Vinyl is an economical floor option and a manageable DIY project even for beginners. Vinyl flooring comes in a wide variety of textures, patterns, and colors, as well as different styles. One of the great things about vinyl floors is how easy they are to install. You can even put them over existing flooring.
You can put vinyl floors on other vinyl floors, as long as the existing vinyl is clean and intact. This is true for all types of vinyl, including vinyl sheets, vinyl tiles, and vinyl planks.
Installing vinyl is a fairly straightforward project that doesn’t require heavy equipment or special tools, just patience and good preparation. Read on to find out how to prepare existing vinyl floors for new vinyl and how to install each type of vinyl floor over vinyl.
Can You Lay Vinyl Plank Over Other Vinyl Floors / Should You?
If you’re thinking about replacing your vinyl floors, you’d be happy to know that you don’t have to remove the old layer. All you have to do is clean and remove excess scraps, dust, and anything else that could be trapped underneath.
The best way to clean vinyl is to sweep it with a broom and mop it with vinyl floor cleaner. You can hire a company to clean the floors, though it might be unnecessary if you’re DIYing the installation. Expert teams should always remove the old flooring beforehand.
Can You Lay Vinyl Tile Over Other Vinyl Floors / Should You?
You can install brand-new tile (vinyl or ceramic) over vinyl tiles; But if you install them over vinyl floors (not tiles), make sure they’re not peeling. Peeling tiles can put too much pressure on the new tiles, causing all sorts of problems.
Much like the previous section, it’d be best to clean the floors to remove excess debris.
Can You Lay Vinyl Sheet Over Other Vinyl Floors / Should You?
Remove old vinyl floors, tiles, sheets, and everything else before laying new vinyl sheets. However, they mention it’s entirely possible to lay new sheets over old vinyl flooring if the floor is clean and free of debris.
The best course of action with all three examples is to remove the old vinyl floors. You’re more than welcome to lay new vinyl over an old layer of vinyl to save time, energy, and money. That being said, debris, flaps, and other problems can cause loads of repairs down the road.
When Should I Remove Existing Vinyl?
You can lay vinyl on all types of floors and subfloors. Vinyl will stick to any even, smooth surface, including cement, wood, laminate, even other vinyl. Again, it is best to tear up the existing vinyl, but if it’s in good shape or removing it is dangerous, you can choose to lay vinyl on top of the original floor.
Here are some cases where you will have to remove the old vinyl flooring:
- If it’s bubbling or peeling. Do not install vinyl over old vinyl that is coming loose from the subfloor.
- If tiles or planks are missing. You have to have a smooth surface to lay new vinyl.
- If it’s crumbling or breaking down. Very old or damaged tile that’s falling apart won’t hold a new layer of vinyl.
- If there’s more than one layer of vinyl. The maximum number of floor layers you can have is two. If you’ve already got two layers of vinyl, or vinyl on top of another floor, you’ll have to demo.
On the other hand, there are good reasons why you would want to save the hassle and just lay vinyl straight over the old floors.
- If the vinyl is in good condition. This saves time and gives you a premade guide to layover.
- If the vinyl is very old. Vinyl made before the 1980s could contain asbestos. You have to hire a professional to test and remove this vinyl, but you can cover it up yourself.
How To Lay Vinyl on Existing Vinyl Floors
There are three basic shapes of vinyl floors: plank, tile, and vinyl sheets. They are all installed differently. You’ll also find peel-and-stick vinyl and dry-backed vinyl. Dry-backed vinyl will require an adhesive and optionally an adhesive primer.
For prepping the floor (no matter what style of vinyl you choose), you’ll need:
- Floor Stripper like Zep Heavy-Duty Floor Stripper
- Spray Bottle
- Tape Measure
- Utility Knife
- Straight Edge (or T square)
If your existing vinyl has many deep scratches and dents, or if the floor has large dips or is uneven, you’ll need to level it before adding another layer of vinyl. You’ll also need;
- Embossing Leveler, Custom BLDG Products 21018 Floor-Leveling-compounds
- Large Scraper or trowel like this Concrete Finishing Trowel
1. Clean and Prep the Room
Prepping the existing vinyl is essential to a solid bond on your new flooring.
