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How to install a vinyl floor over concrete

Updated July 18, 2017

Installing vinyl flooring is one of the easiest jobs for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Putting it over a concrete floor is the simplest way to install vinyl -- in most cases, you need only sweep and vacuum the concrete. Concrete is a smooth, stable surface so the vinyl will go down smoothly and easily. You can transform that hard, cold concrete basement floor into a warmer surface that's also easier on your feet. Vinyl has a little "give" when you step on it; concrete does not.

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  1. Measure the floor. Draw a diagram of the room and indicate the measurements on the diagram. Bring this with you when you shop for vinyl to ensure you buy the proper amount.

  2. Remove the floor trim moulding from the base of the walls. Use a pry bar to slowly lift the trim away from the wall. Protect the wall from the pry bar with an old rag or piece of scrap wood.

  3. Repair any cracks or holes in the concrete. Use a concrete patching mix and fill all holes and cracks. Use the flat edge of a trowel to scrape across the concrete patch so that it is level with the surrounding concrete floor. Use a grinder to grind down and lower any high spots.

  4. Make a pattern for the vinyl. Using the measurements you took in Step 1, draw a scale drawing on the floor vinyl. Then, draw a second line 7.5 cm (3 inches) outside that line. The final pattern drawn on the vinyl will be 7.5 cm (3 inches) larger on all sides than the dimensions of your room.

  5. Cut out the vinyl. Do this on a clean garage floor or another location where you are not installing the vinyl floor. Use a hooked linoleum knife and place a scrap piece of plywood under the vinyl when you are cutting it.

  6. Sweep and vacuum the concrete where the vinyl will be installed. Sweep twice and then vacuum to remove all particles of grit on the concrete. The cleaner the concrete floor, the easier it is to install the vinyl.

  7. Fit the vinyl and trim the edges. Put the vinyl in place, letting the edges curl up at the walls. Unroll, and let the excess 7.5 cm (3 inches) of vinyl "climb" the walls. To trim around outside corners or other protruding objects, slice the vinyl at the corner point, slicing inward from the edge of the vinyl. To trim inside corners, start at the edge of the vinyl and make V-shaped cuts at the corner point, one underneath the other, until you reach floor level. Once you have the corners fitted, lay a piece of 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) timber along the wall and trim the vinyl flush with the wall.

  8. Apply adhesive and install the vinyl. Place the vinyl floor in position, and fold back half of it. Apply vinyl adhesive to the concrete using a notched trowel. Cover the concrete completely with adhesive, and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Let the adhesive cure for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Roll the vinyl back onto the prepared adhesive bed, carefully positioning it.

  9. Repeat Step 8 for the other half of the room.

  10. Roll out the vinyl. Use a flooring roller and roll over every centimetre of the vinyl floor. This will set the bond between the vinyl floor and the adhesive.

  11. Replace floor trim moulding.

  12. Remove any adhesive residue on the vinyl using a damp cloth. Do not wash the floor for at least 3 days, or for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Excessive moisture can cause the adhesive bond to fail.

  13. Let the adhesive cure for 24 hours without any foot traffic.

  14. Tip

    Protect new vinyl flooring with scrap plywood when moving large furniture or appliances. Rental centres and home improvement centres rent flooring rollers.


    Provide adequate ventilation when using adhesives.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Concrete patching mix (if necessary)
  • Trowel
  • Grinder
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Linoleum knife
  • Flooring roller
  • Vinyl flooring adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) timber scrap

About the Author

Tom Nari has been writing professionally since 1998 and has written extensively for a variety of websites. He has coached competitive swimmers and triathletes and holds an additional degree in Kinesiology Theory, specializing in nutrition and resistance training. Nari holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from Loyola Marymount University.

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