How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to install vinyl plank flooring! If you’re looking to give your space a stylish and durable flooring option, vinyl plank flooring is a fantastic choice.

This type of flooring is now a popular choice for homeowners who want a durable, affordable, and easy-to-install flooring option. With its realistic wood-look designs and waterproof properties, vinyl plank flooring has become a go-to choice for many people looking to update their homes. However, installing vinyl plank flooring can be a daunting task for beginners.

Fortunately, with the right tools and some basic knowledge, anyone can learn how to install vinyl plank flooring. There are many online resources available, including articles and videos, that provide step-by-step instructions on how to install vinyl plank flooring. These resources can be helpful for those who want to save money by doing the installation themselves, or for those who simply want to learn a new skill.

Whether you are looking to install vinyl plank flooring in your kitchen, bathroom, or living room, it is important to follow the proper installation techniques to ensure a successful project.

From preparing the subfloor to laying the planks, there are many steps involved in the installation process. By taking the time to research and learn about the process beforehand, you can feel confident in your ability to install vinyl plank flooring in your home.

Thus, In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through each step of the installation process, providing valuable tips and insights along the way.

RELATED: How Much Does New Flooring Installation Cost?| A Comprehensive Guide

How much does it cost to install 1000 sq ft vinyl plank flooring?

For a 1000 square feet area, the installation cost can range from $2,000 to $7,000. It’s always recommended to obtain multiple quotes from professional installers in your area to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific requirements.

The cost of installing vinyl plank flooring can vary depending on several factors such as the quality of the materials, location, labor costs, the vinyl plank brands, and any additional services required. Therefore, it is challenging to provide an accurate estimate without specific details. However, I can provide you with a general idea of the cost range.

On average, the cost of vinyl plank flooring installation ranges from $2 to $7 per square foot. Keep in mind that this estimate includes both the material and labor costs. Higher-quality materials and intricate installation patterns may increase the price.

Let’s assume the cost of installing vinyl plank flooring is $X per square foot.

The total cost of installing the flooring can be calculated by multiplying the cost per square foot by the total area in square feet:

Total Cost = Cost per square foot × Total area

Given that the total area is 1000 square feet, the formula becomes:

Total Cost = $X × 1000

This formula gives us the total cost of the vinyl plank flooring installation.

As mentioned earlier, the cost per square foot can vary depending on factors like material quality, location, labor costs, and additional services required. The estimated range is typically between $2 and $7 per square foot.

By substituting different values of X into the formula, you can calculate the cost estimate for various scenarios. For example, if the cost per square foot is $3, the calculation would be:

Total Cost = $3 × 1000 = $3000

Similarly, if the cost per square foot is $5, the calculation would be:

Total Cost = $5 × 1000 = $5000

Keep in mind that these are just examples, and the actual cost may vary based on your specific circumstances. Obtaining quotes from professional installers is recommended for an accurate estimate.

Pre-Installation Preparation Of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Before diving into the installation process, it’s crucial to make the necessary preparations. Remember, proper planning and preparation set the stage for a successful vinyl plank flooring installation.

RELATED: The Best Kitchen Flooring Options for Your Home| Expert Guide

Step 1: Gather the Essential Tools and Materials

To kick off your vinyl plank flooring installation, ensure you have the following tools and materials ready:

Equipment / Tools

  • Sander (if needed)
  • Flat pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Fine-tooth saw
  • Straightedge
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Drawbar tool
  • Hammer
  • Nailset
  • Pneumatic brad nailer (optional)


  • Sandpaper (if needed)
  • Vinyl plank flooring
  • 1/4-inch spacers
  • Floor-leveling compound (if needed)
  • Concrete patcher (if needed)

Step 2: Acclimate the Vinyl Planks

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring needs time to adjust to the environment it will be installed. This process is called acclimation and helps prevent issues like expansion or contraction after installation. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how long the planks should acclimate. Typically, it’s recommended to let them rest in the room for at least 48 hours.

