Q: How do you repair vinyl flooring? Ours tore when we moved out an old refrigerator.
Carol Leonard, Milwaukee

Tom Silva replies: Sheet-vinyl flooring is durable but not indestructible. It can tear, as you know, or be sliced open if you drop a knife on it. Fortunately, vinyl repairs are easy enough to make and, if done correctly, nearly invisible. You just need a piece of the same flooring to serve as a patch. If you're lucky, the installer left some scraps behind. If he didn't, you can "harvest" a replacement piece from beneath an appliance or another out-of-the-way spot.

Most sheet-vinyl floors these days are glued only at the edges, which makes it easy to cut out the damage and harvest a patch. But if the entire floor is glued down, you'll need a stiff putty knife or an oscillating tool with a scraper blade to lift these pieces.

Your patch may have a new sheen, but that will fade over time to match the surrounding flooring.

Shown: A damaged vinyl floor can be fixed with a patch from the same material.

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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • framing square
      Framing square
    • putty knife
      Putty knife
    • j-roller
    • 3/16-inch v-notched trowel
      1/32-inch V-notch trowel or a paint roller with a 3/16-inch nap cover

    Shopping List

    Double-stick tape

    Flooring adhesive

    Seam sealer

    Masking tape