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Competencies covered

MSFFL2021: Install lay flat vinyl floor coverings

Loose lay installation

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Audio for slide 1 (mp3 |6|KB)
Because there is no adhesive used under a loose laid floor, most manufacturers say that cushioned vinyl should only be loose laid in areas up to 25 m2.

However, some of the heavier types of lay flat vinyl can be loose laid on floors up to 40 m2.

Note that these areas include all connecting rooms.

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Loose lay is not suitable for floors that will take heavy traffic, or where there is furniture that may be pushed around.

This includes furniture or appliances on roller casters.

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Joins should be cold welded with a chemical seam sealer.

To help secure the seam you can also use double-sided tape underneath.

However, this doesn't mean that you should put tape around the perimeter of the floor.

Although some manufacturers allow this 'perimeter stick' method of securing the edges, there is a risk that the material may buckle if there is any movement in the covering.

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Lay flat vinyl is very stable and won't shrink or curl over time if it's laid properly.

Nonetheless, in prolonged hot weather it can grow slightly.

For this reason, you should leave a gap of about 2 mm around the perimeter of the material so that it can't buckle up against skirting, cupboards or door frames.

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To install loose laid vinyl:

  1. Lay out the material and allow it to acclimatise to the temperature and humidity of the room. Some installers like to reverse-roll the vinyl to relieve the stresses before laying it out on the floor.
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  1. Cut off all excess material, leaving about 100 mm flashed up the walls for the final trim.

    V cut all corners to allow it to sit flat on the floor.

    If you haven't already reverse-rolled the material, let it relax for about one hour before starting the final trimming.
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  1. Brush the surface with a soft broom to remove any trapped air. Make sure it is sitting flat on the substrate.

  2. Use a knife or wall trimmer to cut the sheet to size. Cut and fit the sheet lengthwise first. Leave the ends until last, to give the vinyl more time to acclimatise.
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  1. If more than one sheet is required, fit the larger sheet first. Overlap the second sheet by about 20 mm, or according to the pattern match required. Try to avoid placing seams in thoroughfares.

    To cut a seam between two sheets, place a straight edge over the overlapping sheets where the cut will go, and hold it firmly in place while you cut as vertically as possible through both sheets.

    Note that on thicker vinyls you'll need more than one pass to cut right through both sheets - never force the knife through the material.
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Audio for slide 9 (mp3 |6|KB)
  1. Cold weld the seams with a chemical seam sealer.
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Learning activity

Audio 10 (mp3 |6|KB)

Follow the link below to see an installation demonstration produced by Gerflor.

Installing Gerflor loose lay vinyl

Watch the video and answer the following questions:

  • What tool does the installer use to trim around the walls?

  • How does the installer secure the seams? What are the potential risks with using this method around the perimeter of the floor?
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