Vinyl plank flooring is a super versatile product that has been rapidly gaining in popularity in both residential and commercial applications – and it’s easy to see why. Vinyl plank flooring is waterproof, simple to clean and maintain, highly durable, and closely resembles natural wood or stone. What’s not to love?
Thanks to its relatively simple installation process, vinyl plank flooring has become a go-to DIY flooring material. If you have the skill and the time, vinyl flooring makes for a perfect project; however, the quality of your installation will depend heavily on one often overlooked element – your subfloor.
In a perfect world, vinyl plank flooring would get installed directly over top of whatever is currently on your floor, be it concrete, plywood, or even old flooring. The reality, however, is that as versatile as vinyl plank flooring is, it cannot conceal a damaged subfloor. Skip the prep step, and you could find yourself re-doing your vinyl plank flooring much sooner than you intended.
Here are four reasons why you should never skip floor prep before vinyl plank installation.
Makes Installation Easier
Trying to get your vinyl planks to cooperate on rough, uneven concrete or plywood makes the installation process much more complicated than it needs to be. Despite the flexibility of a vinyl plank, surfaces need to be smooth and level for correct installation. Most products specify the surface needs to level within 3/16″ per 10-foot radius. Otherwise, you risk movement and separation after the flooring is installed.
The Finished Product Will Look Better
Installation imperfections will be visible within your final product. Whether it’s areas where the floor is raised, dips when you walk, or it has separated over time, eventually, poorly installed floors will become evident, and that will lead to costly and time-consuming repairs.
Prevents Future Damage
Vinyl plank flooring installed against manufacturer specifications, including allowable surface variations, will almost always result in product warranties being voided. Considering that most decent quality vinyl plank comes with a lifetime warranty, you want to make sure that you are not passing up years of protection due to simple installation mistakes.
Subfloor Repairs are Usually Small Fixes
Removing vinyl plank flooring to fix a problem with the subfloor is a big job; repairing a concrete or plywood wood subfloor before you begin installation is a small job. Concrete repairs, filling cracks, floor levelling, grinding, or joint filling can all be done quickly and at a relatively low cost. There is really no reason not to take care of minor fixes before making a significant investment in vinyl plank flooring.
Floor prep should be considered the first and most important step in flooring installation (after the measure twice, cut once rule). While vinyl plank flooring installation itself can be a suitable DIY job, you may want professional concrete subfloor repair to ensure you start on the right foot,and we can can help.