Vinyl, or resilient, flooring is so popular because it's affordable and durable. In fact, its pattern usually goes out of style long before its surface wears out. Vinyl flooring isn't indestructible, however. Sliding back a chair can snag and rip it (photo 1), while a dropped can and other sharp objects can easily gouge the material. And high heels are notorious for puncturing the toughest flooring if there's even the slightest void in the subfloor beneath it.
Fortunately, repairing vinyl flooring is easy, and requires little more than a utility knife. We'll cover the techniques for repairing sheet vinyl and vinyl tile - the two major varieties of vinyl floor. Here's where you begin.
ASSESSING THE DAMAGE
How you repair vinyl flooring depends on what kind you have and how it's damaged. With vinyl tile, the best approach simply is to replace marred tiles . With sheet vinyl, eliminating damage requires fusing the surface or patching in new material.
Small cuts and scratches can be permanently fused with liquid seam sealer, a clear compound that's available wherever vinyl flooring is sold. Clean the area with a soft cloth that's dipped in lacquer thinner, then squeeze in a thin bead of sealer. After the sealer has dried, the repair will be virtually invisible.
For tears or burns, you'll have to cut out the damaged area and glue in a replacement patch; this type of work requires an extra piece of identical flooring and a technique called double cutting (which is covered in the next section. Installers often leave a few scrap pieces behind for just such an emergency. If there aren't any leftover pieces - and if the flooring isn't too old - you might find an identical piece at a flooring dealer. You can also lift a piece for your patch from inside a closet, under the refrigerator or in some other inconspicuous location.