Laying Vinyl or Linoleum Flooring

Laying vinyl flooring

Laying sheet Vinyl or linoleum is often the easiest way to refresh the look of a kitchen or bathroom. It is much easier than laying vinyl tiles, and unless the room is very large, it can normally be laid in a single piece for a better-looking finish. Vinyl or linoleum is perfect for rooms where the flooring needs to be easily cleaned and resistant to water.

If you want to lay sheet vinyl in a small room such as a bathroom, the easiest method is to make a paper template which you can transfer on to the sheet of vinyl. Using this method means that any mistakes you might make should be on the paper template rather than on the vinyl. Scroll down to see this method explained.

Laying Vinyl Flooring

The room should have been measured and the sheet of vinyl should have been cut to slightly larger than the room size. Unroll the vinyl sheet and let it flatten out slightly. Place the sheet with its longest edge parallel to the longest clear wall in the room, keeping it about 20mm away from the skirting.

The skirting may not be straight, so it is a good idea to make a simple scribing gauge. Take a small offcut of wood and hammer a nail into it about 30mm from the end, until the point is just sticking out of the bottom.

With the end of the wood held against the skirting, and the nail point just pushing in to the sheet of vinyl, move the wood to inscribe a cutting line.

Cut along this marked line using sharp scissors or sharp knife, and then push the vinyl sheet up against the skirting. With the longest edge against the longest wall, you now need to flatten out the rest of the sheet to the floor as much as possible.

The sheet will extend up the skirting a short way if it was cut correctly. To help get it laid flat, cut a triangle out of each corner, making sure you only cut into the excess material. This will allow the material in the corners to fold up better.

Carefully press the vinyl into the angle between the skirting and floor with a flat edge (something like a bolster chisel) to make a sharp crease. Hold a metal ruler or straight-edge tightly against the crease, and using a sharp knife, cut along the outside edge at a slight angle.

For external corners, make a straight cut from the edge of the vinyl down to the floor level and carefully cut away the excess vinyl.

When the edges of the vinyl sheet has been cut all the way around the edge, use the bolster chisel to press the edge down into the angle between floor and skirting. When you are happy with how the vinyl is laying, lift the edge all the way around the room and stick it down using double-sided adhesive tape, or adhesive spray.

Laying Vinyl Flooring Using a Template

To make a template you will need a large sheet of paper such as a sheet of paper underlay. This can be bought cheaply from most DIY stores. You will also need drawing pins or weights, a sharp knife, a pencil and a small block of wood (40mm wide).

It is a good idea to leave the roll of vinyl in the room where it will be laid, for at least 24 hours. This allows the vinyl to come to room temperature and will help to avoid shrinkage or expansion after fitting.

Preparing the Template

Roughly measure the room and make sure your piece of paper is large enough. If not, stick two sheets together with strong tape or staples. You want the paper to be slightly larger than the size of the room, so try to leave at least 100mm all the way around.

Place the paper on the floor of the room and fold the overlapping edges underneath as neatly as you can. When the paper is roughly in place, pin it to the floor around its edge with drawing pins. If your room has a solid floor, use weights instead, but make sure it is very secure.

If you need to cut the paper to fit around obstacles (wash basin or toilet for example) cut carefully from the edge of the paper in towards the obstacle. At this point the sheet of paper doesn’t have to fit the room perfectly, but try to take your time and get it as close to the walls as you can.

Marking and Cutting the Template

Cut yourself a block of wood 40mm wide and hold it against the wall at floor level. Holding a pencil against the opposite edge of the block of wood, and keeping the block held against the wall, move it all the way around the room to mark a 40mm margin on the paper.

Doing all this might seem a bit long-winded just to make a paper template, but doing it like this will result in a very accurate final result and will certainly help to overcome any inconsistencies in the walls or skirting boards. Use this method to trace around obstacles as well as the walls.

Marking and Cutting the Vinyl

Lay your sheet of vinyl out on the floor, right side up, in a larger room. If the vinyl has been rolled for a while, let it flatten out a bit before starting to mark out the shape of the room on it. This is not essential but will help to make the job easier.

Lay your template on top of the vinyl and stick it down flat using masking tape around the edges. Be careful not to use tape which will mark the vinyl or leave too much glue when it is removed.

Place one edge of the same 40mm block of wood on the pencil line running around the outside of the template and, holding a pencil against the opposite side, move it along the pencil line so that you make a cutting mark on the vinyl sheet.

Once you have transferred the shape of the template onto the vinyl, you can start to cut along the line. Use a very sharp knife and take your time, you don’t want to make a mistake now after all your careful marking out.

Make sure you protect the floor underneath as you cut. You can use a sheet of hardboard or a similar material for this.

Take your time when cutting out the shapes you made for obstacles and pipes in the room. This is where you will most likely make a mistake if you are going to make one. When cutting out circles for pipes, mark around a slightly larger coin or offcut of pipe. Once you have cut the circle, cut a slit to the nearest edge to allow you to fit the vinyl around the pipe.

Once you have finished, you should have a perfectly sized piece of vinyl to lay in your room.

Laying the Sheet Vinyl

Make sure the floor is completely clear and well swept. If there are any small stones or grit under the vinyl when you lay it, they may damage it as the room is used. Lay the vinyl down on the floor and make sure it is positioned correctly.

Some types of vinyl do not need to be glued, but most will require some sort of adhesive. You should glue down the vinyl immediately as, even left overnight, it can shrink slightly. Use whichever adhesive is recommended for the type of vinyl you have used. Most vinyl needs to be glued all over, but cushioned vinyl can be glued just around the edges.

If the vinyl overlaps in any areas, use a sharp knife to carefully trim it to size. If your edges are not very neat, you can fix a small batten all the way around the room, at the bottom of the skirting board.