Five top tips for placing a vinyl floor in the home
1. Sheet vinyl is a practical choice for kitchens, bathrooms, shower rooms, cloakrooms, utility rooms and more, and can be fitted by DIYers. It's usually affordable and comes in a big range of styles and colours, including designs that look like ceramic tiles, wood, stone, etc, but often cost less per square metre than the real thing. Vinyl can look dated, but it certainly doesn't have to, as there are lots of contemporary designs, such as stripes, as well as more traditional ones.
2. Vinyl flooring is water-resistant, hard to stain, and durable. Unlike a tiled floor, it's comfortable and warm underfoot, which is a big plus when you're stepping out of the bath or shower on a cold morning. If you have kids and/or pets, vinyl comes into its own because it's softer, quieter and safer than a hard floor and (generally) stands up to heavy foot traffic well. Best of all, it's easy to keep clean - you can sweep it, vacuum it, mop it and wipe up spills easily.
3. However, vinyl can get scuffed and scratched and it will deteriorate eventually, especially at the edges, where it can curl up. You have to be careful not to tear a vinyl floor - dragging a fridge across it, for example, can be a recipe for disaster. Vinyl can also be damaged by extreme temperatures, and faded by sunlight. Disadvantages aside, if you think vinyl's a good choice for your home and you're in a hurry to fit it, some designs are available in DIY and carpet shops to take away there and then.
4. Before you fit the vinyl (or get someone in to do it), it's important to ensure that the sub-floor's as clean, dry and flat as possible, as vinyl will show up lumps, bumps and other imperfections. Uneven concrete sub-floors, for example, can be improved with self-levelling compound, which is available from DIY stores.
5. To prepare a floorboards sub-floor, begin by knocking down any protruding nails with a hammer and nail punch. Screw down any loose boards, checking first that there aren't cables or pipes underneath. Once the floorboards are secure, fix hardboard on top to provide a good surface on which to lay the vinyl. Both the hardboard and vinyl should be acclimatised in the room before you use them.