Looking for a great DIY budget alternative to carpet or linoleum? Try vinyl flooring for an affordable option for high traffic areas. This tutorial will walk you through how to install a vinyl flooring!
As you may know, we are expecting baby #4 in May, and I am officially in my third trimester already (how did that happen so fast?!)! As such, I’m trying to restrain myself from some of the DIY activities I’ve done in the past. I installed floors and painted baseboards for our attic at our last home when I was 7 months pregnant, and I’m pretty sure I never want to do that again! 😉
But when my sweet friend Vanessa (the one who transformed her bathroom cabinet with her DIY magic) told me she was replacing her carpet with vinyl floors, I couldn’t resist asking her to share with you all. I know you’ll love this incredibly budget friendly transformation!
Thanks so much, Rachel, for hosting me. I am so excited to share this before and after vinyl hardwood update! I mentioned this in my DIY Gel Stained Cabinet post, but my decorating philosophy is to take on small projects on a tight budget with a big impact!
Let’s show the reality of many homes:
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Carpet in the dining room… Why? I honestly cannot fathom how this could ever be a practical option in any home (I’ve heard of carpet in a bathroom before, thankfully, that’s not my problem). With three small children, I would have preferred almost anything to carpet. In the short term, I threw an inexpensive area rug down over the space which would help catch food and spills without permanently staining the carpet.
After a bit of research, I decided on replacing the carpet and the vinyl in the kitchen with TrafficMaster Allure Plank vinyl flooring that I purchased from Home Depot.
The newest generations of vinyl are shockingly realistic and come in many different colors and styles! Vinyl is the perfect option for a space that gets lots of spills and traffic. It’s durable, water repellant, and budget friendly. I decided to re-finish the kitchen floor too, with the help of my experienced handyman dad, to create a connection between the two spaces.
Materials needed to replace carpet with vinyl floors:
- TrafficMaster Allure Plank Vinyl Hardwood in Oak
- Gloves, pliers, crow bar, waste bags
- Floor Roller
- Wood Floor Transitions (vinyl option here)
- Mixwax stain in Golden Oak Wood Stain (for transitions)
- Old T-shirt
- General Finishes Topcoat (any will do)
When ordering the vinyl flooring, I strongly recommend ordering online and choosing store pickup. You want to measure your space and determine your total square footage. By ordering online, you ensure that they have enough in stock for your project and you can pickup in the front of the store. They sometimes will even load it for you in your car! You can always return extra boxes (in fact, I returned 2!), but nothing is worse than running out of a material mid-project. I chose the color in Oak. It is a very traditional finish that coordinates with my existing oak trim in my Pacific Northwest home. I also find that lighter colors are better in homes with pets and children. Darker colors, though beautiful, highlight food crumbs and pet hair.
How to prep to install vinyl flooring:
First, remove the carpet, padding, carpet tacking and all of the staples. This is the point in the DIY project where you wonder whether you’ve made a wise decision. It’s the hardest part! Push forward! If you need to remove your trim, be sure to label each piece with a pencil marking on both the trim and the portion of the drywall where it will re-attach. Wearing gloves, pull back the carpet and padding and roll, cutting the carpet/padding where you want the vinyl flooring to end. Measure twice, cut once! Pulling up the carpet tacking isn’t difficult, but tedious. Use a crow bar to drive up the tacks and toss into a waste bin. Look for staples in the subfloor and use the pliers to remove. Sometimes, if the staples are super stubborn, you can drive them into the subfloor with a hammer. You want a smooth, flat surface.
How to install vinyl flooring:
TrafficMaster Allure has a peel and stick application- the two pieces grip at an adhesive strip that is activated when they meet. The flooring doesn’t actually adhere to the floor- it floats. Some vinyl flooring options have a groove and click. I found the adhesive grip easy to DIY and it is typically a cheaper option.
When you are ready to lay your planks, you will be begin with a long wall. You need to decide which direction the planks will lay. I chose this direction because I wanted to create a perspective that would elongate the room. Starting with a corner, lay down the first row. Carefully meet the seems and roll with pressure to activate the adhesive. When you meet the end or transition, score the vinyl with a boxcutter and bend to break. After the first row, take the scored piece from the end, and use that to begin the next row from the corner you began with. This will create a natural staggered pattern. Like above, carefully meet the adhesive seams and roll with pressure to activate the adhesive. Continue this the length of your room. We had two floor vents where we got creative with a boxcutter to allow for the vents, but the vinyl is very easy to cut. After you finish laying the floor and rolling the seams, return the trim. We added quarter round in the dining room to cover the gap left from the carpet.
Lastly, we chose wood transitions to cover the junction between our carpet and vinyl flooring. I chose wood, but they do have vinyl transitions that match the flooring. Stretching the carpet underneath, screw the transition into the subfloor covering the junction.
I stained the wood transition and new quarter round with two coats of Minwax Golden Oak. It was the perfect touch and the transitions have a beautiful stained grain! By using real wood transitions, we enhanced the “natural” look of the vinyl. Lastly, I followed up with two coats of General Finishes Oil Based Top Coat.
I’ve had the flooring for about 4 months now and I can honestly say it is a great product! It cleans well, is very durable, and upgrades what used to be a dreaded space to a fresh, bright room I love to style.
I love it in the kitchen, too. Mopping up spills is a snap! As you can see, I added this beautiful indigo runner for Urban outfitters to modernize a very traditional space.
Vinyl flooring would work in many different spaces; I’d especially consider it for a bathroom for it’s water repellant ability. It’s also easy to install for beginner DIYer. You can do this!
Kitchen Wall – Behr Wheat Bread, Dining Room – Behr Chocolate Froth
Kitchen Cabinets- Benjamin Moore White Dove
Get the look: