Vinyl plank flooring is known for its affordability, durability, and comfort. Although easy to set up and maintain, vinyl flooring usually has little room for error during installation. Rushing the installation process or installing over slopes and inclinations on the subfloor can lead to buckling.
Vinyl plank flooring will settle over time. However, to ensure that the vinyl floors fit perfectly, leave the planks on the floor to acclimate to humidity levels and room temperature. This is because vinyl plank flooring tends to swell in high humidity and shrink in low humidity.
This article will discuss the dos and don’ts of installing vinyl plank flooring and what you can do to ensure your floor lasts long enough. Read-on if you want to know more.
How Long Does It Take for Vinyl Plank Flooring to Settle?
Vinyl plank flooring can take anywhere from a couple of days to weeks, or even months to fully settle. Vinyl floors usually take longer to settle when installed on uneven surfaces, explaining why proper care should be taken when installing vinyl planks over tiles or concrete floors.
Before installing vinyl flooring, take a scrap vinyl and use duct tape to seal all its edges. Allow the scrap vinyl to sit for around three days, and if the duct tape comes up easily, then you’ll know your floor has too much moisture for a vinyl flooring to handle.
It is also important to allow the vinyl plank flooring to acclimate to the room temperatures of the installation’s designated areas. Therefore, place the vinyl planks in the target room and let them sit for no less than two days.
And to ensure that your vinyl plank flooring settles without any complications, use a level to check the subfloor. Using a level will help you spot dips and lumps, which need to be fixed before installation to eliminate buckling chances as the floor starts to settle.
Click clock vinyl floors tend to settle faster and can be used immediately after installation. However, you’ll need to give glue down planks around 48 hours to settle before walking on them fully.
What Causes Buckling in Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Buckling in vinyl plank flooring occurs when the floorboards rise, thus causing uneven surfaces and unsightly humps. Below are some of the causes of buckling in vinyl plank flooring.
Expansion and Contraction
Similar to most types of floors, vinyl plank flooring tends to respond to changes in temperature. As temperatures continue to rise, vinyl flooring will respond by expanding slightly, which can lead to buckling. The opposite happens during cold weather when the vinyl planks respond to the weather by contracting.
You’ll notice that buckling is more common in areas that receive direct sunlight due to rapid expansion. Glue-down or self-stick vinyl floors are more likely to melt due to extreme heat than luxury vinyl flooring.
An extremely moist subfloor can wreak havoc in your newly installed vinyl flooring. Moisture is known to weaken adhesives in floors, thus leading to buckling over time. Due to this, you should run a vapor barrier beneath the vinyl plank flooring as it’ll help prevent buckling due to excessive moisture.
Using waterproof vinyl planks in kitchen and bathroom areas is highly advisable since it guarantees the floors’ durability and usability.
Dragging Heavy Objects Over Vinyl Flooring
When using loose lay vinyl flooring, it is critical to move heavy furniture with utmost caution. Remember, since loose lay vinyl floors don’t use adhesives, they are likely to buckle under intense pressure.
You can also use felt pads beneath heavy furniture to reduce the chances of scratching or ruining your vinyl floors. When moving heavy furniture on vinyl floors, the trick is to lift the items as opposed to dragging them.
Therefore, consider asking for assistance from friends and family or even professional furniture movers when moving heavy furniture from one area to another.
How to Clean and Maintain Vinyl Plank Flooring
The importance of sweeping vinyl floors frequently cannot be overstated. Dust buildup, dirt, and food debris are notorious for reducing vinyl plank flooring’s lifespan, especially in high traffic areas in the household.
Therefore, it is advisable to sweep the high traffic areas regularly. Try your best to sweep the kitchen, living room, and bedroom floors every other day if not daily. The idea is to prevent dirt buildup, which is known to compromise vinyl flooring’s appearance and usability.
Use a Damp Microfiber Mop
Although known to be durable and resistant to mild scratches, vinyl tends to buckle when exposed to excess water. Using a dripping mop on vinyl floors means the water can seep into the seams, edges, and crack, in the process destroying the glue bond.
You should also check on mop quality. Try your best to use high-quality mops like the Turbo Microfiber Microfiber Mop, which is known to be gentle on vinyl, hardwood, and laminate flooring.
Remove Stains Immediately After They Occur
It’s normal for spills to occur every once in a while. However, the trick is to remove the spills before they form stubborn, hard-to-remove stains on your vinyl flooring.
Food stains from ketchup, mustard, juice, and other foods can be easily removed by baking soda. All you’ll need to do is make a paste of water and baking soda and gently rub the stain until it’s no longer visible.
When dealing with intense stains like ink hair dye, crayons, marker stains, and paint, use mineral spirits or alcohol to get the job done.
You can also use vinegar to remove stains from your vinyl floors. Vinegar contains the right type of acidity to remove grime and dirt without leaving a wax or soap buildup. If you’re looking to clean and disinfect your vinyl floors simultaneously, then apple cider vinegar is your best option.
Make Use of a Doormat
While some might argue that using doormats isn’t as effective as regular cleaning, doormats help absorb dirt and tiny particles that can ruin vinyl flooring.
Place a doormat in the main entry points to absorb soil and dirt particles since they’re known to reduce vinyl flooring’s shine.
Use the Recommended Cleansers
Vinyl floors require special treatment to last long and maintain their shine. If you’re dealing with no-wax vinyl, ensure you clean using cleaners meant for no-wax floors.
Some of the best cleansers for vinyl flooring include the Once `N Done Floor Cleaner and Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner. For best outcomes, it is advisable to sweep the floors and remove dirt particles before using cleansers.
What to Avoid When Dealing With Vinyl Flooring
- Don’t use abrasive scrubbers. Steel wool and other abrasive scrubbers can ruin vinyl flooring’s appearance by leaving unsightly marks. Instead of using steel wool and other scourers, go for soft cloths and microfiber mops.
- Don’t move or slide heavy furniture. The last thing you want is to move heavy furniture on vinyl floors. Doing so not only increases the chances of scratching the floors but also displacing the floors.
- Don’t use dripping mops. The secret to a durable and shiny vinyl flooring is regular cleaning without too much water. Always rinse your microfiber mop dry before cleaning vinyl floors.
Vinyl flooring will settle over time and sink in well with your subfloor. But for successful outcomes, it is highly advisable to give vinyl planks around two days to acclimate to your house environment before installation.
While you can walk on click lock vinyl immediately after installation, be sure to give glue down planks around two days to set securely. Remember to clean vinyl floors regularly as doing so prevents the buildup of dirt and grime.