Installing Vinyl Floors – A Do It Yourself Guide

It’s week 5 of the One Room Challenge! Yikes, did these last few weeks fly by! This week was all about installing vinyl floors. I have been wanting to replace the old carpeting in our home for a very long time, so when the day finally came to rip those out and get these beauties installed, I was beyond thrilled!

My husband is usually the one who installs flooring around here, but this time we did it together. I wanted to learn for myself how to install vinyl plank flooring and I was surprised to find that installing vinyl floors were much less complicated than I expected.

If I can do it, you definitely can too!

How to install wood plank vinyl floors easy diy project. This lifeproof flooring is a beautiful alternative to real hardwood floors and installing vinyl floors is easy enough that anyone can do it themselves!
What You Will Need:

Lifeproof Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring (We chose this finish)

Hammer

Rubber Mallet

Tapping Block

T Square/Straight Edge

Pencil

Tape Measure

Floor Cutter (highly recommended!)

Utility Knife

Jigsaw or Shears for irregular cuts (not pictured)

Spacers (not pictured)

Tools needed to install vinyl wood plank floors easy diy, how to install vinyl plank flooring.
Step 1 – Planning:

Most importantly, you will want to do your research and pick the right floors. A blogger friend recommended Lifeproof Luxury Plank Flooring  (previously referred to as Allure ISOCORE, they are currently undergoing a name change) to me. The first thing I asked about was installing the underlayment. I was shocked when she told me that these floors had the underlayment built right in, completely eliminating that whole step! Honestly, I thought it was too good to be true and I questioned the company on it, and they assured me that it is indeed true. That alone makes these floors stand out, saving you time, money and labor.

flooring with built in underlayment no need to install a sub floor, home depot vinyl flooring, lifeproof vinyl flooring
Step 2 – Preparing Sub Floor

By subfloor, I mean whatever was under your existing floors before. When we pulled up the carpets we found staples attached to the wood boards underneath. All of these must be removed prior to installing. It has to be a clean, smooth surface. This was the worst part of installing the new floors,  you can read about how to remove carpeting here.

Step 3 – Fix Squeaky Floors

This is the time to fix those annoying squeaky floorboards. When you find a squeaky spot, simply drill a drywall screw in the subfloor next to the nail in that area. It’s easy and it works!

Step 4 – Installing Vinyl Floors:

My husband really liked the finish on the Lifeproof Multi-Width Walton Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring so that is what we chose. (You can also check out my friend Tara’s choice of Lifeproof floors in the Seasoned Wood finish). I liked the varied wood tones of the wood and the different sized planks. When installing there are several patterns you can make with the multiplanks, so you will need to plan ahead before you begin so that you have an idea of your layout. None of the patterns are complicated to do.

We followed the easy directions from the back of the box, which recommends beginning in a corner and proceeding out from there. Each piece of flooring has a tongue and groove on two sides, this is important to pay attention to. You want the tongue facing the wall on the first row. Use the spacers between these first planks and the wall, the space will be covered by the molding later. We began ours in the closet and the alcove of the entry door.

Easy to Install DIY Flooring From Allure With underlayment included

Once we got past that section, it was really easy. The floors snap together with the tongue and grooves. Be sure to stagger the seams so they don’t line up. This sort of happens naturally. When you get to the last piece in a row you’ll have to cut the vinyl plank to fit. Use the leftover piece to begin the next row, in doing that the seams will naturally be staggered.

tongue and groove wood plank flooring diy install , installing vinyl plank flooring how-to

As you lay the planks in place, you use the tapping block and a hammer to make sure it’s flush with the neighboring plank. A hammer with a smaller head helps make this part a little easier.

DIY installing vinyl floors

When you are tapping it into place, be careful the entire floor doesn’t shift. We found that if one of us stood on the neighboring plank while the other one was tapping it would keep things in place. If you’re installing alone, positioning yourself on the new flooring rather than on the subfloor will keep it in place.

To cut down planks at the end of each row we used a floor cutter. My contractor told us about this and he let us borrow his for the install. It made cutting them so easy and they came out perfectly straight. We used a straight edge and a pencil to mark where the plank needed to be cut and then popped it into the floor cutter, which works just like a paper-cutter.

how to easily cut wood plank flooring

Be sure you are cutting the correct side of the planks so that they line up with the neighboring plank. We only cut one plank wrong this day (and it wasn’t me!) but we were able to reuse it elsewhere. To cut around floor vents we marked the plank with the straight edge and pencil and then we cut it out with a jigsaw. You could also use shears for this if you don’t have a jigsaw or a multi-max type tool.

