Vinyl Sheet Flooring

How to Lay Vinyl Sheet Flooring

A roll of sheet vinyl can be heavy and awkward to maneuver, but it is not too difficult to lay. The same method can also be used for laying carpet with a synthetic backing. Fitting fiber-backed carpet that needs underlay, however, requires a different technique and is a job best left to the professionals if you want to get the best results.

Planning

Sheet flooring allows a large area to be covered quickly and with a minimum of seams, but in an awkwardly shaped room can result in wastage. Plan the layout so that any joins do not run across or into a doorway. Seams laid at right angles to a window will be less noticeable.

Fitting

Unroll the flooring in the correct position, allowing the waste to lap up the skirting (base) boards. So that it will lay flat, cut away a triangle of material at each internal corner and make a release cut at each external corner. You will also need to make a series of small release cuts to allow the flooring to lay flat around awkward shapes such as door frames.

Start to fit the flooring along two straight adjacent walls, working out from this corner around the room. Use a bolster (stonecutter’s) chisel to crease the flooring into the junction between skirting and floor. Then, holding it firm with a long metal straightedge, use a sharp craft knife to trim the flooring to fit neatly against the skirting.

If a join is necessary, carpet edges can be butted together – the pile will disguise minor irregularities. For vinyl, overlap the edges so that the pattern matches and cut through both layers with a sharp knife along a metal straightedge. Secure with double-sided flooring tape fixed to the floor directly beneath the join.

Once the flooring has been trimmed to fit, pull back the edges and fix double-sided tape to the floor all around the room. Remove the protective paper from the tape and press the cut edges of the flooring firmly into place. Carpet laid over floorboards can be fixed with heavy-duty staples 18mm in from the edge at 100mm (4in) intervals or with 37mm carpet tacks every 200mm (8in).

When using tacks, cut the carpet slightly oversize, turn the edges under, and drive the tacks through the double thickness. Secure flooring in a doorway with a threshold strip fixed over the center.

Fitting around awkward shapes

A profile gauge will be useful for marking out small shapes prior to cutting, but for a larger obstacle, you will need to make a template. Tape sheets of thick paper or card to the floor, and use a small block of wood and a pencil to scribe the shape on to the template – this will be slightly larger than the size required.

Lay the template on the flooring and use the woodblock once more as a guide to transferring the cutting line on the flooring. Trim using a sharp knife and make a straight cut in from the back edge of the flooring to fit.

Sub-bases

Carpet can be laid over floorboards, but sheet vinyl will require a hardboard sub-floor. Both materials can be laid on a level concrete floor that has a damp-proof membrane. The lining paper should be laid under the synthetic-backed carpet to prevent dust from rising through floorboards and the carpet from sticking to solid floors.

Laying paper underlay

Roll up the carpet half-way across the room and start to lay the paper underlay 50mm (2in) from the skirting. Work toward the center of the room, overlapping each strip by 25mm (lin), and staple the paper to the floorboards along the seams and around the edges – use flooring tape on a solid floor. When one half of the room is complete, roll the carpet back into place, then roll up the rest of the carpet to complete the other side of the room.

Practical tips

– Re-roll sheet vinyl so that the pattern is outermost, then lay it flat for 48 hours in the room in which it is to be laid. This will make it more pliable and easier to lay.
– In a bathroom, it will be easier to start along the wall where the handbasin or WC is installed.
– Dust and fluff impair the adhesion of double-sided tape, so do not remove its protective paper until all of the floorings has been trimmed to fit.
– A carpet should be laid with the pile running away from the main window to prevent uneven shading in daylight.