Preparing to install luxury vinyl flooring

LVT preparation

Luxury vinyl flooring needs a well prepared subfloor. Our guide explains all!

We often talk about ensuring your subfloor is correctly prepared before the installation of luxury vinyl flooring, but how many of us know what this means?

What is a subfloor?

As its name suggests, a subfloor is the surface underneath the new flooring to be laid or installed. It is the foundation on which the new flooring will stand. Common types of subfloor include concrete or floorboards, particleboard and chipboard panels. Note: previous floor coverings such as old vinyl, carpet and linoleum are not appropriate materials for a subfloor and should be removed.

Can luxury vinyl be installed on uneven floors?

The short answer is no! Our luxury vinyl flooring, and our Pawsafe Domestic and Pawsafe Commercial ranges must always be installed on a perfectly smooth and even surface. Remember subfloor works are imperative as if the subfloor is not good, the finished look with not be good either. If your subfloor is concrete, the relative humidity level must be below 75% in the concrete. If the concrete has recently been put down it is imperative to get it tested as concrete can take months to dry out properly.  If the relative humidity levels are above 75%, depending on the reading either a moisture suppressant or a full damp proof membrane must be used prior to applying a smoothing compound.  If the property is a new build you need to make sure the subfloor is not anhydrite screed. If it is, the laitance needs removing prior to any works taking place. If your subfloor is concrete we recommend applying a 3-4mm skim of smoothing compound prior to laying, to ensure the surface is completely smooth. Remember to read the instructions on the smoothing compound as a lot of them require a primer to be used beforehand. If your subfloor is wood (floorboards, particleboards or chipboard) , then fix SP101 flooring grade plywood to the subfloor every 120mm – 150mm, the joins need to be filled to ensure they don’t ghost through over time.

How to install vinyl flooring

At Floors for Paws, we always recommend using a professional fitter for your vinyl flooring.

However, for anyone wishing to install their flooring themselves, initial preparation involves the following steps:

  • Remove all furniture from the room as well as any existing vinyl or carpet floor coverings.
  • Check for nails and tacking strips, before thoroughly sweeping and vacuuming the subfloor.
  • Make good any damage such as holes/cracks in the subfloor (this can be done by using a repair mortar).
  • Carry out the required subfloor works to ensure a perfectly even subfloor.
  • Fit the Flooring:
  • The planks/tiles can be cut with a Stanley knife (hook or straight blade).  Follow the instructions on the adhesive, using an A2 trowel to apply the adhesive in a thin layer, and butting each tile up to the next (keep a wet cloth besides you so you can wipe away any excess glue that comes up through the joins).  The PawSafe range needs to be fitted into wet acrylic adhesive.

Do you need underlay for vinyl flooring?

There is no need for an underlay as our flooring is designed to be glued directly onto either a concrete subfloor or a SP101 flooring grade plywood subfloor.

Does the vinyl flooring need to acclimatise?

When vinyl flooring has been stored at a constant temperature and is then transported to a new environment (your home) that may be a different temperature, the vinyl needs to acclimatise to the room temperature before being fitted. By giving the flooring time to adjust to the new temperature and moisture levels, you can reduce the chance of the vinyl warping or cracking. Ensure the room temperature is no different to its normal level and leave the vinyl for at least 24 hours to allow the air to circulate.

Once the preparation is complete, vinyl flooring can be installed.

Preparing to install luxury vinyl flooring from Floors for Paws

Preparing the subfloor is not for the fainthearted, particularly if there is an old subfloor to take up and remove, and there are many things that could go wrong. At Floors for Paws, our trusted network of professional fitters are experts in fitting our vinyl floors, and will remove old subflooring and make good any mess created. They can be booked when you order from us, or for further details of this service, simply call us on 01522 300218 or email us at


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