How to Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring has come a long way since it debuted in 1933. Once considered a cheap replacement for linoleum flooring, sheet vinyl has become increasingly popular and is often the go-to flooring choice for many homeowners who want to upgrade their floor without breaking the bank.

Not only is this type of flooring popular for its affordability, durability, and range of styles, but it is also fairly easy to install, even for those attempting DIY for the first time. If you’re eager to learn more about how to install sheet vinyl flooring, the home project and repair experts from Mr. Handyman will explain everything you need to know about installing sheet vinyl flooring in your home.

Tools and Materials Needed to Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring

The first step in learning how to install a sheet vinyl floor is to gather the tools and materials you’ll need to successfully complete your job and give your flooring a professional finish. All of these tools can be found at your local hardware store or a specialty flooring retailer.

To get started, pick out the design and style of flooring that appeals to you. You’ll also need the following tools and supplies:

  • A utility knife or vinyl cutter
  • Adhesive and/or double-sided tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Straightedge or T-square
  • Notched trowel
  • Seam roller
  • Floor roller, if you are using the full spread adhesive method
  • Safety equipment such as gloves, knee pads, and eye protection

Now that you have all your materials, let’s get to work!

How to Prep the Floor

A big part of any successful project is to start with a clean and prepped workspace. Before you start to install sheet vinyl floors, be sure to remove any old floor coverings to expose the subfloor.

Once the old flooring has been removed, make sure that the subfloor is clean, dry, and free of any imperfections. If there is any residue from old adhesives, wax, paint, sealers, or oils, use a sander to remove it. Also, be sure to remove any debris, such as carpet nails, dust, or dirt. If you need to use a sander, wear a mask and eye protection for safety.

If you notice any imperfections, cracks, or uneven surfaces after cleaning, now is the time to repair them.

How to Estimate the Material Needs

Before purchasing your vinyl flooring material, use the measuring tape to measure the room. The length and width are all you need for a standard square or rectangle. If there are special cutouts or irregular shapes, break your measurement surface into smaller pieces to make it easier to manage. And remember—measure twice, cut once!

Once you have your measurements, you’ll need to calculate the square footage by multiplying the length by the width. If you had to break up your measurements, calculate the square footage for each space and then add them together to get your total footage.

It’s always a good practice to buy some extra sheets of vinyl in case you need it for pattern matching, repairs (later on), or to account for waste during the installation process!

The Installation Process

While installing new flooring of any type is a big job, installing sheet vinyl flooring isn’t as overwhelming as you might think! 

Step 1: Unroll the Vinyl. First, unroll the vinyl and let it rest in the room where it will be installed for at least 24 hours. This will allow the vinyl to acclimate to the temperature and humidity, which will help it lay flat during installation.

Step 2: Mark and Cut. Once flat, use a pattern to mark and cut the vinyl flooring to fit your space. This is the time you’ll want to check to ensure that all of the pattern’s elements line up correctly.

Step 3: Apply Adhesive. Now it’s time to apply the adhesive! Some manufacturers will recommend using adhesive, while others will recommend double-sided tape. Be sure to check with the flooring manufacturer’s instructions to see which type of glue you’ll need. If you’re using the tape, you can apply it directly to your subfloor. If you use the adhesive, spread it evenly over the subfloor using a notched trowel.

Start unrolling the sheet vinyl in one corner of the room. As you unroll the vinyl, press it onto the subfloor and carefully work your way to the opposite wall. Ensure a secure bond by using a floor roller to press the vinyl to the adhesive on the subfloor.

Step 4: Trim the Excess. Grab a utility knife or a vinyl cutter once the entire room has been covered with your vinyl. Use it to trim off the excess material around the edges of your room or any obstacles like built-in cabinets, door frames, or vents on your floor.

Step 5: Install Transition Strips. Complete the installation by installing transition strips or molding to cover where the vinyl meets the end of the room. If you need to mold the vinyl around corners, you can use a heat gun (or hairdryer!) to soften the material. This will make for a clean and professional finish.

Step 6: Clean and Cure. Now that your flooring is installed, clean it thoroughly, focusing specifically on any adhesive residue. As you clean, look closely for imperfections or areas that need fixing or touching up.

The final step in the process is to allow the floor to cure. How much time your new floor will need will depend on the manufacturer's recommendations. Be sure to follow the directions before walking on it or placing any heavy furniture on it.

Need Help With Flooring or Other Home Projects and Repairs?

If the idea of sheet vinyl flooring sounds like the perfect solution to your flooring needs, but the installation process feels overwhelming, don’t worry! Our handyman services can do the heavy lifting and installation for you.

From measuring the room to knowing how to install sheet vinyl flooring, our team of experienced pros knows how to get the job done right. That’s why all our work is covered by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™, which means you can rest assured that we’ll get the job done right the first time.

If you’re interested in installing beautiful new flooring in your home but don’t have the time or tools for a DIY project, Mr. Handyman® can help. To get started, request service today!