Fun Fact: Did you know that vinyl plank flooring is a cost-effective alternative to hardwood floors? It offers the same aesthetic appeal without the hefty price tag and requires less maintenance!

Step 3: Inspect the Subfloor

A thorough inspection of the subfloor is vital before installing vinyl plank flooring. Any imperfections or damages can compromise the overall stability and longevity of your new floor. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Clear the room of any furniture or obstacles.
  2. Sweep and clean the subfloor to ensure it’s free of debris.
  3. Examine the subfloor for any uneven areas, cracks, or moisture issues. Use a level to check for flatness and address any irregularities.

Step 4: Leveling the Subfloor

Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Ideally, the subfloor should be level, smooth, and dry before laying the vinyl plank flooring. If you discover any uneven spots during the inspection, you may need to level the subfloor. Depending on the extent of the unevenness, you can choose from various methods, such as using a self-leveling compound, sanding down high spots, or adding a plywood underlayment.

Now that you’ve completed the pre-installation preparations, let’s move on to planning the layout of your vinyl plank flooring.

Planning the Layout for The Vinyl Plank Flooring

Determining the layout and starting point is crucial to achieving an aesthetically pleasing result. Follow these steps to plan your vinyl plank flooring installation:

Step 1: Measure the Room

Before you begin installing the planks, accurately measure the room’s dimensions. Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the space. Remember to account for any nooks, alcoves, or irregular areas by taking additional measurements.

Pro Tip: Always purchase around 5-10% extra vinyl plank flooring to account for waste and cutting errors. It’s better to have more than less!

Step 2: Determine the Starting Point

Choosing the right starting point can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of your vinyl plank flooring. Generally, it’s recommended to start from a prominent wall or the longest straight wall in the room. This ensures a seamless and balanced look.

Consider these questions when deciding on the starting point:

  • Which wall is most visible when entering the room?
  • Are there any focal points, such as a fireplace or a large window?
  • What is the direction of the natural light?
  • Is there any specific pattern or design you want to achieve?

Step 3: Establish Guidelines

To ensure straight and accurate installation, establish guidelines using a chalk line. Measure the width of a plank and mark the same distance from the starting wall at various points along it. Snap the chalk line to create a straight reference line to align your first row of planks.

Now that you’ve successfully planned the layout, it’s time to delve into the installation process of vinyl plank flooring.

Installing the Underlayment (if applicable)

Before installing the vinyl plank flooring, you might need to lay an underlayment, especially if it’s specified by the manufacturer or if you desire extra insulation or soundproofing. note that, Underlayment is primarily used for floating vinyl plank flooring. It does not make a good substrate for peel-and-stick flooring because it doesn’t adhere to the subfloor underneath.

Hence, Follow these steps for a smooth underlayment installation:

Step 1: Select the Suitable Underlayment

Different types of underlayment are available, such as foam, cork, or rubber. Choose the one that best suits your needs and is compatible with your vinyl plank flooring.

Step 2: Cut and Fit the Underlayment

Measure the dimensions of the room and cut the underlayment accordingly. Ensure a snug fit, leaving a small gap around the perimeter for expansion. Overlapping seams by a few inches and taping them securely will provide added protection against moisture.

Step 3: Secure the Underlayment to the Subfloor

Use staples, adhesive, or tape to secure the underlayment to the subfloor, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure there are no wrinkles or loose areas that could affect the vinyl plank installation.

Congratulations! You’ve now prepared the foundation for installing your vinyl plank flooring. It’s time to lay down those beautiful planks.

Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring Step-By-Step

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Installing vinyl plank flooring involves a series of steps that require precision and attention to detail. Let’s dive into the installation process to achieve a professional-looking finish.

RELATED: What is the Best Flooring for Bathrooms | Expert Advice

Step 1: Choose the Right Vinyl Plank

Selecting the appropriate vinyl plank flooring is crucial for both aesthetic appeal and durability. Consider factors such as thickness, wear layer, texture, and color. It’s also essential to choose planks that are suitable for the environment in which they will be installed. For example, if you’re installing vinyl plank flooring in a high-moisture area like a bathroom or kitchen, opt for planks with enhanced water resistance.

