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.

First of all, remove all existing soft and/or floating floor coverings such as carpeting, felt and vinyl. Hard floor coverings that are not floating, such as tiles can stay in place, unless there are too many irregularities. We also recommend removing any laminate. Are you uncertain about what to do? Don’t hesitate to call your distributor. He will be able to give you professional advice.

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%. An eventual crawl space under the plank floor must be sufficient ventilated, and contact a professional installer. He will be able to give you more information.

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.

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.

Download underfloor heating instructions (pdf)

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
    • Make sure the subfloor is completely flat. 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. In case of Vinyl Flex Click and Alpha Vinyl, using the right underlay will help you overcome many problems. For Vinyl Flex Glue, an underlay is not applicable.

We’re almost ready for the next step now. As soon as you levelled the subfloor according to the type of vinyl, 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. On the installation instruction, you can find a lot of useful and necessary tips.

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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