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The 7 Most Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

Written by
Paul Galushkin
Published on
October 31, 2023

The 7 Most Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

Are you considering installing vinyl plank flooring in your home? Before you dive into the project, it's crucial to understand the common mistakes people make during the installation process. From improper subfloor preparation and inadequate acclimation time to poor plank alignment and incorrect cutting techniques, the smallest error can lead to a significant installation mishap. We want to help you identify these mistakes to keep your process smooth.

So, what can you do to prevent these costly mistakes and ensure a flawless flooring installation? Keep reading to discover essential tips and tricks to help you avoid the pitfalls and achieve stunning vinyl plank floors that stand the test of time.

What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Types of vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice among homeowners due to its durability, affordability, and aesthetic appeal. It's a synthetic vinyl flooring material made primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins mixed with additives like plasticizers for flexibility, stabilizers for durability, and pigments for color.

These components are heated, pressed, and formed into planks that mimic the look of natural wood or stone. The planks are usually constructed in layers, with a protective top layer (wear layer), a printed design layer, a vinyl core, and sometimes a backing layer for added stability.

The top layer is designed to resist scratches, stains, and wear, making the vinyl flooring a robust and low-maintenance option. It functions as a versatile flooring solution that can be installed in virtually any room, even those with high moisture levels, such as bathrooms and basements.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring is a premium tier of vinyl flooring that offers superior qualities compared to standard vinyl plank flooring. LVP not only replicates the texture of natural wood or stone more accurately, but it also has a thicker wear layer and often includes an additional layer of padding for extra comfort and sound reduction.

The composition of LVP flooring further sets it apart. It usually features an enhanced wear layer, often infused with ceramic bead, silica, or diamond particles to increase resistance to scratches and dents. This makes it incredibly durable, capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic and impacts while maintaining its aesthetic integrity.

While the terms Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring (LVT) are sometimes used interchangeably, it's essential to understand that they are not the same. As the names suggest, the primary difference lies in their form factor. While they are both luxury vinyl flooring, luxury vinyl planks are designed to mimic hardwood planks, while luxury vinyl tiles are crafted to resemble stone or a ceramic tile. Each offers a distinct look and feel, allowing homeowners to choose based on their specific design preferences and needs for a luxury vinyl floor.

Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Flooring

Poorly installed flooring

We have made a list of the top seven mistakes homeowners or installers are making when they install vinyl plank flooring.

Improper Subfloor Preparation

One of the most common mistakes is not adequately preparing the subfloor before laying the vinyl planks. The subfloor should be clean, level, and flat surface. If the subfloor is uneven or has debris, it can cause the vinyl planks to lay unevenly or create bumps and gaps in the flooring.

Insufficient Acclimation Time

Vinyl planks need to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room they will be installed in. Failing to give the planks enough time to acclimate can lead to expansion or contraction after installation, causing gaps or buckling.

Incorrect Cutting Techniques

Cutting vinyl planks requires precision. If cuts are not straight or if the wrong tools are used, it can lead to uneven edges, poor fitting, and ultimately a subpar appearance.

Poor Plank Alignment

Planks should be aligned properly during installation. Poor alignment can create an unprofessional look and can even affect the stability of the floor.

Not Leaving an Expansion Gap

Vinyl planks expand and contract with changes in temperature. If an expansion gap is not left around the perimeter of the room, it can lead to buckling or warping of the planks.

Not Checking for Damaged Planks

Before installation, each plank should be checked for damage. Installing damaged planks can affect the overall look of the floor and its durability in the long run.

Incorrect Adhesive Application

If the wrong adhesive is used or if it’s not applied correctly, the planks may not stick properly. This can lead to loose or shifting planks, compromising the stability and look of the floor.

Can You Fix Already Made Mistakes?

Men installing flooring

Yes, most of the common mistakes made during the installation of vinyl plank flooring can be fixed, although some may require more effort than others.

Fixing Improper Subfloor Preparation

If you've already installed your vinyl plank flooring over an improperly prepared subfloor, you may need to take up the planks, prepare the subfloor properly, and reinstall the flooring. This includes cleaning, leveling, and smoothing the subfloor before installation.

Addressing Insufficient Acclimation Time

If your vinyl planks have buckled or gapped due to insufficient acclimation time, you may need to remove the affected planks, allow the remaining planks to acclimate properly, and then reinstall new planks.

Correcting Incorrect Cutting Techniques

Uneven or poorly fit cuts can usually be replaced with new, properly cut planks. However, this involves removing and re-measuring the affected planks, and it may require purchasing additional flooring material.

Adjusting Poor Plank Alignment

If your vinyl planks are poorly aligned, you may need to take up the flooring and reinstall it properly. Using a chalk line or laser level can help ensure proper alignment.

