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Can You/Should You Caulk Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Can You/Should You Caulk Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is loved for its stylish appearance, which closely resembles wood, though it comes at a much lower price. Along with being economical, it is also durable and waterproof, making it a preferable low maintenance option when compared to solid wood flooring.

You can and should caulk vinyl plank flooring, as it can often develop gaps due to humidity, weather changes, and improper installation. These gaps can be sealed using an easy method called caulking, which allows you to close the gaps using a sealant, thereby preventing it from becoming bigger.

In this article, we will look at the reasons for gapping in vinyl plank flooring and also discuss the best way in which they can be caulked to seal up the gaps before it gets worse or accumulates debris. We will also look at some other methods which can be used to seal the gaps between vinyl planks.

Why Are There Gaps in Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Why Are There Gaps in Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The first step to fixing a problem is to understand why it happens. Knowing the reason behind the occurrence of gaps in vinyl plank flooring can help you find an appropriate and long-term fix for the problem.

The Temperature

Just like wood, vinyl is also prone to shrink or expand when there is a change in temperature, even though the change in size may not be very prominent. Usually, vinyl tends to shrink a little when it is exposed to sunlight and warmth. In such cases, the vinyl planks can become a little smaller, thereby revealing gaps that may not have existed before during installation. 

The only solution is to fill the gaps with caulk or any other filling material to prevent the gaps from accumulating dirt and debris.

Improper Installation

Sometimes, installers may make a mistake when placing the vinyl planks on the floor during the initial installation. Ideally, a vinyl floor should tightly fit together with no visible gaps whatsoever. If the planks are not placed as closely as possible in the beginning, this will result in gaps that might get more prominent and visible over time. 

Hence, filling the gaps becomes a necessity to maintain the integrity and aesthetic beauty of the flooring.

Can You Caulk Vinyl Flooring?

Can You Caulk Vinyl Flooring?

If you’re new to vinyl and are worried about what can or can’t be used on it, fear not, as caulking is one of the most used methods and products for filling up gaps between vinyl tiles and planks. Additionally, people love caulk as it can be painted or stained to seamlessly blend in with the vinyl flooring, no matter what the color or design may be.

The only drawback to caulking is that it isn’t an absolutely permanent solution as you may have hoped it to be. Over time, the caulk can slowly start to disintegrate as the floor is swept or mopped on a regular basis. When this happens, you will have to repeat the process of caulking to ensure the flooring looks as good as new.

How to Caulk Vinyl Plank Flooring

How to Caulk Vinyl Plank Flooring

Caulk is basically a sealant that is used to seal gaps, joints, and seams to prevent leaking. It is also used as a gap filler in vinyl floors due to its strong binding qualities, which easily sticks to almost any surface. 

Dap All-Purpose Acrylic Caulk is one such product that can be used to seal the gaps between vinyl planks and tiles. It is a waterproof sealant that is also paintable. Additionally, it comes in various colors, but if you’d rather paint it yourself, then you can get the “clear” caulk instead.

How to Use

  1. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the vinyl flooring to remove any trace of dirt or debris. It is advisable to mop the area as well. 
  2. Additionally, it is best to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the gaps where you’ll be using the caulk, as this will allow the caulk to bind more effectively. Pasting caulk on an unclean surface can greatly reduce its effectiveness.
  3. The place must be completely dry before you apply the caulk, so it is best to leave the floor to dry for at least 24 hours if you’ve just mopped the area. After it has dried completely, you can vacuum the gaps one last time and then proceed.
  4. Next, place the nozzle of the bottle containing the caulk right over the gap and start squeezing out the liquid between the vinyl planks. 
  5. Using a putty knife (or anything similar), push the caulk evenly into the gaps and make sure there is no gap that isn’t filled.
  6. After you have filled all the potential voids and gaps between the planks, run the surface of the putty knife over the surface you just covered in such a way that the excess caulk gets removed. 
  7. You can also use a wet sponge or tissue to clean the surface of any excess mixture.
  8. Then, allow the caulk to set for however long the instructions suggest. It is best that you do not enter the room as you may accidentally ruin the unset mixture.
  9. After it has dried, you can then proceed to stain or paint the filled-in area with a shade that resembles the color of the vinyl floor.

Other Methods to Fix Gaps in Vinyl Floors

Other Methods to Fix Gaps in Vinyl Floors

Apart from caulking, you can also make use of floor repair kits, which are quite similar. Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit is one such product that comes with a putty-like substance that can be used to fill gaps between vinyl planks as well. In addition to this, it also comes with ten different shades of colors that can help you get the exact color and design of your vinyl floor. 

Apart from this, you can also make use of floor putty to fill the gaps. This may come in a powdered or semi-liquid form, which you will have to fill into the gaps using a putty knife. Once it has set, you can use a floor paint or stain to make the color of the putty match that of the floor.

Tips for Caulking Vinyl Plank Flooring

Tips for Caulking Vinyl Plank Flooring
  • Caulking vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest ways to get rid of unseemly gaps between the planks.
  • However, you may have to repeat the process every once in a while, as caulking is not a permanent solution and will wear down with time as you constantly use and clean the floor’s surface.
  • Always remember to apply the caulk only after you have cleaned the surface and gaps of all dirt and debris. Be sure to keep the area free of moisture as well.
  • After applying a generous quantity of the caulk, be sure to remove the excess before it dries. The caulk can be easily removed using a wet cloth when it is still wet. It is not advisable to sand the area to get rid of the excess mixture as that will ruin the vinyl’s surface.
  • Use paint that is recommended for floors and gaps to paint over the filled-in area.

Final Thoughts

This article gives a detailed explanation of why gapping occurs on vinyl floors and how you can fix that using the method of caulking. Just make sure you’re buying a suitable product for vinyl flooring, as buying products meant for other purposes can ruin your floor. 

Additionally, don’t forget to immediately retouch or redo the areas where gaps begin to appear again. We hope this article answers all your questions regarding caulking vinyl plank floors. 

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 25, 2020.

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