PVC as a Flooring Material

Updated on April 3, 2019
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Andrew is a professional carpenter who has over 15 years of experience.

In terms of surface hardness, the PVC flooring material is somewhere between stone and rug, which makes it perfect for anyone looking for something in between. And even though it's much easier to install a PVC flooring than wood or ceramic plates, you still need to be precise and take your time getting it right. This way, the outcome will look nicer, and it will also last longer. So make sure that you measure it right as there are only so many times that you can cut it.

Using the Right Tools Gets the Best Result

Using the right tools is crucial for getting a good and permanent result. You definitely have to use a sharp knife to cut the vinyl. I recommend checking the sharpness now and then since the material can wear it out quite fast. If you are installing it to a bathroom, then you should always avoid having joints. If you can't avoid that, then you should always fill the joints with a filler. These are usually added with a hot air gun that melts the filler into the joints and fills them up.

Required Tools

  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Precision square
  • Pencil
  • Filling scraper
  • Carpet knife
  • Screwdriver bits for the drill

Tips Before Getting Started

An uneven base floor can be evened out with a special mixture or construction plates that are designed for building floors.

  1. Always add an extra 10 cm to the length when cutting the PVC sheet.
  2. The sheets should be rolled open for 24 hours before installing.
  3. The temperature has to be at least 18°C.
  4. The base floor has to be dry, clear, even, and strong.
  5. A thicker PVC flooring can handle an uneven floor better, but it's more difficult to install.
  6. When choosing the width of the flooring, make sure that you avoid having joints in the middle of the room.
  7. If you have floor heating, then make sure that it doesn't increase the PVC temperature to over 30°C.

Preparing the Base

To begin installing the flooring, you first need to make sure that the base is clean, even, dry, and strong.

Installing a PVC flooring doesn't necessarily mean that you need to remove the old floor cover. If the old floor is made out of a strong material and it's even, then you can most probably keep it. An old floor can be an excellent base. The PVC sheets are quite thin, which is why uneven spots are noticeable. It's not rare that you need to fix the base floor first.

Cracks and hollow spots have to be filled with filling mixture. Parts that are higher should be ground.

If you have an uneven wood floor, then you can use plywood sheets to cover it. These are attached with screws and then covered with a base paint. This avoids the plywood from absorbing the glue. You should also avoid using nails as they can come out when the floor moves. There should also be a 10 mm gap between the base floor and the walls. This is so the base floor doesn't curve upwards when the moisture content changes.

An uneven concrete floor can be evened out with filling mixture or by grinding. With a filling mixture, you should most definitely wait before it hardens and the moisture content matches with the room. I recommend covering a concrete floor with a steam proof construction film.

If you want to remove an old PVC flooring, then that's usually quite simple. Sometimes an old vinyl cover can be just laid out on the floor. But if it's been glued, then you can just make random cuts and rip it off. After that, you have to remove the old glue. You can use a filling scraper and a hot air gun for that.

Installing the PVC Flooring

The PVC flooring material doesn't stretch, which is why it's incredibly important to cut it right. Wrong cuts are later on hard, if not impossible, to fix. I recommend creating a sketch layout of the room. This way you can plan everything, including where the joints will be. It's recommended to plan joints in locations where they aren't very visible. Some people create a stencil out of old newspapers that they later use to cut the PVC. This is an easy way if the rooms are small.

  • If the floor will consist of multiple PVC sheets, then you have to cut them out first with 10 cm of extra length and number them. The sheets are positioned so that they align based on the light and the wall with a window. If the floor has any patterns, then you should match it with the sheets. The joints should be cut with an overlap method. Overlap the sheets with around 2-3 cm and then cut through both sheets. This way you get the perfect joint.
  • Clean the base floor properly with a vacuum cleaner and apply the glue with a filling scraper. I recommend using one that has zig-zag edges. Next, add the PVC sheets. After that, smoothen the sheets from the inside out. This removes air bubbles underneath and evens out the glue. If there's any excess glue that pops onto the top of the PVC, then clean it up before it hardens.
  • Once the entire floor has been covered, you should then cut off the excessive parts of the vinyl. The excessive material should be pushed into the corner of the wall and cut at a 45-degree angle with a sharp knife. You can use a precision square to make it easier.
  • Next, cut the holes for pipes or anything that comes out from the floor. These cuts should be smaller than the size of the object. Just use a hot air gun to extend it. This will make the vinyl hug the object, and you'll have a tight fit.
  • Avoid walking on the fresh new floor for 24 hours.

Cleaning

The great thing about PVC flooring is that it's really easy to clean. It doesn't have any pores, which means that it doesn't collect any dirt. Most stains come off easily with water and washing liquid. You should avoid using chemicals that can damage the material. Such as all kind of acids, etc. that don't react well with plastic.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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