Remove floor vents and baseboards, and any furniture in the room. Pry baseboards off with a crowbar. Then sweep any debris and mop the floor with a regular cleaning solution or a diluted degreaser. Once you install vinyl over the floors, you’ll never be able to clean it again, so be sure to do a thorough job.
Let floors dry completely, anywhere from 8-24 hours.
2. Prepare the Floor Surface
You need a surface that the new vinyl will adhere to. If your vinyl is in good shape, you can strip the floor, but if it has dents, dings, and dips, you’ll need to use an embossing leveler. Some embossing levelers also suggest using a primer.
Strip The Floor of Dirt and Residue
The existing vinyl likely has a top coat that gives a nice shine to the flooring, but adhesives and peel-and-stick vinyl will not stick to this. There also cannot be any dirt, residue, or debris on the floor.
Dilute your floor stripper according to the manufacturer’s instructions and fill a spray bottle. Coat the floor with the solution and let it sit according to instructions.
Scrub the floor in small sections. Wear gloves and use a scouring pad.
Rinse with water and let your floors dry completely.
Fill in Dips and Gaps With an Embossing Leveler
Embossing leveler will fill dents and scratches in the old vinyl and create a level surface if the old vinyl is lying on an uneven floor. This creates a suitable and flat surface for your vinyl to stick to.
If it’s not premixed, mix your embossing leveler according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then pour the liquid onto your floors.
Use the trowel or a large scraper to push the self-leveling embosser across the floor. It will fill in any cracks and dips and self-level.
Let the embossing leveler cure for at least 24 hours before you move on to the next step.
3. Rough Up the Vinyl or Apply Primer
Roughing up the vinyl gives the new adhesive little scratches and more surface area to stick to. Use a piece of sandpaper, sanding block, or pole sander to go over the floors. Remember, you’re roughing the floor, not sanding it smooth. Use 120-grit sandpaper or lower.
Sweep up sanding dust.
If you’re using an adhesive primer, spread it in a thin layer, less than ¼ inch (0.635 cm) thick. Allow to dry according to instructions.
4. Apply Your Vinyl
Measure your room and make a floor plan on a sheet of paper. Then, add three inches (7.62 cm) to every side. Transfer these extra-long measurements to your sheet of vinyl with a washable marker.
Lay your large sheet of vinyl and allow the edges to curl against the walls. Trim the excess around the perimeter, leaving a ⅛ inch (0.318 cm) expansion gap.
When you’re satisfied with how your sheet vinyl fits, peel back half the vinyl sheet and apply adhesive to the surface underneath. Let the adhesive cure in the open air according to the instructions. Press down the vinyl and repeat on the other half.
Starting in the top left corner of the room, lay your first plank. If it’s a peel-and-stick plank, take the backing off and place it in the corner.
For the second row, you’ll need to stagger the seams at least six inches (15.24 cm) apart. Measure and cut your plank with your utility knife and T-square. Every plank should be at least eight inches (20.32 cm) long. For tongue-and-groove vinyl planking, snap the planks together and tap into place.
If you are using dry-back vinyl tile, you will first apply the tile adhesive to the whole floor. Spread a thin layer and allow it to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using peel-and-stick tiles, you’ll just remove the backing when you’re ready to lay down each tile.
Start in the middle of the room, working your way out. Use your guidelines or the existing vinyl as a guide until you can no longer fit full pieces of vinyl on the floor.
Trim tiles to fit the perimeter of the room, making sure to leave an expansion gap.
5. Reattach Baseboards
When you’ve laid the vinyl, reattach your baseboards. This should cover the edges of the vinyl.
Vinyl Flooring Installation Tips
- Use the adhesive recommended for your vinyl.
- Some stick-and-peel vinyl recommends using an adhesive primer.
- Do not sand the vinyl underneath – use an embossing leveler if you need to level the floor.
- You can install sheet vinyl to subfloors with staples. Do not use this method on top of old vinyl flooring- use an adhesive over the entire surface.