Step 2: Start the Installation

When installing vinyl plank flooring, it is important to start with the first row. This will set the foundation for the rest of the installation process. Here are the steps to follow for installing the first row:

I. Laying Out the Planks

Before beginning to install the first row, it is important to lay out the planks. This will help ensure that the planks are properly aligned and that the installation looks neat and professional. To lay out the planks, start by measuring the length of the room and dividing it by the width of the planks. This will give you the number of planks needed for the first row.

Next, lay the planks out on the floor in the order in which they will be installed. This will help you visualize the final result and make any necessary adjustments before beginning the installation process.

ll. Installing the First Row

Begin by aligning the first plank with the reference line established earlier. Leave an expansion gap of around 1/4 inch between the plank and the wall. This gap allows the vinyl to expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. Insert spacers along the wall to maintain this consistent gap.

With the planks laid out and the first-row cut, it is time to begin installing the first row. Start by applying adhesive to the back of the first plank and pressing it firmly into place. Be sure to align the plank with the chalk line and leave a small gap between the plank and the wall.

Continue installing the planks in the first row, making sure to use a tapping block and a rubber mallet to ensure a tight fit. As you work, be sure to check that the planks are properly aligned and that the installation looks neat and professional.

Thus, installing the first row of vinyl plank flooring is an important step in the installation process. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that the first row is properly aligned and that the rest of the installation goes smoothly.

Pro Tip: Vinyl plank flooring often comes with a locking mechanism that allows for easy installation. Ensure you understand the specific installation method recommended by the manufacturer and follow it carefully.

Step 3: Cut and Fit the Planks

As you progress with the installation, you’ll likely encounter areas that require cut planks to fit properly. Use a T-square and a utility knife to make precise cuts. Measure each section carefully and mark the plank before cutting. Remember to leave expansion gaps around any fixed objects, such as columns or kitchen islands.

i. Cutting the First Row

Once the planks are laid out, it is time to cut the first row. This is an important step, as it will ensure that the first row is properly aligned and that the rest of the installation goes smoothly. To cut the first row, measure the length of the room and subtract the width of one plank. This will give you the length of the first plank in the row.

Using a saw or a utility knife, cut the first plank to the correct length. Repeat this process for the remaining planks in the first row. Be sure to leave a small gap between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion.

ii. Cutting and Fitting the Last Row

When it comes time to install the last row of vinyl plank flooring, it’s important to take some extra care to ensure a proper fit. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Measure the distance between the last installed row and the wall.
  2. Cut the last row of planks to fit this distance, making sure to leave a small gap between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion.
  3. Install the last row of planks in the same manner as the previous rows, using a tapping block and mallet to ensure a tight fit.

It’s important to note that the last row of planks may need to be cut to fit around any obstacles or irregularities in the wall. Take the time to measure and cut carefully to ensure a professional-looking finish.

Step 4: Create Expansion Gaps

Along the starting wall, place spacers between the planks and the wall to maintain the required expansion gap. As you install subsequent rows, remove the spacers and reuse them to maintain consistent spacing. This step ensures the planks have the necessary room to expand and contract without buckling or warping over time.

Step 5: Installing the Remaining Rows

Once the first row of vinyl plank flooring has been installed, it’s time to move on to the remaining rows. This section will cover the steps to install the second row and beyond, as well as cutting and fitting the last row.

Installing the Second Row and Beyond

To install the second row and beyond, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by placing the first plank of the second row against the end of the first row at a slight angle.
  2. Lower the plank down to the floor and click it into place.
  3. Continue installing planks in this manner, making sure to stagger the seams between planks.
  4. Use a tapping block and mallet to ensure a tight fit between planks.

It’s important to note that when installing the second row and beyond, it’s common to have to cut planks to fit around obstacles or to create a staggered pattern. Make sure to measure carefully and use a saw to make precise cuts. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the planks into place, ensuring they are snugly connected.

