How to Patch a Vinyl Floor
A damaged floor can be fixed invisibly with a patch from the same material
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.
Cut Out the Patch
To disguise the fix, replace the entire "tile," or pattern, that's damaged. Whether your patch is coming from a scrap piece or out of the floor, place a utility knife on the edge of the pattern and tilt the blade slightly—about 5 degrees—away from the center of the patch. Line up a framing square with the edge of the pattern and against the blade, then cut one side. Repeat on all sides, then pull the patch free.