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Tools for Installing Vinyl Flooring

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010

Tools for installing a vinyl floor

One of the best things about vinyl flooring is that, if you have just an ounce of confidence, you could lay the floor yourself. As my old boss used to say, “All you need are the right tools and a sense of humor.” A sense of humor is your most useful tool, because you can take it anywhere, and it will help you make the most of any situation, even your mistakes. The other tools you need for laying a vinyl floor are below.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, because there may be some tools that will work better for your project, but consider this a starting point for the basics:

Hammer: Don’t go anywhere without a good hammer. You’ll need one to pull up old nails and staples (and check for and remove other debris) in the existing floor. It will also assist in securing underlayment.

Tape Measure:
Essential. Obvious. My old boss again: “We do it nice, ‘cause we measure twice.”

Circular Saw:
This is your best friend when cutting underlayment. Use a straight-edged guide.

Combination Square/Framing Square & Chalk Line:
Don’t underestimate the need to make straight lines and square corners, even if your old house has few of each.

Sometimes it is easy to get all the “hard” supplies, and forget that you need something to stick them together with. Get some wood glue in addition to your vinyl adhesive.

This saw will bite through anything that gets in your way (stubborn nails, screws) that might create an unwanted aberration in your sub-floor.

Safety Glasses: Thank you, Norm Abram! Please protect your eyes so you can enjoy the way your new floor looks when you’re done.

Knee Pads: After several hours on your knees, you'll be glad you had these on. Flooring projects require your knees more than your feet, so get some good ones.

Notched Trowel: For applying mastic adhesive between the vinyl and the prepared underlayment.

Putty Knife & Utility Knife: Many uses. Putty kniffe fills cracks and holes, utility cuts the vinyl.

Now, if like most folks, you don’t happen to have a Home Depot in your basement, there are a few things you might need to rent: A good heat gun will soften vinyl for custom cuts, a VCT cutter will make the cuts, a compressor and pneumatic stapler for laying sub-floor, a 100# floor roller for flattening your vinyl, and a fine tooth saw will trim you existing moulding to fit.

Hope this helps. Now, go measure twice, and make it nice.