Did you know? Vinyl plank flooring is a great option for households with pets or young children due to its scratch-resistant and waterproof nature. It can withstand the occasional spills and scratches without losing its charm!

Overall, installing vinyl plank flooring is a relatively straightforward process that can be completed with a few basic tools and some careful measurements. By following the steps outlined in this section, homeowners can achieve a beautiful, durable floor that will last for years to come.

Great job! You’re making excellent progress with your vinyl plank flooring installation. Now, let’s explore how to navigate around obstacles and add those finishing touches.

Dealing with Obstacles

During the vinyl plank flooring installation process, you might encounter obstacles like doorways, corners, and floor vents. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with tips to overcome these challenges.

1. Installing around Doorways

installing vinyl plank flooring around doorways

Installing vinyl plank flooring around doorways requires careful measurement and precision cutting. Here’s how to tackle it:

  1. Measure and mark the plank to fit the doorway opening, leaving an expansion gap.
  2. Use a utility knife or a jigsaw to make the necessary cuts.
  3. Test the fit before installing the plank. It should slide easily under the door casing or jamb.

2. Installing around Corners and Irregular Shapes

Installing vinyl floor around Corners and Irregular Shapes

When it comes to corners and irregular shapes, creating a seamless transition can be a bit tricky. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Create a template using cardboard or paper for the shape you need to cut.
  2. Transfer the shape onto the vinyl plank and carefully cut it out.
  3. Test the fit before installing to ensure a smooth transition.

RELATED: How Much Does Ceramic Tile Installation Cost? | Expert Guide

3. Handling Floor Vents

Handling Floor Vents

Floor vents can pose a challenge during vinyl plank flooring installation. However, you can work around them effortlessly:

  1. Measure the opening of the floor vent.
  2. Transfer the measurements onto the plank and cut out the corresponding shape.
  3. Carefully fit the cut plank around the floor vent, ensuring a snug fit.

Well done! You’ve conquered those obstacles like a pro. Now, let’s add the finishing touches to complete your vinyl plank flooring installation.

Finishing Touches

After installing vinyl plank flooring, there are a few finishing touches that can make the project look even better. This section will cover two important finishing touches: replacing baseboards and adding transition strips.

Thus, to achieve a polished and professional look, it’s essential to pay attention to the finishing touches. Let’s explore the final steps of your vinyl plank flooring installation.

1. Replacing Baseboards

One way to give your vinyl plank flooring a polished look is by replacing the baseboards. This is especially important if the old baseboards were damaged during the installation process. Replacing baseboards is a relatively easy DIY project that can be done with a few basic tools.

To replace baseboards, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the old baseboards by gently prying them away from the wall with a pry bar or putty knife.
  2. Measure the length of the wall where the new baseboard will be installed.
  3. Cut the new baseboard to size using a saw.
  4. Install the new baseboards by nailing them to the wall using a nail gun or hammer.

2. Installing Transition Strips

Transition strips are essential for a seamless transition between different flooring surfaces or between rooms. Depending on the type of transition strip you choose, installation methods may vary. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure the transition strips in place.

To add transition strips, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the length of the area where the transition strip will be installed.
  2. Cut the transition strip to size using a saw.
  3. Install the transition strip by nailing or gluing it to the subfloor.
  4. Make sure the transition strip is level with the vinyl plank flooring and the adjoining flooring.

3. Securing the Flooring to the Subfloor

To ensure your vinyl plank flooring remains firmly in place, you may need to secure it to the subfloor. Some vinyl planks come with adhesive backing, while others require separate adhesive applications. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to apply the adhesive and secure the planks as necessary.

4. Removing Excess Adhesive

During the installation process, you may encounter some adhesive residue on the surface of the vinyl planks. Use a clean cloth and a manufacturer-approved adhesive remover to wipe away any excess adhesive carefully.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed your vinyl plank flooring, transforming your space with a stunning and durable floor. Take a moment to revel in your accomplishment.

Post-Installation Steps

After completing the installation, there are a few post-installation steps to ensure the longevity and beauty of your vinyl plank flooring.

1. Cleaning the Vinyl Plank Flooring

To maintain the pristine appearance of your vinyl plank flooring, regular cleaning is necessary. Use a broom, vacuum cleaner, or a damp mop with a manufacturer-approved cleaning solution to remove dust, dirt, and spills. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or excessive water, as they can damage the planks.

2. Allowing for Proper Curing Time

Vinyl plank flooring may require some time to settle and fully adhere to the subfloor. Avoid heavy foot traffic, furniture movement, or applying excessive pressure on the floor for the recommended curing time. This duration varies depending on the manufacturer, so refer to their instructions for guidance.

RELATED: 13 Best Wood Floor Polish You Can Use Easily

Troubleshooting and Tips

Even with careful installation, some challenges may arise. Here are a few troubleshooting tips and advice to ensure a successful vinyl plank flooring installation:

1. Common Installation Mistakes to Avoid

  • Neglecting to acclimate the vinyl planks: Acclimation helps the planks adjust to the environment, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction issues.
  • Skipping subfloor preparation: A properly prepared subfloor is crucial for a stable and long-lasting vinyl plank flooring installation.
  • Forgetting to stagger the planks: Staggering the planks creates an attractive visual pattern and enhances the overall durability of the floor.

2. Tips for a Successful Installation

  • Measure twice, cut once: Take accurate measurements and double-check before cutting the planks to ensure a precise fit.
  • Use a tapping block: When connecting the planks, a tapping block helps distribute force evenly, preventing damage to the edges.
  • Maintain a consistent expansion gap: Throughout the installation, ensure the proper expansion gap is maintained to avoid buckling or warping.

Now that you’re armed with troubleshooting tips and essential advice, your vinyl plank flooring installation journey is set for success!


Congratulations on completing your vinyl plank flooring installation! You’ve transformed your space into a beautiful, stylish, and durable oasis. With proper planning, preparation, and execution, you’ve successfully tackled each step of the process, from pre-installation to finishing touches. As you enjoy the benefits of your new floor, remember to follow proper cleaning and maintenance practices to preserve its beauty for years to come.

We hope this comprehensive guide has empowered you to confidently install vinyl plank flooring. The journey may have had its challenges, but the result is undoubtedly rewarding. Embrace the beauty and comfort of your new flooring, and relish in the satisfaction of a job well done.

RELATED: Is Wood Floor In Kitchen A Good Idea? | Expert Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common mistakes to avoid when installing vinyl plank flooring?

When installing vinyl plank flooring, it is important to avoid common mistakes such as not properly preparing the subfloor, not allowing the planks to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity, and not properly staggering the planks. It is also important to avoid using too much adhesive and not cleaning up excess adhesive before it dries.

In which direction should vinyl plank flooring be installed?

Vinyl plank flooring should be installed parallel to the longest wall in the room. This creates a more natural look and helps to make the room appear larger.

How do you start the first row of vinyl plank flooring?

To start the first row of vinyl plank flooring, measure the length of the room and divide it by the length of the planks. This will help you determine the width of the final row of planks. Then, cut the first plank to the appropriate width and install it along the longest wall in the room. Make sure to leave a small gap between the plank and the wall to allow for expansion.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring on any type of subfloor?

Vinyl plank flooring can be installed on various subfloors, including concrete, plywood, and existing vinyl or tile floors. However, it’s crucial to prepare the subfloor properly to ensure a stable and long-lasting installation. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific subfloor requirements.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring in a bathroom or kitchen?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice for high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. However, it’s essential to select vinyl planks that offer enhanced water resistance. Additionally, proper sealing around the edges and ensuring a waterproof subfloor is crucial to prevent water damage.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring myself, or should I hire a professional?

Vinyl plank flooring installation can be a DIY project for those with basic handyman skills and the right tools. However, if you’re uncertain or uncomfortable with the process, it’s best to consult a professional installer. They can ensure the proper preparation, installation techniques, and finishing touches, resulting in a flawless and professional-looking floor.

You May Also Like