Are you installing vinyl plank flooring in your home? It’s an excellent choice but can you install it over a cement board?
Cement board makes a very good subfloor for vinyl plank flooring that will allow the floor installation to last for many years. It is durable and has many benefits you don’t find in other types of subfloor. As long as the cement board is prepared properly, there is no concern with putting vinyl plank flooring over it.
Cement board, which is sometimes referred to as backer board is a material that is often used as a backing for tile. It is used in that way because it is often installed in areas of the home where there is a possibility of water.
Cement board provides stability unlike many other types of subfloor, such as plywood. One of the reasons why that is the case is because of a lack of organic material in the backer board.
Even drywall has a certain amount of organic material to it, which can lend itself to the formation of mold if moisture becomes a problem. Backer board, on the other hand, has no organic material so it is missing that part of the puzzle when it comes to mold formation.
There are a number of things to consider that will make the project go well. Let’s take a look at some of those factors and then we will consider how to install vinyl plank over cement board and what tools and preparation are necessary.
Can You Put Vinyl Plank Over Cement Board?
One of the biggest concerns for using backer board as a subfloor is the possibility that it is not going to be as smooth of a surface as is needed. It doesn’t mean that it is not possible, you just need to prepare things properly.
When cement board is installed properly, it will be flat and solid. You don’t have to worry about the board shifting in place or any large gaps that exist.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the gaps and shifting are not going to occur. You really need to evaluate the backer board on a case-by-case basis to see if additional work may be needed for the project.
That is especially true if you tore up the old floor and discovered that there was cement board underneath. Likely, that was the case if you tore up the floor in the bathroom or kitchen where water is often a problem.
When you look at the existing backer board, are you seeing large gaps or cracks? This could be a problem when it comes to the installation of vinyl plank flooring. Why?
When you first install the vital plank flooring, it will be able to bridge those gaps without a problem. Over the course of time, however, those gaps will begin to show in the vinyl plank and it will be undesirable.
That is why it is so important for you to prepare the flooring properly. We will cover this in more detail later in the article, but it may require that you either replace some of the damaged pieces or perhaps even float the entire floor with a thin layer of concrete.
It is also important to ensure that the area is as clean as possible before you install the vinyl plank flooring. Any irregularities, whether they are high areas or low areas are going to show up when the final job is done.
This may be another reason why you would need to float the floor. You want the subfloor to be as perfect as possible, and the backer board is not known for its perfection. It’s a great choice, you just need to make wise choices along with it.
You also need to consider the quality of the vinyl plank flooring you are installing. Less expensive vital point flooring is going to show the imperfections of the subfloor more than a high quality vinyl floor.
Always opt for the most expensive vinyl plank flooring that your budget will allow. A quality vinyl plank will have a thick backing and that can cover over a lot of imperfection.
One other option that you may want to consider is installing additional underlayment, such as a corkboard before installing the vinyl plank. This is not always the best idea, especially if you are installing in an area of the home where water could be a problem. If you are out in the open in the living room, however, corkboard may be the best choice.
Should You Put Vinyl Plank Over Cement Board?
If you have a backer board known as a subfloor, you may be tempted to simply install your vinyl plank flooring over it. What are the pros and cons of doing so?
The biggest benefit of using cement board as a subfloor is that it will last for a very long time. As a subfloor, it is difficult to find material that is as durable as concrete. On the downside, installing vinyl plank over a cement board subfloor could cause any imperfections in the subfloor to show through. This can be overcome by preparing the subfloor properly.
Let’s take a look at some of the specific pros and cons of using a backer board as a subfloor. Doing so will help you make a wise choice.
The Pros of Using Cement Board:
1. Durability – The cement board is going to last for a very long time and as long as everything is prepared properly, the vinyl plank floor will not deteriorate or need to be replaced on account of the subfloor.
2. Mold – The lack of any organic material in the backer board is one of the primary reasons why it will not grow mold. You can install the vinyl over the backer board and not have to worry about mold growing underneath it.
3. Moisture – Backer board is often used in parts of the home that are more likely to experience problems with moisture. This includes the bathroom and the kitchen. If moisture does give under the vinyl planks, it will not ruin the subfloor. It may take some time to dry, but typically you can just wait for that to happen.
The Cons of Using Cement Board:
1. Movement – If the backer board is not attached to the floor joists properly or whatever subfloor is underneath, you may have some movement. This could be problematic if shifts occur after the vinyl plank is installed and cracks form.
2. Imperfections – There are likely to be some imperfections in the backer board. This can generally be overcome by cleaning up things properly and sealing any issues that occur. If any cracks are seen between the backer boards, they should be filled with concrete.
3. Gaps – If there are any gaps or similar issues, they must be fixed before you put down the vinyl .4. Otherwise, you will see the gaps through the vinyl plank eventually.
4. Work – There is a balancing act between the amount of work that may be necessary to remove the backer board and what may be needed to float the entire floor. It’s great to know that you have a cement board under your vinyl plank so taking the little extra time and work necessary to prepare it properly is always going to be a benefit.
How To Put Vinyl Plank Over Cement Board
If you make the decision to put vinyl plank over cement board, there is a specific way you can do it.
The most important factor to consider when installing vinyl plank over cement board is preparation. This would include fixing any cracks or gaps in the cement board and cleaning everything up so there are no small pieces of board that would show through the vinyl. Sometimes, it may also be necessary to float the entire floor with a thin layer of concrete.
There is not a big difference between installing vinyl plank over cement board with installing it over any other type of subfloor. The real thing that needs to be considered, is if you’re going to use an underlayment.
Underlayments provide a number of benefits but they can also be problematic in certain circumstances. They help to reduce noise, both when it comes to the ambient noise in the room and when it comes to the noise you make when you are walking on the floor.
Choosing the right underlayment can also make the floor much more comfortable under your feet. This is not something that should be underestimated.
Finally, there may be times when a moisture barrier is needed and it may be built into the underlayment.
When it comes to installing vinyl plank over cement board, you need to think about the area of the home where the installation is taking place. Cement board is often used in the bathroom and using the wrong underlayment could be problematic in an area if water got under the vinyl.
Consider this carefully and if necessary, choose an option that would be both comfortable and durable when it comes to getting wet.
What Tools And Preparation Are Needed?
Are you ready to get started? Let’s gather our tools and do the prep work.
For the most part, you’re not going to need any additional tools for installing vinyl plank over cement board than you will with any other type of subfloor. It’s really just a matter of having an installation kit and a tape measure to get started.
Here is a list of common tools you will need for installing vinyl plank over cement board:
Measuring tape: Having a quality measuring tape is a game-changer. Opt for a 25-foot measuring tape and then a smaller, 12-foot measuring tape for doing the smaller jobs.
Straight edge – a straight edge will be beneficial for ripping the vinyl plank at the edge of the room.
Rubber hammer – This tool will help you to force some of the vinyl plank flooring in place without damaging it in the process.
Installation kit – Purchase a vinyl plank floor installation kit. Make sure that it includes the spacers for the edge of the room.
In order to prepare the subfloor, you will need to clean up any issues that exist. This would include more than sweeping the floor, you would also want to fill any gaps or cracks with concrete.
If the floor is imperfect, you might want to float the entire floor with a thin layer of concrete. Not only will this eliminate any high or low points, it will also make a solid surface where the vinyl plank flooring can be easily installed.
If you have a cement board in place on the floor, you can easily use it as a subfloor for vinyl plank flooring. It will last for a very long time and has the benefits of water resistance and not growing mold. As long as it is in good shape and free from defects, you can install the cement board without worry.