All flooring installers have encountered situations throughout their careers that demanded special and immediate attention. Perhaps it was a problem that called for immediate resolution, or perhaps the product arrived somewhat differently than expected.  It may also have been an area that did not match what was ordered or any number of situations in which the professional installers always appear to find a way to make it work. 

Installation tips are very helpful; flooring installers sharing with others makes everyone’s work easier. We have received an abundance of ideas from installers who gladly share techniques that work for them.  It is possible that they may not work for you.  But, just in case you encounter a situation on the job; perhaps you’ll remember someone’s proven method that worked for them just at the right moment to achieve the ultimate goal, customer satisfaction.  

Resilient Flooring Installation Tips    

Tim Provence (CA)   Manager, AFP Field Installation Services

When preparing to install cove cap to flash cove sheet vinyl or linoleum, cut a piece of cove stick the same as the desired height of the finished material on the wall. (ie: 4" piece for 4" high coving).  Use this section to mark the walls for using the chalk line to establish a line for the cove cap. This eliminates using a tape measure for marking the wall and will mark both sides of an inside corner wall without having to reposition the piece.

When cutting cove stick for inside corners when flashcoving, use the same coping technique used for wood and laminate quarterround or crown moldings.  Coping the cove stick rather than cutting 45-degree angles, eliminates gaps encountered when the inside corner is not a true 90-degree angle.  It also provides a solid backing for the material in the corner, especially when heat welding is involved.  

Roy Davison (MO)

Always be sure to stuff a rag down the flange opening after a toilet is removed.  This not only prevents the escape of sewer gas, but can also save you dollars!   Once, when I was installing vinyl in a bathroom on a residential job, I did not stuff the flange.  Needless to say, I am now short one good Armstrong vinyl knife.  This would not have upset me so, but you see, I had done this once before about nine years earlier.  At that time, I was fortunate enough to have a 4-year old son that I could coax (with a little effort and using a piece of candy for bribery) into putting his “spindly” little arm down into the flange to retrieve my tool.  However, this time my “little” boy is much older.  He no longer has arms small enough to do such a job.  I’m sure not even bribing him with money would convince him to put his arm in such a place!   A good installer should always learn from his mistakes.

Al Brown (MO) (deceased)

Most installers make a pattern or a template when installing vinyl composition tile around a floor drain or just cut into the tile. A much easier way is to simply coat the rim of the drain with chalk or pencil lead, place the tile section gently over the drain.  When you lift it up, the exact pattern you need is marked on the reverse side of the tile. Then, just heat the tile and cut.

Stan Cunningham (MO)

If you've ever had a job where the customer wanted you to remedy a lightweight perimeter glue-down vinyl (such as Interflex) that has shrunk away from the wall, there is hope. You may be able to use your powerstretcher to stretch the vinyl back in place. Cover the teeth of the powerstretcher head with a ¼" piece of masonite secured with duct tape. Cover the bottom of the masonite with strips of double-faced tape. This allows the powerstretcher head to be secured to the vinyl so that it may be stretched.  However, before attempting to stretch the vinyl, you must apply heat.  Use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun or torch, because too much heat will ruin the vinyl. Heat will make the vinyl expand and stretch easier. Fasten the vinyl next to the wall as you normally would.  

Bob Gillespie (MO)

In small bathrooms, especially ones that require a lot of irregular cuts, normally we install the underlayment, prep it and then install the vinyl flooring.  To save time measuring, marking and dry-fitting the underlayment, cut the vinyl first.  Next, lay it on top of the underlayment, using the vinyl as the pattern.  

Marc Prentice (FL)

During the installation of a prefinished wood floor, use light bulbs that plug directly into the wall outlets when applying urethane adhesive. They illuminate the flooring to avoid leaving adhesive on the floor surface.  

Al Brown (MO)  (deceased)

As most vinyl composition tile setters are aware, they can use a 12” tile as a template when cutting border tiles in a square layout.  But, it is a whole different story on a diagonal layout.  It is necessary to make a square template out of sheet goods, hardboard or metal.  Cut it to the diagonal width of the tile being installed. Example: For a 12” x 12” tile, the measurement is approximately 17-inches.

Roy Davison (MO)

Check when estimating a vinyl installation job over an existing vinyl flooring.  New underlayment must be installed if:   

 1.  The existing flooring is a perimeter glue-down vinyl and must be taken up;   

 2.  The old vinyl is not solidly glued down;   

 3.  The underlayment joints show through the existing vinyl;  

 4.  The nail heads are visible through existing vinyl when looking toward a light source.   If the existing vinyl is in good shape and does not fall under any of the listed criteria, it is necessary to remove all wax and dirt. Then, instead of installing new underlayment, you can use embossing leveler.

All door jams must be undercut for a professional-looking job. Make sure there is base-shoe installed where it is needed. Check to see if the customer has floor protectors on their tables and chairs. To prevent damage to the vinyl, never move appliances or heavy furniture on the vinyl without at least ¼-inch underlayment or equivalent underneath them.

All vinyl flooring must be acclimated before installing. Even though some installers take shortcuts and get "lucky", there are NO exceptions when installing perimeter vinyl.  Shortcuts taken in acclimation with perimeter vinyl can result in wrinkling which will not come out.

Try this to prevent a “ridge line” from showing through a section of vinyl (especially a light-colored, high-gloss vinyl).  Fold back the vinyl and spread the adhesive.  After sufficient open time is allowed for the adhesive, walk and roll the sheet vinyl.  When rolling the vinyl be sure to stop approximately 6- inches short of the glue-line.  By doing this, you can fold back the other side farther than if you had rolled all the way to the glue line.  Most important is not to over-lap the adhesive at the glue line when spreading.  Overlapping is what causes the “ridge-line” in the vinyl.   When you have a long glue-line, such as a piece of 6-feet wide inlaid vinyl, LIGHTLY mist the adhesive at the glue-line with water.  This will extend the open time on your adhesive.