Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

How to lay sheet vinyl flooring in a complex, larger space. Our DIY kitchen reno slate-look vinyl

After we learned that the vinyl flooring in our kitchen had asbestos in the glue, we decided not to rip it out and lay oak flooring to match the rest of the house. I considered tile, but tile is tricky in a kitchen... it's hard underfoot, hard when you drop things on it or kids fall on it, has grout lines that can be annoying to clean, and takes time to lay. But I do like the look of tile--I thought about terra cotta or slate as a solid but varied, rich color.

Then I thought about vinyl. If I could find a vinyl that looked nice (not like the dated stuff we were covering up, or the builder-basic shiny faux travertine look I've had at apartments before), it would be faster, easier, and more cost-effective than any of the other options I considered.

Thanks to Armstrong Flooring for providing this flooring for my review and coverage! You can check out their options on their website and buy at a flooring retailer near you.

So, I set out to find a sheet vinyl flooring that looked like slate tile. It was actually harder than I thought; not a ton of options out there, but then I found the perfect thing by Armstrong Flooring. I'll share all about it, plus how we installed it ourselves!

Remember you can also check out other posts on this DIY kitchen reno:

Preparation for installing sheet vinyl flooring

First, we did some research on how we were what we were installing the new vinyl onto. We had one layer of existing vinyl over the original linoleum. In the "before" pictures of our house you’ll see a wood-look shiny marmoleum-type flooring; that was a click tile that stuck to each piece to each other and was a temporary solution the previous owners used to put over the yellow linoleum when it started to wear. It was easy to remove. (Under that was this yellow stuff. A couple months ago we took a sample of it, plus a little bit of the green linoleum under it, from behind the fridge, to a local environmental testing place and paid $30 or something for them to test it for asbestos. The glue under it, but not flooring itself, contain 40% asbestos. So, we knew we didn’t want to remove the old linoleum because that would disturb it.)

We read the specs and installation instructions on this product from Armstrong and on the adhesive, and found that we could indeed just put the new vinyl over the old. However, because our yellow stuff had a diamond pattern in it, we needed to put a coat of embossing leveler first. This is kind of like a thin, quick drying mortar that you scrape onto the floor to smooth out the texture and differences in height. A leveler can be for even bigger height differences (like I think the basic floor leveler I read said up to 1/2" or 1" of difference), but embossing leveler is for covering patterns like this.

Another installation prep thing that we did is under-cutting the door trim. I am intimately familiar with us after doing it on all of our door frames at our last house before we install laminate flooring., But it had never been done here, even when a couple owners back in stalled that yellow vinyl… They just trimmed the flooring carefully at the door frame! Yuck!, catches dirt and shows a little tiny bit of the old flooring underneath. There is a better way! We use a vibrating tool to trim down the door frames to account for the height of the new vinyl, with a little wiggle room.

I know this door frame looks terrifying… Unfortunately that aqua paint poking through contains lead; we tested that too with a $10 kit from the hardware store. So, we were extremely careful and taped off this whole area and were pretty paranoid about it actually. I am not telling you how to work with lead or asbestos in your house; please research your state's guidelines and bring in a professional if you need to.

You can read specific options/installation guidelines from Armstrong here.

How to lay sheet vinyl flooring over vinyl (in a kitchen or complex space)

Now onto how to actually install this sheet vinyl in a funky-shaped room! You actually might use this method even for a simple rectangle or square (like if you want to replace the flooring under your washer/dryer or in a small bathroom), but we were so glad to find this method because we were worried about fitting one long sheet of vinyl around our whole space, including through the narrower doorway that leads to the breakfast nook. The kitchen was not just a rectangle or 4- or 5-sided shape!

We watched this video from This Old House to get an idea, and I highly recommend that you check that one out too, but as usual, it is a pretty brief overview. So I will go into more detail!

1. Template

Start by making a template of your room. You do this using a thick, sturdy paper. I couldn’t find anything like this in the flooring department of Home Depot; I think you can get actual flooring template paper/felt maybe at a flooring or contractor store, but I did find this super sturdy new product ("X-Board") in the paint section that worked perfectly.