How to cut around floor vents when installing vinyl floors

That’s really all there is to installing vinyl floors! We used nine boxes to cover this room which is approximately 12′ X 14′. It says right on the box that these are the easiest floors ever, and I would agree with that. You really don’t need any power tools to install these, and anyone can do it themselves.

How to install wood plank vinyl floors easy diy project

I absolutely love the variation of the wood tones on the Walton Oak, and the multi-width planks give it added interest. I feel that these floors really make the whole room. Without them, the rest of my design would have fallen flat. I would definitely use this flooring again in other rooms of my house. A huge thank you to the Home Depot for sponsoring the floors for my One Room Challenge bedroom makeover!

If you’ve missed the previous weeks of my bedroom makeover you can catch up below.

1 – Bedroom Makeover Before

2 – Bedroom Makeover Progress

3 –  Wall Art

4 –  Installing Layered Crown Molding

6- Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

Next week is the big reveal and I still have lots to do! Wish me luck. And send wine!

UPDATE:  You can see the finished bedroom makeover here and watch the video below!

Update: You can see the finished room by clicking above next to week 6, or see a quick video tour I shared on a Facebook Live below!

Installing Vinyl Floors - No underlayment and no power tools needed, easy DIY!

62 Comments

  1. The flooring looks great Roxanne! I love the rich color your chose. I can’t wait to see the finished room!

      1. If the floor is beneath a king size bed how do you manage expansion? If I need a quarter inch around the perimeter of the room, can the floor still expand without buckling beneath the weight of the bed? If so, can the floor continue into the bathroom and go underneath to toilet?
        If I’m installing in a kitchen, can it go beneath the refrigerator and stove?

        1. I installed almost the same, if you let it ACCLIMATE for 24 hrs before you install you will be fine, i did my entire kitchen in stony oak, it turned out gorgeous! Water proof, dog proof, mud comes right off! I moved out the stove, fridge, and dishwasher, i talled and pushed them bAck in without even a scratch! I love this flooring!!

          1. WHat do you dO about exterior doors? What do you put betWeen the flooring and door threshOld?

    1. Thank you Deborah, it really is!

    1. Thank you Carol, I’ll be looking out for yours as well!

  2. We are installing Allure vinyl floors in our basement too and I love the result! Once you get the hang of snapping the pieces in, it is definitely not too hard to do !

    1. Amanda, I’ll have to check out your basement to see which finish you chose! I loved them all!

  3. We LOVE our vinyl plank flooring – it is so durable! Yours looks great!

    1. Thanks Amanda, glad to hear they’re durable too!

  4. I installed floors like this last fall and I LOVE THEM!!! I am going to be using this same flooring when I redo my kitchen hopefully this fall. Seriously is the easiest floor to install and they wear so nice.

    1. Thanks Kati, I really love them too. I plan to use them in my living room next.

    2. What color did they use I love it

  5. Yay! Love the finish you chose! Easy right?

    1. Yes, shockingly easy!

  6. I love the floors you chose! The patina on them is beautiful. I will definitely be considering this type of flooring when we update our family room!

    1. Thanks Maureen, the finish on the floors really is beautiful!

  7. I love the color of the flooring. It looks amazing! I can’t wait to see how the bedroom turns out.

    1. Thanks Betsy, it really was easy!

  8. I’m so amazed how beautiful and real vinyl floors are looking these days! I’ve never installed my own, so it’s so good to know how easy they were to install. Thanks for the tips!

  9. These floors are beautiful, Roxanne, and you’re right – the process doesn’t seem as complicated as I would’ve expected!

  10. Can this flooring be installed over a vinyl flooring? I would rather not take up what is already there.

    1. Margaret, while I’m sure that is not the recommended way to do it, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Keep in mind any doors that open into the room, as adding it on top of your existing floors will raise them slightly.

  11. I’m not familiar with the term Vinyl flooring. Is this similar or the same as laminate flooring??

    1. Hi Carol, yes it is.

  12. RaniPaints says:

    I have carpeting and under that is concrete. Can I lay this in the concrete?

  13. The vinyl plank flooring is similar to laminate but is not the same. This brand of vinyl plank flooring is basically waterproof, stands up to daily use, cleans easily, and is reasonably priced. The subfloor you lay it on MUST be level and smooth. The planks must be acclimated to the room environment for at least 3 days before installation. We have had ours in the laundry, bathroom, mudroom, and kitchen for over 2 years, we have 4 dogs, a cat, and 5 adults in this house and the floors look like new.

  14. Thank you SO MUCH for your tip about standing on the preceding planks–my husband spent about half a day absolutely frustrated that the planks weren’t staying flush in place before I came across this. Love the Walton Oak; we almost got that finish ourselves (went with Trail Oak ultimately).

