How to prepare the subfloor for your vinyl floor

The first thing to do when installing a vinyl floor is to thoroughly inspect the existing floor. Any bumps or irregularities in the subfloor will cause problems later on in the process. We therefore recommend taking plenty of time for a thorough preparation.

The right subfloor

The type of subfloor, its quality and its preparation has a big influence on the final installation result. If the subfloor is not appropriate for the installation of Quick-Step Vinyl then necessary actions should be taken. Be aware that unevenness in the subfloor may leave marks and can create gaps in your Quick-Step Vinyl floor. The subfloor should be stable and firmly fixed. Furthermore it cannot be soft, damaged or loose laid/floating.

Wooden floors

Do you have a wooden floor? Check for any traces of mould or insect infestations and make sure that the moisture content of the wood does not exceed 10%. If there is a crawl space underneath your wooden subfloor, contact a professional installer. He will be able to give you more information.

Consider the moisture content of your subfloor

The ideal moisture content for a subfloor must be less then 2.5% CM if the subfloor is cement screed, and 0.5% CM if it is an anhydrite subfloor. If you have underfloor heating, these values should be reduced. Use a moisture meter and keep track of the moisture content.

Combination with underfloor heating

Underfloor heating incorporated into the subfloor will not create any problems as long as the contact temperature does not exceed 27°C. Remember to switch off your underfloor heating 24 hours before and after installing your flooring if the floor- and roomtemperature is above 18°C. A Quick-Step Vinyl floor has a limited application with heating films and alternatives. For a good preparation, also read the separate installation instructions for floor heating.

Download underfloor heating instructions (pdf)

Preparation of the subfloor 

It is absolutely essential that the subfloor is completely level. The preparation of the subfloor depends on what type of vinyl you are installing.

  • Vinyl Flex Glue
    • Make sure the subfloor is completely flat.
    • Any unevenness of more than 0.2 mm over a length of 20 cm must be levelled out.
    • The same applies to unevennesses of more than 3 mm over a length of 2 m.
    • Use an appropriate levelling compound and check if a primer or sealer is needed. 
  • Vinyl Flex Click
    • Cement joints between tiles or other gaps of more than 1 mm (0,04inch) in depth and 4 mm (0,16inch) in width should be levelled.
    • Any unevenness of more than 0,5mm (0,02inch) over a length of 20cm (7,87inch) must be levelled out.
    • The same applies to unevenness of more than 3mm (0,12inch) over a length of 2m (78,7inch).
    • Bumps should be removed by sanding or scraping.
    • An appropriate levelling compound is required and check if a primer or sealer is needed.
    • In some cases, the use of an underlay can avoid extra levelling of the subfloor.
  • Alpha Vinyl
    • Cement  joints  between  tiles  or  other  gaps  of  more  than  2mm  (0,08inch)  in  depth  and  5mm  (0,2inch)  in  width  should  be  levelled. 
    • Any unevenness of more than 1mm (0,04inch) over a length of 20cm (7,87inch) must be levelled out.
    • The same applies to unevenness of more than 4mm (0,16inch)  over a length of 2m (78,7inch).
    • Bumps should be removed by sanding or scraping.
    • If an appropriate levelling compound is required, check if a primer or sealer is needed.
    • In most cases, the use of an underlay may help for levelling of the subfloor.

Use a levelling compound to smooth out any minor irregularities. Using the right underlay will help you overcome many problems.

We’re almost ready for the next step now. As soon as the subfloor is completely level, make sure that it’s also perfectly dry and clean. Remove all traces of grease, chemical residue and glue. Make sure that there are no stray nails left anywhere and sweep and vacuum the floor. We recommend removing your old skirting boards. As soon as the new vinyl floor is in place, you can install new skirtings

To summarise: before you start, make sure that your subfloor is level, smooth, clean and dry. This is the foundation for a good result.

Learn more:

Watch the video

Please note: the information given on this page solely applies to Quick-Step flexible vinyl floors. For details about the installation of Alpha Vinyl, please check the vinyl installation instructions. 


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  • Before you start laying your vinyl floor
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