How to Staple Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Installing Sheet Vinyl Floor

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Sheet vinyl flooring is an economical, reasonably attractive flooring material that's often used in high moisture environments like bathrooms and kitchens.

Two of the biggest issues with installing sheet vinyl are cutting it precisely to fit around obstructions and adhering it to the floor with glue.

The first issue can be surmounted by constructing precisely cut templates from contractors' paper and tape. As for the gluing, there is a way of installing sheet vinyl without glue and it is called perimeter-install. With this method, the vinyl is laid on the floor, much like any other floating floor. Once situated, only the edges are attached to the subfloor.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • No messy, smelly glue

  • Can be taken up and adjusted

  • Predictable results

Cons
  • Middle might shift or buckle

  • Edges may tear

  • Errant staples may show

  • Many staples makes for tedious work

Pros

Gluing down vinyl flooring is a sticky, smelly activity. Stapling the flooring is, instead, a completely dry process.

Because no glue is involved, you have the ability to take up any part of the vinyl floor and staple it again. With glue, you do have a workable period but it's not as long as with stapling.

Stapling is predictable. The attachment points you see upon installation remain, at least for a while. Shifting may eventually occur, but you can mitigate this by strategically placing double-sided tape under the vinyl.

Cons

There is still some slippage if the sheet is not installed correctly. The middle can stretch or slip independently of its anchored edges. Even if you decide not to use glue, it sometimes helps to add a little bit of glue in the center to anchor the sheet as a whole.

Perimeter installation involves stretching the sheet slightly. Stretched vinyl is more susceptible to tears and punctures.

Exposed edges (those that cannot be covered with baseboards or quarter-round trim) still do need glue. So, even a stapled sheet vinyl floor still has some gluing.

You must be precise about stapling within a small band along the edges. Deviating from that area means having staples that show, even after the baseboards are installed.

The work of stapling the vinyl flooring every 2 inches can get tedious, especially across a large floor.

How to Staple Sheet Vinyl Flooring

For this project, you'll need a sheet vinyl flooring, manual or electric staple gun, eye protection, sheet vinyl flooring glue or double-sided tape, a marker, contractors' paper, tape measure, and painter's tape. It also helps to have an assistant since sheet vinyl flooring is heavy and unwieldy.

  1. Measure Flooring

    Create a template from paper to conform to the size of the floor. Piece together individual pieces of paper with painter's tape. Lay this template on top of the sheet vinyl flooring. Leave a 1/8-inch expansion gap along all edges.

    Tip

    The sheet vinyl will be cut to this size, so be precise about your measuring and marking.

  2. Cut Flooring

    With a utility knife, follow the outlines that you made earlier on the sheet vinyl. If in doubt along any line, cut slightly larger than smaller. You can always go back and slice off extra material but you cannot patch missing material.

  3. Lay Flooring

    Lay out the flooring in the room. Make sure that you observe all expansion gaps. Smooth out the flooring in the center if any bulges or wrinkles develop. Shine a light from an angle to check for any dents or gouges that need to be covered up.

    Tip

    It's recommended that you use some glue at doorways and around obstacles where staples cannot be installed because they would be visible. If you do not do this, the flooring will no longer remain flat on the floor in those spots. Another option is to use double-sided adhesive tape.

  4. Drive Staples

    Staples from a regular heavy-duty shop staple gun are driven into place every 2 inches all along the perimeter. Keep the staples as close to the edge as possible, but not so close that they might tear out.

    If you staple too far outward, simply add another staple nearby. If you staple too far inward, you'll need to pry out the staple with a screwdriver.

  5. Attach Baseboards

    The baseboards will cover the staples. In fact, you can use your baseboard to tell you how close to the edge you should staple. Be careful: these staples are hard to remove without nicking the flooring.