’ll need to cut the last plank for it to fit with the same distance as the first plank from the wall. To achieve that quarter-inch space between the wall and the plank, you’ll use a utility knife to make a deep cut in the plank. You will probably need to make several slices with the knife, but once you do, it should easily split. 

    luxury laundry room

    Create a Beautiful Living Space with Stonecreek Luxury Flooring
    • First plank of the second row: The first plank of the second row should be at least one foot long, especially if you’re using the leftover plank from the first row. If your leftover plank is less than one foot long, you should cut a new plank in half and use that. The ends of the planks should be about eight inches away from each other, creating a pattern on the floor where the ends of the planks aren’t in a perfect line down the floor. Think about it like you’re stacking bricks. You don’t place them directly on top of each other, using the bricks below as support for the brick above. 
    • Second plank of the second row: Snap the second plank of the second row in place by using a 25- to 30-degree angle. Then, use the rubber mallet to ensure that it’s perfectly aligned and locked into place. Continue this all the way down the second row.
    • Remaining rows: Repeat the process from the second row throughout the remaining rows of your flooring. You should use scrap pieces to bridge gaps. If you leave gaps between vinyl planks, you can compromise the integrity of all the planks and damage them irreparably. And, as you can tell, we’re not big fans of damaging flooring planks. It can seriously set back your renovation project!
    • Last row: To complete the last row of your flooring installation, you’ll need to complete a couple of steps. First, place a new board on top of the previous row. Place another board on top of that board, but have the tongue side of the board touching the wall. Use a pencil to mark where the boards overlap and then use the utility knife to cut the width of the first board so it fits against the wall. You should ensure that the width of the last row is at least two inches. After you complete the last row, feel free to remove all the spacers! 

    Vinyl Plank Flooring Maintenance

    Because vinyl flooring is so affordable and durable, it’s also easy to maintain. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your vinyl floors! Here are some helpful tips to keeping your vinyl plank flooring, such as our SPC flooring, in pristine condition.

    Vinyl Plank Maintenance

    • Avoid bleach or wax. Bleach and wax can harm the integrity of the vinyl flooring. Instead, use soap and warm water or even a steam mop to clean the floors. A weekly clean should be enough. For steam mops, you’ll want to keep it on the lowest setting and use a soft pad. If deciding to mop your vinyl floors, use a damp mop instead of a soaking one. 
    • Sweep daily. You’d be surprised by the amount of dirt, dust and debris that collects on your floors every day. Use a Swiffer or other sweeping device to quickly sweep your vinyl floors every day. Of course, that cleaning schedule isn’t always suitable for everyone, so consider sweeping every other day or every few days. It will help to keep your vinyl floors in great condition! 
    • Place a rug down. Rugs can help to keep your floors clear of dust and debris. Plus, rugs can also help with soundproofing. To protect your vinyl floors, you can place a rug down. Avoid using rugs that have a latex or rubber backing. This can discolor the vinyl overtime. The same goes for any mats that you might put near doorways. Mats are useful because they help to trap dirt and prevent you from tracking it around your house. Leaving your shoes in a designated rack next to your door is also a good idea!
    • Don’t drag furniture on the floor. Dragging furniture on the floor can damage the vinyl flooring. While vinyl is a durable material and can withstand a lot, that doesn’t mean you should treat it poorly. You wouldn’t drag heavy furniture on any other type of flooring, so you shouldn’t do so with vinyl. Instead, consider using different tools to move furniture around if you have to move it by yourself or are unable to pick it up. 
    • Don’t use an underlay: Our vinyl flooring comes with an underlay already put on the planks. Using an additional underlay – padding, to be exact – can actually damage any of the grooves and locking mechanisms on our planks. And, as we’ve gone over before, damaging any of the parts of the plank voids the warranty they come with. Then, you’re out of money and have a prolonged project. 

    Image Sources: 

    Studio Romantic/Shutterstock.com

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    Alexey Slyusarenko/Shutterstock.com

    Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock.com


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