How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Get a great-looking new floor in one day

Time

A full day

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

$101–250

Introduction

Luxury vinyl (LV) is tough and good-looking—and the easiest flooring material you’ll ever install. These tips and tricks will help you get the job done right.

Tools Required

  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Aviation snips
  • Belt sander
  • Brad nail gun
  • Chalk line
  • Cold chisel
  • Dust mask
  • Hammer
  • Hearing protection
  • Knee pads
  • Putty knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Sanding block
  • Square
  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife

Luxury vinyl flooring (LVP) is similar to sheet vinyl, but it’s thicker, more durable and easier to install. It comes in tiles and planks, but this article covers planks only, and uses a product called Adura LockSolid. It’s a floating floor which means it isn’t fastened to the subfloor—it just lies there.

Luxury vinyl is the fastest-growing category in the flooring industry. LVP starts at about a couple of dollars per square foot, similar in price to medium-grade laminate. It’s available at flooring stores and home centers.

Project step-by-step (9)

Step 1

Sand Down the High Spots

  • Find the high and low spots on wood subfloors with a straightedge.
    • Note: The floor height should not rise or drop more than 1/8 inch over the span of 4 feet.
  • Sand down the high spots with a belt sander equipped with a coarse-grit belt.
    • Note: This is a dusty job, so turn off your furnace to avoid spreading dust all over the house, and wear a dust mask.
    • Pro tip: Use the coarsest sanding belt you can find, such as 40- or 60-grit.

Step 2

Fill in the Low Spots

  • Fill the low spots with floor patch, and feather it out with a trowel.
    • Pro tip: Avoid self-leveling floor patch. The floor doesn’t have to be level; it just has to be smooth.

Begin and End with Half a Plank or More

If you lay the planks parallel to the longest wall as you’re installing vinyl plank flooring, you’ll end up making fewer cuts. But don’t start that first row with full planks without figuring out how wide your last row is going to be. Neither the first nor the last row should be ripped down much smaller than half a plank.

Measure the width of the room, and divide it by the width of the exposed portion of the plank before you start installing vinyl plank flooring. For example, if your room measures 123 in., and your flooring is 5.75 in. wide, you’d divide 123 by 5.75, which is 21.39. That is, it would take 21.39 planks to complete the floor. Because this .39 represents less than half the width of a plank, you would want to cut down the first plank by an inch or so to increase the size of the last plank.