Sheet Vinyl Flooring - Making a Template

modern kitchen condo apartment
  • 2-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-1,000

A template or pattern is essential for accurately cutting-in your new vinyl flooring. Craft paper, butcher's paper, or the paper that comes in the do-it-yourself installation kits work wonderfully. The template will enable you to transfer accurate measurements to your vinyl flooring without making unnecessary or awkward cuts during the installation process.

The Most Common Mistake...

Is neglecting to make or properly use a template when working with sheet vinyl.

A useful hack for keeping the pattern from shifting while you work is to cut little triangles in various areas of the paper. You can then tape it to the floor with masking tape pressed over the cutouts. Tape overlapping paper edges together, keeping the pattern smooth and flat as you progress. For working with a floor large enough (over 12') to require two pieces of flooring, there are special seam-fitting, pattern-matching, and seam-sealing steps. Usually, flooring comes in 12' widths. It is best to lay out the flooring so the seam will fall in a low-traffic area if at all possible.

Odd-Shaped Cutouts

Many floors have irregular, odd-shaped, or just plain hard-to-fit objects like molding, pipes, commodes, fancy baseboard joints, and the like. Use smaller pieces of paper when trying to pattern an irregular section of the floor, adding them on to the main template with tape.

If at all possible, when flooring a bathroom, remove the toilet. This makes it easier to conceal the cut under the fixture, making the job look more professional. First, shut off the water supply valve, then remove the drain tank and supply line. Unbolt the toilet and lift it from the drain pipe. After you install the new floor, you will need to remove the old wax seal under the toilet, install a new wax seal, and reseat the toilet.

Pipe Cut-Outs

Marking around pipes and fixtures takes a bit more care. Mark the center of the objects by butting your paper template up to the object and marking the center edge. With scissors, cut a slit in your template from the center edge to the wall Now crease the paper template along both sides and cut out the opening. Always check and make any necessary corrections to be certain the opening is an exact fit.

If you are unable to remove your door-way molding, slip the template underneath it and cut it to fit the jamb.

If the wall molding cannot be removed for whatever reason, you will need to match the edge line made by the molding very precisely. Do this by pressing pieces of paper into the crease where the molding meets the floor. Cut these out with scissors at the crease and tape them to the overall pattern.

If you are using an installation kit (some manufacturers provide these for their sheet vinyl products), the accompanying roller disk will aid you in marking your pattern. When using this roller, leave about 1/2 gap between your template paper and the wall. The roller disk is designed to transfer the wall line to the pattern paper, leaving an exact one-inch space between the pencil line and the wall.

This means this line on the template is actually one full inch shy of the wall everywhere you use that roller disk. With this method, when you transfer your template to the vinyl, you must be sure to use a one-inch wide straightedge placed along your outline mark. It will put that inch back onto the flooring when you mark it.

If you don't have a kit, you can use a one-inch wide ruler or a paint stirrer with a ballpoint pen cartridge taped to its edge. Whether you use an installation kit with a disk roller, a makeshift marker, or just press the paper up to the wall, creasing it for your outline, it is best to work a short distance at a time. Do not try to mark a wall in one continuous line.

Make a note on the pattern identifying the position of any object you had to fit around so you can check its fit and its relative location one last time before you complete the installation. When you have finished your template, you should have a paper floor with all of the landmarks clearly indicated. Now you should be ready to get an accurate transfer of your paper pattern onto the vinyl material.

Tip: When you purchase the self-adhesive vinyl tile, buy at least five percent more tile than the total area you plan to cover, in order to allow for waste. Else you might come up short.