Replacing Vinyl floors

Old 12-27-06, 10:12 AM
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Replacing Vinyl floors

I am a total newbie at flooring. I have vinyl flooring in both batrooms and the kitchen that badly needs to be replaced. I think there may be a new subfloor in the kitchen and possibly in one bathroom under the vinyl. I have lots of questions but I think I probably needs to know if I need to remove the old vinyl before I put down a new floor. I am considering using one of the nicer vinyl tile products as a replacement. How do I determine if I need to remove the old vinyl and put down a new subfloor?
Old 12-27-06, 09:15 PM
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Hello, I'm not a newbbie to flooring so here goes. Whether or not the old vinyl needs to come up depends on it's condition. If the old vinyl is well adhered to the floor, in most instances you can install over it. If it is loose and easily removed, it needs to come up. If it is badly damaged, it may be best to remove it, depending on the extent of the damage. You say the flooring badly needs to be replaced. Why? Is it just dated, ugly, or dull from years of use or is it damaged? If it needs to be replaced over taste or dingy appearance issues but is still stuck down good and not all ripped up, you can go over it. Even if it's damaged, if it's well adhered, a certain amount of damage can be dealt with and new flooring applied. For instance, it's common to see seams coming apart in old vinyl that weren't sealed properly. As long as the bulk of the old material is still adhered, the loose material along the seam can be cut out, the exposed subfloor cleaned, and floor patch applied to fill the resulting void. The same applies to small tears, bubbles, or holes. Oft times, the vinyl will be well adhered everywhere except under appliances. These areas can be cut back to well adhered material, the exposed subfloor cleaned, and floor patch used to feather the edge of the old vinyl so a noticeable ridge is not seen through the new flooring. It isn't really necessary to try to bring the whole area up level with the rest of the floor since this area is under an appliance and won't be visible. You'll need to remove all base board or be prepared to trim out the floor with quarter round or something when the job is finished. When the base is removed, you'll probably find the old vinyl is loose a few inches out into the room. Cut any loose material out, clean, and patch. If you don't remove the base and the vinyl goes up under it and shows no signs of curling up or damage, in most cases it's best to leave it be. Assuming the old floor is well adhered, and all the preliminary work is done, you'll need to level out the embossing in the old material. The embossing is the indentations that make up the pattern in the floor and they need to be filled in so the pattern doesn't telegraph through to the new floor. There are embossing levelers made for this purpose. These embossing levelers are made to be spread very thin so they don't make good floor patch. Consequently, any needed patching must be first done with a good floor patch and then embossing leveler applied over the patches. The patch material must be very flat and smooth before the embossing leveler is applied. Before leveling the embossing, make very certain there are no old waxes or contaminants on the floor and it is squeaky clean. Once the embossing leveler is dry, scrape any lumps, bumps, or ridges flat with the flat side of your trowel so the floor is smooth and flat, sweep it very thoroughly with a fox tail broom, examining every inch for any flaws you may have missed. When you're satisfied the floor is completely clean and flawlessly prepped, you're ready for whatever flooring you've decided on. If the old vinyl is going to be installed over, a new subfloor shouldn't be necessary. If the old flooring must be removed, the condition of the subfloor or what it is made of will determine the need for any new subfloor material. Then again, you could just put down one of the no-glue vinyls on the market and eliminate the need for the vast majority of any of this stuff.

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