Cut it into as few pieces as possible, but you will need to piece it. Tape the pieces together thoroughly but also cut some triangles with your razor knife in the paper and then tape over those to hold the paper to the flooring so it doesn’t shift while you work. Don’t cut the paper any larger than the room--you want the template ending 1" or so before the wall, so you don’t have it rising up or crinkling.

To get the exact shape you want--this is the cool part!--grab a wide straightedge and hold it against the wall, tracing onto the template. Then you will use that same alignment as you draw onto the vinyl to cut it out! Cool, huh? This means you don’t have to perfectly measure dimensions like the width of the space and how long before it turns right at the door frame or something. You just have to get close enough with those strips of paper as you make the template, and then trace.

2. Trace & cut flooring

Next, lay the flooring out in a flat space. This was a little tricky because our flooring is 12' wide and the only other space that we had in our house for that with was the living room or maybe dining room running into the living room with a bend in it… It would’ve been really tricky and we would’ve had to move all the furniture. So, we cleared away some boxes from a room in our basement and carried the heavy roll of flooring down there.

Unroll. it, top side out, and line your template up on top. Make sure the pattern is straight running down the long way of the room. If the walls of the room you templated are pretty straight, you can do this by spot-checking in a few places with the straightedge on top of your template.

You could just cut using the template, but I found it much easier to first trace the template with sharpie onto our dark vinyl and then cut. Use a vinyl cutter hook blade on a standard razor knife. This part actually went really fast… We were intimidated about making a template, but once that was done, I was able to do most of these next steps myself while Jason spread the embossing leveler you saw in the first pictures.

Even this basement room was not long enough for our full kitchen worth of flooring, so we did it into chunks, keeping the template taped to the final as we folded some of the final back on itself to unroll more of it for the breakfast nook portion.

Then, carefully roll up your cut piece of flooring and bring it to the space for installation. Read about what adhesive method you should use, depending on how you will use the room and what you will be putting on top of it. We decided to use the full contact method especially in higher traffic areas, but didn’t worry about getting it under every inch of the flooring--but still this was more secure than the perimeter gluing method. (There is also a temporary adhesive option you can use if you want to be able to remove the flooring easily later.)

3. Dry fit

We rolled out the entire piece of flooring and cut it to size before putting any adhesive down. There are final trimming edits to make once it’s in the space, especially around door frames where I left extra vinyl just in case--it was hard to cut there exactly because my straightedge hadn’t fit under the door frames and the way door frames are made there are usually some little angles in there anyway.

4. Adhere

Once your flooring is in the right spot, roll back a corner or portion of it and spread the adhesive. This stuff is pretty nasty… Don’t get it on anything other than the floor, your tools, and disposable gloves!

That’s really it! You can see in this picture right after belayed it that there are some sort of rolled areas look still visible… Those are just because the flooring was in a roll for so long before we installed it, and they shook out within a few days. It wasn’t an actual gap underneath the material, it was just extra curve to that part and it seriously flattened out no problem.

I called this a 100% successful DIY project and I am so glad we went with this instead of tile, which would’ve taken us way, way longer and more hard work on my back! Plus, this vinyl is so easy to clean and feels great underfoot!

We have now installed the baseboards and quarter round (and cabinets of course) on top of the flooring and it is looking so good in here!

I do have a few tips for installing baseboards from our last house... same story here, except we also had quarter round to do on top. I painted all of them on sawhorses before installation, but then after nail gunning them and caulking them, they needed another coat of paint. Looking so crisp!

This flooring also looks great as you enter the room from the dining room, where there are a lot of warm wood tones, so this off black neutral is a welcome contrast.

(We will install a flooring threshold, oak to match the dining room floors, at both of the doorways leading in from wood flooring. Because of the height difference, it needs to be what is called a reducer, where one side is higher than the other. You buy it in unfinished wood and then stain it to match the floors. That’s coming up soon on the list of to do's for this room.)

I feel like sheet vinyl can have a bad reputation, and is commonly used in apartments and builder-basic houses (I'm assuming because it’s cheap and easy to install), and there have been so many ugly ones over the past 30 to 40 years! But if you find a pattern that you love, it can be an awesome solution and does not look cheap at all!

Thanks to Armstrong Flooring for providing this flooring for my review and coverage! You can check out their options on their website and buy at a flooring retailer near you.

No comments

Post a Comment


© Create / Enjoy • Theme by Maira G.