  15. Hi Roxanne, how are the floors holding up (scratches, etc.)? I’m in the process of choosing what type of flooring to install in my whole house (getting rid of yucky carpet!), and yours are gorgeous! If they are pretty scratch resistant, I’m going to go for it. I don’t expect perfection, but I’d like to know that I can scoot under the table in my dining room without leaving marks every time. I hope yours are wearing well!

    Thanks!

    Vicky

  16. really like the flooring motifs, its beautifull also i think flooring make the room looking more comfortble. thanks for sharing

  17. Donna Gonzalez says:

    Are these planks rigid or are they the flexible vinyl planks? They look great!

  18. I have read that positioning heavy pieces of furniture on plank vinyl leaves indentation marks if the furniture is moved. Can you comment on this please?

  19. Thanks for tips. I will try your tips on my home flooring. Yes, graphic tiles are one of the hottest trends. A few days ago I redesigned my house and it looks awesome with the metallic floor application.

  20. Hi Roxanne !

    We chose Walton Oak for our kitchen remodel after seeing your blog. We have a mix of hardwood floors and a few carpeted rooms ( hardwood was damaged in these rooms) in our 1945 Cape. We are now faced with refinishing the hardwood and recarpeting or putting the Walton Oak throughout the rest of the house. Refinishing the wood floors is so much work, all the furniture and us have to leave for two days, but I am having a hard time committing to all vinyl in a New England Cape. Any words of wisdom ? Thanks for your inspiration !

    1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for your question! If I already had hardwood floors, I would have them refinished! It would be shame to remove them! However, if they are damaged and need to be covered then I would remove them and go with the vinyl. Keeping the flooring consistent in rooms that open up to one another is ideal. I hope that helps!

  21. Hi Roxanne,

    We are working on finishing our basement. Love the thought of the low maintenance of these floors! I know they already have a built in underlay, but what are your thoughts on putting them on concrete? I can send a pic of the area if that helpful.

    Alicia ????

    1. Hi Alicia, I would think with the built in underlayment that the answer would be yes, but you could always contact the manufacturer first to be sure!

  22. First, I’d like to say the flooring looks amazing! But I have a question. Is there any waiting time after install before you could furnish the room? We are getting new flooring installed this weekend through out the upstairs and could only empty two rooms at a time and need to know if I could start moving the furniture back in as soon as the are done installing one room.

    1. Thanks Sandra! There is no wait time at all with these floors, you can walk on them immediately!

  23. Hello!
    You have done a wonderful job! I’m looking at the LifeProof Trail Oak vinyl as my house recently flooded… How have your floors held up? We have kids and pets.
    Any advice or comment back would really be appreciated!!

    1. They help up wonderful in my daughter’s room, we recently just installed them downstairs as well. I did add new chair pads to the legs of my kitchen chairs to protect them from scratching. Having them downstairs will be a real test of their durability. So far, so good!

  24. Hi! I have been eyeing up the Walton Oak flooring for months! Could you tell me which pattern you selected for laying it in your room? I love the way your pattern lays and would like to replicate it for my own.
    Thanks!

  25. Thanks so much for sharing! Do you have a favorite type of flooring? I can’t decide between vinyl and engineered hardwood. Thanks!

    1. I’m really happy with these particular floors. We liked them so much we installed them downstairs in our house as well!

  26. One of the great things about vinyl sheet flooring is that it can be installed anywhere. Vinyl sheet and tiles, in most cases, can be installed over the existing floor. This will save you money on installation fees that can add up. Any repairs to level a sub-floor and the cost of tearing out your existing floor would no longer come into play.

  27. Stephanie says:

    If you have crown molding, is the quarter round necessary? We were hoping to just slide it under the crown molding but I’m not sure it is enough gap.

  28. Hi! How has the vinyl held up downstairs?

    Thanks!

  29. Love the floor – we are doing ours in Trail Oak, but have run into a small problem as we want continuity down the hallway. The problem is that the planks are 8.7″ wide we our hallway isn’t a multiple of that. I noticed in your pictures that some of the planks looked narrower that the others (length we can deal with). Did you locate some that are narrower than other or did you have to cut each one length-ways?

    1. Hi Lori, we did have to cut a few length-ways to make them fit! Good luck with your floors!

  30. I am interested in learning how you made the lengthwise cuts to the planks! Jug saw, skill saw?

    1. Hi Marianne, my husband used a jigsaw for the long cuts. I hope that helps!

  31. Should i install a dricore subfloor first,as its on concrete?

  32. I love the color your hubby liked thays exactly the color in my house. He has good taste!

  33. Hope Carson says:

    My subfloor appears to be concrete. Do I need another material on top of the concrete?

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