Click Vinyl flooring, luxury vinyl tile or even LVT for short, are all the same product. They are currently the fastest growing floor covering in the world. It is a great choice for anyone who wants a practical floor that is easy to install and highly resistant to moisture. Before beginning to learn how to lay LVT flooring check out our list of essential items:
You will Need
- A Tape Measure
- Spirit Level
- Saw or Stanley Knife
- 7-10mm Spacers
- LVT Underlay
- Rubber mallet
Site Preparation Before Laying LVT
One of the most important stages of any click vinyl flooring installation is site prep.
Remove all furniture from the room and then brush and vacuum the sub-floor.
For LVT a key factor in site preparation is checking the level of the sub-floor. Take time to look for any unevenness in the surface. This could be nails, lumps of concrete or generally anything that would obstruct the LVT from being laid perfectly flat. Also, test for dips or humps in the sub-floor using a long straight edge such as a spirit level. Place it in multiple areas of the room and get down low to look for any potential dips or humps. Anything over 2mm in a 1 metre run should be leveled out using a suitable floor leveling compound.
If you are laying onto a new concrete sub-floor, check that it is fully dried which can take 2-4 months
Acclimatise Your LVT
Crucial to any LVT flooring install is acclimatisation. To do this, leave the closed boxes of flooring in the room of installation for 48hrs prior to laying. The temperature should be maintained between 18-28Deg to avoid excessive bowing. Ensure that the heating conditions are normal for the room so that the boards will be able to react to the living environment before they are installed. This will reduce excessive movement after installation which can cause problems after. LVT flooring can be laid onto underfloor floor heating, provided the temperature does not exceed 29degC.
It is important to only use an LVT underlay. Other types of flooring underlay can often not provide the correct support for the click joints of a luxury vinyl tile. Most LVT underlay is a high-density 1mm-1.5mm thick foam with a moisture barrier. It is also possible to use self-adhesive vinyl tile underlay, which is excellent for all LVT flooring due to its strong construction and anti-slip nature, often making installations easier and stronger.
Roll out the underlay at a right angle to the direction the floor is being installed. The moisture barrier (if included) should be on the underside. If the moisture barrier has an overlap this should run underneath the next row of underlay.
Which Direction to Lay LVT
Lay the LVT flooring directly on top of the underlay starting against a straight wall using 7-10mm spacers to maintain an even gap between the LVT board and the wall. Do not lay the flooring in any single direction for more than 7m. This often means breaking up rooms using threshold strips, which are used to hide expansion gaps. Threshold strips should also be used at all door openings enabling expansion gaps to be used.
This 7-10mmLVT expansion gap should be maintained throughout the whole installation ensuring that the edges of the floor do not touch anything, including radiators, door frames etc. Threshold bars, beading, and skirting boards will hide most click vinyl expansion gaps.
Click Systems on Luxury Vinyl Flooring
There are different click systems with click vinyl tiles, but the 2 most common are "tap down" click (sometimes called a "fold down") and a more traditional "angle click". Some boards will use a fold click along the shortest edge of the board and an angle click along the longest. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for which click type you have as this will affect the order that the boards are installed in.
Installing a traditional angle click
Install the entire length of the first row, before connecting the next row. Start with a 1/2 board. Cut a board by scoring with a Stanley knife on the surface and then snapping it off. Use a set square to ensure a straight cut. The female parts of the click system should be facing away from the wall. The end joints must be installed first. With the female click in place on the ground, insert the male click system. Start at a 45deg angle and gently push flat. Continue until the entire row is installed and ensure the joints are flush. You may need to cut the last board.
Start the second row with a full board which will ensure that the joints are staggered. Click all the plank ends of the second row together in the same way, keeping this row close to the first row. Ensure the male end is pointing towards the female end of the first row. Once all the short ends are joined, gently angle the entire second row into the first row and press into place. Continue across the room until the entire floor is covered.
Naturally, some boards will require cutting. Mark the cutting line of each board on the reverse side and cut 7-10mm back from the wall or object you are fitting against. This will ensure that the correct expansion gap is maintained. Just use your knife to cut the boards as required.
Installing A Fold Down Click Vinyl
Start with a 1/2 board. The female parts of the click system should be facing away from the wall. Start installing the first row by installing the end joints first and setting the next board in place. Tap it down with a rubber mallet ensuring that each joint is flush on the surface and at the edge. Work along the wall maintaining the 7-10mm expansion joint.
Start the second row with a full board to ensure the joints are staggered (if preferred). You may wish to line up the joints on some fold-down systems such as tiles. Install each board individually to the first row by laying it in place and tapping it down with a rubber mallet. Again, it is important to ensure that each joint is flush. Continue across the room, maintaining the correct expansion until the installation is complete.
Now that you know how to lay click lvt flooring, don't forget to check out our guide to cleaning and maintaining LVT flooring.