Floating vinyl sheet flooring lies over the subfloor and stays in place without glue. With proper vinyl floor installation techniques, the floor shouldn’t buckle or pull up around the edges. While you may be able to install vinyl sheet flooring in a floating style without glue in a small room, for the best results you will need to use glue around the perimeter in larger rooms and in rooms that have seams in the vinyl floor installation
Unless the shoe molding in the room has enough gap under it to slide in the new vinyl flooring, you will need to remove it by prying it off. If you’re careful, you may be able to reuse it. The vinyl flooring also must fit under doors. If there isn’t enough room, take the door off its hinges and trim its bottom. You also need to trim the bottom of the door jambs. Lay a handsaw horizontally on top of a piece of cardboard to guide the depth you need to cut from the door jambs. You may also have to adjust the toe kicks in front of cabinets.
Vinyl sheet flooring must have a clean, level surface for a successful installation. Lay a straightedge tool or carpenter’s level on the floor in different place. Shine the light from a flashlight under the straightedge. If you see light, you have some leveling to do. If you are installing over plywood subflooring, sand down any high spots on the subfloor. Use wood filler to level any low spots. Secure any screw heads in the subflooring so they are below grade. Use self-leveling concrete patching compound to repair damaged concrete subfloors. Once the floor is level, vacuum it and scrub it.
Cutting the Vinyl Sheet Flooring
Cut vinyl sheet flooring in one of two ways. The first involves measuring the room’s dimensions and then cutting the flooring to match those dimensions, allowing 3 inches on all walls. Once you have the vinyl cut, set it in place. Use a utility knife to trim away excess material. This method works well in a small room with few irregularities. The other option involves making a paper pattern of the floor. Kits are available for this purpose, or you may use butcher paper that you tape together. Once you have made an exact replica of the floor, trace the pattern onto the front of the vinyl flooring, using a washable marker. Cut the vinyl with a utility knife and set the flooring in position. If you have to use more than one piece of vinyl sheeting in the room, take care to match all patterns in the flooring. If you have to create a seam, you must use glue to hold the seams in place, which means your floor no longer floats.
Finishing the Installation
The weight of the vinyl flooring is what holds the floating floor in position. To keep the unglued flooring from curling around the edges, you must reinstall shoe molding around the perimeter of the room. Place nails holding the molding into the wall and not into the vinyl. Install appropriate thresholds and transitions in doorways and wherever the vinyl transitions to another type of flooring material. Place a large piece of cardboard under heavy furniture as you move it back in position so you don’t damage the new floor.