One way to really dress up a home is to put down vinyl plank flooring. It is versatile and there are plenty of options available. Can you use it over concrete?
Vinyl plank flooring is easily laid over concrete and can be put down as either a glue down or floating floor option. it is important, however, to ensure that the concrete is properly prepared and has had sufficient time to dry.
Generally speaking, a concrete slab will dry enough over the course of two months in order to be at a low moisture level. It will still continue to dry in the following weeks and months but you will not typically have a problem with a vinyl plank flooring at that point.
That isn’t to say, however, that moisture is not going to be a problem. In fact, one of the most important things to consider when putting vinyl plank flooring over concrete is if a moisture barrier is necessary.
You can check with local building codes to see if a moisture barrier may be needed in your area specifically. You should also put it down if there is a possibility of water coming up from underneath.
Can You Put Vinyl Plank Over Concrete?
Preparing the concrete floor is one of the most important parts of getting it ready for vinyl plank. It isn’t simply a matter of putting the plank down, the concrete needs to be suitably prepared.
If the concrete slab is new, then you need to allow the floor to dry before you put down any vinyl plank. Generally speaking, moisture content of 6% or less is preferable.
Older concrete slabs may have problems of their own. Typically, you will not have an issue with moisture content in the concrete but that doesn’t mean that moisture is not going to be a problem.
If you are putting the vinyl down in a basement or another area that may be prone to flooding, you really need to consider the possibilities. Vinyl is a very durable floor but it may not do well if it is underwater for any length of time.
There may be some things you can do to reduce the possibility of flooding, such as adding a sump pump. That being said, if the power goes out and the floodwaters come in, the sump pump is not going to do much good if it is not running on a generator.
If you are fairly confident in the fact that you are not going to have water problems in the area, then you should consider the condition of the concrete. These issues may occur, both with a new concrete slab and one that has been down for quite some time.
High and Low Spots – One of the most important things to consider is if there are any high or low spots in the concrete slab. One of the best ways to test this is by putting down marbles and watching where they gather together. Bear in mind that they will roll from high spots and gather in low spots.
After you have identified the high and low spots, you can begin fixing the issue. High spots can be ground down using a floor grinder and low spots can be filled with some type of self-leveling compound.
If you’re going to be grinding concrete, it is very important to wear the proper respiratory protection. An N95 mask should be worn, at a minimum.
The reason why it is so important to wear an N95 mask is because of silica. Silica dust from grinding concrete gets into the lungs and can make you sick. It is something that should be avoided and respiratory protection is the best way to do so.
Bumps and Lumps – Although high and low spots may be easy to identify, it may be difficult to find the bumps and lumps that exist in the concrete. Using a large floor scraper, it may be possible to identify those issues and grind them down.
Cracks – This is an issue that typically occurs with older slabs. Any cracks that exist in the slab should be filled with a quick-drying compound.
If the cracks are not repaired before you put down the vinyl floor, the vinyl will eventually settle in that area and you will see the outline of cracks through it.
Seams – Concrete slabs may have seams to help keep them from cracking. It is also important to overlay those seams with some type of quick-drying compound to avoid seeing them through the vinyl floor.
Along with fixing the specific problems in the concrete slab, it is also possible to float the entire floor with some type of compound. This will provide a very smooth, flat surface for the vinyl flooring.
Should You Put Vinyl Plank Over Concrete?
Before you decide to put vinyl plank flooring over concrete, it’s a good idea to consider the good and the bad. Doing so will help you to make the right decision.
Vinyl over concrete is an excellent way to dress up the room. The versatility of vinyl and the ease of installation make it a perfect choice. As long as the concrete slab is in good shape, it can be used as a subfloor for vinyl without any problem.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of putting vinyl plank over concrete.
Price – One important factor for most families is the low price of vinyl plank. It can give the room a look as if it has hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost.
Installation – Vinyl plank is one of the easiest types of flooring to install. It is simple to cut to size and you can put it down quickly.
Versatility – It is sometimes difficult to decide which vinyl plank you want because there are so many options available.
Flooding – Although vinyl can stand up to some moisture, if you install it in an area where flooding is a problem, it will likely get ruined sooner or later.
Quality – Although there are some high-quality vinyl flooring products, that is not the case with every vinyl plank floor. You need to check the quality and opt for the highest quality you can afford.
How To Put Vinyl Plank Over Concrete
Installing vinyl plank over concrete is a fairly straightforward process. It is still one that has definite steps that must be taken.
If you are putting vinyl plank over newly poured concrete, you need to wait until it has time to dry properly. Generally speaking, concrete will dry to an acceptable level within a few months after it is poured. Older concrete slabs may still need some attention, especially if they have high or low spots or if they have cracks and seams.
The proper preparation of concrete is the most important factor for a successful install of vinyl plank flooring. If the concrete is not prepared properly, the issues are likely to show up in the vinyl in some way or another.
High or low spots or probably one of the most difficult factors for a concrete slab. They can be repaired, but it will take some time and effort to do so.
You can check for high or low spots by putting marbles on the floor. If there is a high spot, they will roll away from it and they will gather in any low spot.
High spots can be fixed by grinding the floor, although you should wear a respirator to protect yourself from the concrete dust. Low spots can be floated with a self-leveling compound.
If there are any bumps or lumps, they will also show up through the vinyl. In fact, the entire concrete slab should be flat, smooth, and free from defects.
Vinyl does not cover any imperfections in the subfloor very well. It may look fine at first but eventually, any problems are going to show through.
This is also true if the floor is not level. If you are putting vinyl plank down over a high or low spot, it may look good at first but it will eventually separate.
It is much easier to prepare the floor and fix any problems with the concrete in advance rather than trying to fix it after the vinyl floor is already down.
Aside from preparing the concrete, you will just need to lay the vinyl plank in the same manner as you would lay it in any other room. Generally speaking, that is by striking a line in the center of the room and working in both directions, one at a time.
Working from one wall straight across the room to the other wall is likely to result in problems. It is very rare that a room is square and any imperfections in the size and dimensions of the room will show up in the floor.
You should also be careful not to have any type of noticeable pattern on the vinyl plank floor. In many cases, you will have several different options available when it comes to the design of the planks themselves. Make sure you stagger them, along with staggering the seams.
Vinyl flooring is very versatile, flexible, and long-lasting. As long as everything is prepared properly with the subfloor, it should last for many years.
What Tools And Preparation Are Needed?
As long as you prepare the concrete for the vinyl plank, there is no reason why it shouldn’t last for many years.
Typically, concrete makes a very nice subfloor for vinyl plank. It is important to ensure that it is free of defects, however, so that the vinyl plank does not separate or have any issues that will show over time. Sometimes, it is best to simply float the concrete floor and start with a clean, smooth surface.
Aside from ensuring that the concrete is in good shape, there is not typically any preparation that is necessary. You would just need to strike a line in the center of the floor and start laying the vinyl once the concrete is ready.
It is a good idea, however, to have your tools ready. Here are some tools you will need for the job:
- Long Level
- Short Level
- Chalk Line
- Power Saw
- Utility Knife
- 25-Foot Tape Measure
- 12-Foot Tape Measure
- Safety Glasses
Concrete makes an excellent subfloor for vinyl plank flooring. Preparing the concrete is the key to a successful job. This would include ensuring that the floor is sufficiently dry before the vinyl tile is put down. Generally speaking, two or three months of dry time is sufficient for the concrete subfloor.