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all thumbs
vinyl flooring replacement

Thank you for reading this and responding to my query.

We live in a factory-built house which needs the vinyl flooring replaced. I have two estimates and need help in deciding which way to go. The first is for Armstrong vinyl with a lifetime warranty, which was measured by the salesman. He stomped on the floor a couple of times and stated to me that the floor seemed level and stable enough, and that the installer would just emboss the old vinyl and glue the new down on top, butting it up to the trim. The second estimate is for a Tarkett product with a 10 year warranty; however, the actual install guys came and measured and looked the project over. They pegged the house as having a floating floor right now, and will need to install a new underlayment before laying the new sheet goods. The second quote is twice as expensive as the first, due to the added cost of installing the underlayment. I have no experience in this, and would appreciate any advice you guys can share with me.

A. Spruce
Re: vinyl flooring replacement

"Factory built house", do you mean manufactured home (aka, mobile home ). If this is the case and the floors are original, then it is not likely that there is any floating floor system. Trailers are all glued and stapled together, it's the only way they'll stay in one place while traveling down the interstate to their final resting place. Given this scenario, it would be perfectly acceptable to float the existing floor with leveling compound and overlay with the new flooring.

The only "floating floor" that I'm aware of in a sheet good was something called "perimeter glue" vinyl. A 4" to 6" strip of adhesive or tape was placed around the perimeter of the room and the vinyl stuck down to that, there was no glue/tape in the center of the field as is the customary installation method. Perimeter glue installs are no longer done. If this is your case, then the old vinyl can be removed relatively easily and the new laid in it's place. The only time that underlayment would be necessary is if the existing subfloor/underlayment were in poor shape. You can test to see if this is the case by poking the tip of a knife at a sharp angle into the surface of the vinyl and lifting. If you can get it to lift it's perimeter glue, if not then it's likely fully glued down. Only do this test if you're certain you will be replacing the floor.

Without seeing the floor for myself, I can't offer an opinion on the two bids you've received.

all thumbs
Re: vinyl flooring replacement

Hey Spruce thanks for replying.
By factory built, I mean that it is a traditional stick built home that was done in two halves in a factory in Wisconsin. It did come to us on wheels, but the "trailer" was not part of the frame, and was removed before the crane set the two halves in place. I was comforted by the crane operator telling me that this company's houses were the only brand that didn't sag as he lifted them into place!
At any rate, I remember when we visited the factory to watch them build our place, that they frame the floor deck, then roll the sheet goods before building the wall partitions and installing the cabs. So the existing vinyl is under everything. I did poke it in the center, and can lift it somewhat, so I don't think the whole sheet is glued in place. Are you recommending that we should pull the old stuff out, then? Or would it still be okay to lay the new over the old? I wasn't sure what the salesman meant by "emboss."
Thanks again for your advice. I'm enjoying catching up on your flooring posts.

A. Spruce
Re: vinyl flooring replacement

If the existing vinyl is fully glued down, then floating and overlaying is perfectly acceptable. I would be leery of doing this with a perimeter glued floor because I doubt that either the perimeter glue or the vinyl could withstand it (even with the vinyl captured under the cabinets. ).

If you're up for a little more destructive testing, you can slice longer slits in the floor for both visual inspection under the vinyl and to aid in lifting the vinyl to see whether it's glued. Only do this with the understanding that once you slice the vinyl, you're relegated to installing the new ASAP. If the vinyl is in fact perimeter glued, you should be able to easily slice around the cabinetry and pull up the old. At places such as thresholds, if you're lucky, the vinyl goes out past and is under the carpet or tile or whatever is adjoining the vinyl. That's how it is in my manufactured home (trailer ) and it's built in the same manner as you described your house (flooring first, walls and cabinets later ). Note, if there is baseboard either around the room or on the walls over the vinyl, remove it before the vinyl goes in then reinstall the baseboards after the fact. You'll end up with a better installation that won't curl around the edges as it ages.

If you're able to remove the existing vinyl and the underlayment is in good shape, it's possible that with minor floating and cleaning that the new vinyl can be laid over it. If the old vinyl doesn't come up or makes a mess of the subfloor, you can always put down underlayment before the new vinyl.

Are you working directly with flooring installers or are you shopping at a big box? If it's a big box, I'd recommend going with a flooring installer who will work with you depending on what your needs are rather than the cookie cutter method that the big box and chain retailers use. You can still buy your vinyl wherever you want.

I would shop your project around to a few private contractors and express your concerns with the proposals already received. They should be able to tell you on the spot whether the vinyl can be removed or not and whether new underlayment needs to be installed. Go with the person whom you feel most comfortable with and trust is giving you accurate information. I don't think your two current bids have given you either.

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