Carpenter Nathan Gilbert goes on a house call as he helps a homeowner dealing with a dated kitchen floor. After explaining to Kevin what goes into planning a floor, such as materials and subflooring, he heads to the home to lend a hand.
How to Replace a Vinyl Kitchen Floor with Plank Flooring
- Remove any furniture, appliances, and floor or wall vents from the room. Be sure to shut off any gas lines you might need to disconnect beforehand.
- With everything out of the way, use the utility knife to score along the top of the baseboards to separate them from the wall surface. Carefully slip the pry bar behind the baseboards and remove them. Number each baseboard so you know where they go when it’s time to reinstall them.
- Assess the existing floor. If there are multiple layers of vinyl flooring with thin sheets of luan underneath, it may be best to cut the floor into small, manageable pieces for easier removal. Wearing a dust mask and a pair of safety glasses, cut squares between 1 and 2 feet wide. Be sure to set the saw’s depth of cut so it doesn’t cut through the subfloor. With all the squares cut, remove them with a pry bar and hammer.
- Prepare the first few rows of flooring. For the first row, use a full plank. For the second row, cut ⅓ off of the plank with the flooring cutter or miter saw. For the third row, remove ⅔. You’ll repeat this process for the first piece in each row as you move across the room as this staggers the joints and provides a more appealing aesthetic.
- Lay the first piece on the floor and place spacers between it and the wall. Slide the tongue of the second row into the groove of the first row. Use the tapping block and rubber mallet to tap the piece securely into the groove and close the gap. Continue across the floor, being sure to place spacers between the wall and any planks along the edge of the floor.
- As you meet cabinets, you’ll have to start making custom cuts. Take careful measurements and transfer them to the vinyl planks. Cut these pieces to fit with a jigsaw and tap them into place with the tapping block. For rows that end in front of cabinets or far walls, hook the end of the plank with the pull bar and tap it until the gaps close. Be sure to leave a ¼-inch gap between the end of the plank and the wall or cabinet.
- Install transition pieces and thresholds at the doors. Cut them to length with the miter saw or flooring cutter and lay them in a bead of construction adhesive.
- With the transitions in place, reinstall the floor and wall vents and the baseboards before replacing the appliances and furniture. For a more finished look, caulk the moldings and give them a fresh coat of paint.
Nathan installed Pergo Defense+ 7.5 in. W Classic Weathered Pine Antimicrobial Click Lock Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring in a homeowner’s kitchen. Nathan used Marshalltown 13-inch Flooring Shears. To account for the expansion and contraction of the planks, Nathan used 1/4-inch flooring spacers along the perimeter.
William C. Gilbert Carpentry provided expert assistance with this segment.
Note: It’s a good idea to let the new flooring acclimate to the humidity in your home. Open the packages and give the product a day or two to adjust before laying the floor.