Adding an Expansion Gap

If you didn't leave an expansion gap and your vinyl planks have buckled or warped, you will likely need to remove the affected planks, trim them to allow for the necessary expansion gap, and then re-install them.

Replacing Damaged Planks

Damaged planks can usually be removed and replaced with new ones. It's essential to check each plank for damage before installation to avoid this issue.

Addressing Incorrect Adhesive Application

If planks are loose or shifting due to incorrect adhesive application, you may need to lift the affected planks, clean the subfloor, apply the correct adhesive, and then reinstall the planks. It's crucial to follow the flooring manufacturer 's instructions when applying adhesive to ensure optimal results.

Remember, the best way to fix these common mistakes is to avoid them in the first place. Proper preparation, careful installation, and following all manufacturer's instructions can help ensure a beautiful and durable vinyl plank floor.

Different Methods to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Properly

Properly installed flooring

Here are three different installation methods to ensure that your vinyl plank flooring is installed properly.

Floating Floor Method

One of the most popular and straightforward methods of installing vinyl plank flooring is the floating floor method. In this method, the vinyl planks are not glued down or nailed to the subfloor. Instead, they are installed over the subfloor, and each plank is connected to the others through a locking mechanism. This method allows for easy removal and replacement of planks, making it a great option for those who like to change or update their flooring frequently.

Glue-Down Method

Another method of installing vinyl plank flooring is the glue-down method. This involves applying adhesive to the subfloor and then placing the vinyl planks on top. The glue-down method is ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic, as it offers a higher level of stability and durability. However, this method requires a smooth and clean subfloor, and removing the planks can be challenging.

Peel-and-Stick Method

The peel-and-stick method is another simple installation method for vinyl plank flooring. In this method, the vinyl planks come with pre-applied adhesive on the backside. The installer simply peels off the protective layer and sticks the plank to the subfloor. This method is relatively easy and quick, but the durability and lifespan of the floor can be less compared to the other methods.

Floor Care Installation

Men installing flooring properly

Floor Care Installation is deeply committed to ensuring quality workmanship when installing vinyl plank flooring. Our vinyl installation team, hardwood installation/refinish team, and our carpet installation team are trained to avoid common mistakes like improper subfloor preparation, incorrect cutting techniques, and poor alignment, ensuring perfect installation right from the outset. We prioritize customer satisfaction and make sure to fulfill all specific requirements, from the choice of installation method to the type of adhesive applied.

Our teams take the time to acclimate the vinyl planks to the room where they are to be installed, preventing potential expansion or contraction issues later on. We also meticulously examine each plank for any damage before installation, thereby guaranteeing an optimal end result in both appearance and durability. We will take care of you from ordering the right amount of flooring boxes to make sure you do not have any extra un-needed extra flooring to a finished floor that you will love.

In case of any post-installation issues, we offer comprehensive solutions to fix any problems, ensuring our customers have a beautiful and long-lasting vinyl plank floor. By incorporating industry best practices and strict adherence to manufacturer's instructions, Floor Care Installation delivers a seamless, high-quality vinyl plank flooring installation service that stands the test of time.

People Also Ask

Why is my vinyl plank flooring not laying flat during installation?

Vinyl plank flooring might not lay flat during installation due to a variety of reasons. These could include an uneven subfloor, improper acclimation of the planks to the room's temperature and humidity, or even the lack of an expansion gap around the room's perimeter. Incorrect adhesive application could also cause this issue. To ensure a flat and even installation, it is vital to thoroughly prepare the subfloor, allow sufficient acclimation time, and follow the manufacturer's instructions meticulously.

Can you put heavy furniture on vinyl plank flooring?

Yes,  you can put heavy furniture on vinyl plank flooring. Placing furniture pads under the legs of heavy items and using a dolly or furniture sliders when moving them can help protect your vinyl plank floor from scratches and dents.

Properly installed flooring


In conclusion, installing vinyl plank flooring requires a careful approach to ensure longevity and a stunning finish. Understanding common mistakes and the different installation methods can significantly influence the outcome. Always remember to prepare the subfloor correctly, align the planks, add an expansion gap, and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions when applying adhesive.

Whether you are opting for the floating floor method, glue-down method, or peel-and-stick method, each has its unique advantages to consider. By entrusting your installation to Floor Care Installation, you can expect meticulousness, quality workmanship, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. With the right care and maintenance, your vinyl plank flooring will remain beautiful, durable, and serve you well into the future.

Feel free to reach out to us via email: floorcareinstall@gmail.com phone: (916) 802-5454 or through our contact us page. Our floor care installation team would love to answere any questions you may have.

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