6 Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

vinyl plank floor

Installing vinyl plank flooring is a popular and cost-effective choice for homeowners looking to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their spaces. However, amidst the excitement of a home improvement project, it’s easy to overlook crucial details, leading to common mistakes that can compromise the overall quality and longevity of the installation. Common mistakes can jeopardize the overall quality. 

Inadequate surface preparation, ignoring acclimatization time, incorrect underlayment installation, neglecting expansion gaps, haphazard plank placement, and overlooking subfloor moisture levels are prevalent errors. 

Properly cleaning and leveling the subfloor, allowing acclimatization time, using the correct underlayment, maintaining expansion gaps, following a systematic installation approach, and addressing subfloor moisture concerns are essential steps to ensure a successful and durable vinyl plank flooring installation.

However, if you’re planning to install Vinyl plank flooring, read this article carefully.

In this article, we will explore some of these frequently encountered pitfalls, shedding light on what to avoid to ensure a successful and durable vinyl plank flooring installation.

Common Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring:

By being mindful of these common mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, homeowners can significantly improve the chances of a successful vinyl plank flooring installation that not only enhances the beauty of their space but also stands the test of time.

1. Inadequate Surface Preparation:

One of the most frequent errors during vinyl plank flooring installation is insufficient surface preparation. Neglecting to properly clean, level, and smooth the subfloor can lead to an uneven surface, causing problems such as visible bumps or an insecure connection between the vinyl planks and the subfloor. Before laying down any planks, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean and level the subfloor, addressing any imperfections that might jeopardize the integrity of the installation.

2. Ignoring Acclimatization Time:

Vinyl plank flooring is sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Failing to allow the planks to acclimate to the environment before installation can result in expansion or contraction, leading to gaps or buckling after installation. It is recommended to let the flooring material sit in the installation area for at least 48 hours, allowing it to adjust to the room’s conditions and minimize the risk of future issues.

3. Incorrect Underlayment Installation:

The underlayment serves as a crucial barrier between the subfloor and the vinyl planks, providing insulation, sound absorption, and moisture resistance. A common mistake is using the wrong type of underlayment or installing it incorrectly. Using an underlayment that is too thick can affect the locking mechanism of the planks, while an inadequate underlayment may fail to provide the necessary support and insulation.

4. Neglecting Expansion Gaps:

Vinyl plank flooring, like other flooring materials, expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. Failing to leave sufficient expansion gaps around the perimeter of the room or near fixed obstacles can lead to buckling or warping over time. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for expansion gap size and ensure these gaps are consistently maintained during installation.

5. Haphazard Plank Installation:

Rushing through the installation process without a systematic approach can result in misaligned planks and an unprofessional finish. Starting the installation without a clear layout plan or failing to stagger the seams properly can create an uneven appearance and compromise the overall stability of the floor. Taking the time to plan and execute the installation with precision is key to achieving a polished and long-lasting result.

6. Neglecting Subfloor Moisture Levels:

Excess moisture in the subfloor can lead to a host of problems, including mold growth, warping of the vinyl planks, and adhesive failure. It’s crucial to measure and ensure that the subfloor moisture levels are within the manufacturer’s recommended range before proceeding with the installation. Installing a moisture barrier may be necessary to safeguard against potential moisture-related issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring:

Can I install vinyl plank flooring over any type of existing flooring?

While vinyl plank flooring is versatile, it’s crucial to ensure the existing flooring is clean, level, and free from imperfections. Remove any loose materials, adhesive residues, or debris. Uneven surfaces can affect the new installation, so it’s recommended to level the subfloor before laying vinyl planks. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific requirements and compatibility with existing flooring materials.

Do I need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring, and how do I choose the right one?

Yes, underlayment is essential for vinyl plank flooring. It provides insulation, sound absorption, and moisture resistance. Choose an underlayment recommended by the vinyl plank manufacturer, considering factors such as thickness and material. Thicker underlayments can impact the locking mechanism, so follow the guidelines closely. Additionally, ensure the underlayment is installed correctly, free from wrinkles or overlaps, to prevent future issues with the vinyl plank flooring.

How long should I let vinyl plank flooring acclimate before installation?

Acclimatization time is crucial for vinyl plank flooring. Allow the planks to sit in the installation area for at least 48 hours before installation. This allows the flooring material to adjust to the temperature and humidity conditions of the room. Failing to acclimate the planks can lead to expansion or contraction issues after installation, affecting the overall quality and appearance of the floor. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for acclimatization duration for optimal results.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring in bathrooms or other moisture-prone areas?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring is suitable for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms. However, it’s essential to choose vinyl planks with water-resistant or waterproof features. Additionally, ensure proper sealing of seams and edges during installation to prevent moisture infiltration. Addressing subfloor moisture levels is crucial in such areas; use a moisture barrier if necessary. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation in specific environments to maximize the longevity and performance of the vinyl plank flooring.

Is it possible to install vinyl plank flooring as a DIY project, or should I hire a professional?

Vinyl plank flooring is often considered a suitable DIY project. However, success depends on your level of experience and comfort with home improvement tasks. If you’re confident in your skills, following the manufacturer’s guidelines and installation instructions can lead to a successful outcome. For complex rooms or if you’re uncertain about potential challenges, hiring a professional installer may be a wise choice to ensure a flawless and durable installation.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring over radiant heating systems?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring is compatible with radiant heating systems. However, it’s crucial to follow specific guidelines to prevent damage. Ensure the radiant heating system is fully operational and set to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature before installing the vinyl planks. Additionally, choose vinyl flooring that is approved for use with radiant heating systems. Proper installation over radiant heating can provide a comfortable and efficient flooring solution.

How do I clean and maintain vinyl plank flooring for longevity?

Maintaining the cleanliness and longevity of your vinyl plank flooring is an uncomplicated task. Ensure regular removal of dirt and debris by either sweeping or vacuuming. Clean the floor with a damp mop using a gentle vinyl floor cleaner. It is important to steer clear of harsh chemicals and abrasive tools that might harm the surface. Promptly wipe up spills to prevent staining. 

To avoid scratches, consider placing felt pads under furniture legs. By adhering to these routine maintenance practices, you can effectively safeguard the aesthetic appeal and durability of your vinyl plank flooring.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring in high-traffic areas?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring is suitable for high-traffic areas due to its durability and resistance to wear. However, choose a high-quality product with a wear layer that suits your specific needs. Proper installation, including using the right underlayment and following recommended maintenance practices, will contribute to the longevity and performance of the flooring in high-traffic zones.

What should I do if I encounter issues during the vinyl plank flooring installation process?

If issues arise during installation, pause and assess the situation. Check for the root cause, such as subfloor irregularities or misaligned planks. Consult the manufacturer’s installation guidelines or seek advice from a professional if needed. Address any issues promptly to prevent further complications. Remember that patience and attention to detail are key to overcoming challenges and achieving a successful vinyl plank flooring installation.


In conclusion, achieving a flawless vinyl plank flooring installation requires careful consideration and attention to detail. By steering clear of the common mistakes discussed in this article, homeowners can ensure that their investment not only enhances the visual charm of their living spaces but also stands the test of time.

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts