How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: A Guide

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl flooring is a popular option for homeowners looking to refresh their homes. Vinyl planks are more affordable than other materials, and beginners can complete vinyl adhesive/caulk installation with enough patience and attention to detail.

Installing plank flooring is relatively easy if you follow these simple guidelines. If this is your first plank installation, then the job will take you about one day to complete.

The video below shows how planks can be installed over existing vinyl tiles or linoleum flooring:

What You’ll Need for Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation

To begin vinyl plank installation, you’re going to need all of the following:

  • vinyl planks (of course) –
  • vinyl adhesive and caulk (mixed in a bucket – see mixing ratios below)
  • vinyl spreader (available at any big box store)
  • knee pads and gloves
  • Vinyl flooring runners – (To protect kitchen floors during vinyl installation, it’s recommended that you place vinyl flooring runners along the walls.)

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Installing vinyl tiles is a pretty simple process, since these floor types can be installed over old flooring like tile or concrete. Here is a quick look at the steps for installing these floors —

Step 1

Installing vinyl boards on a dirty floor isn’t a good idea because grease, oil and dust on the old floor can affect the adhesion. Before you install your new floors, the old surfaces should be properly sweeped and washed using a floor cleaning product. Wait until the floor is completely dry before you proceed.

Step 2

Start plank installation from the farthest wall and work your way toward the door so you won’t have to keep walking or dragging tools over the freshly installed tiles.

Step 3

Use spacers along the wall and install the planks ¼ of an inch from the walls. You can also use a jigsaw or circular saw to cut these tiles so they can fit around corners or in slim areas alongside a wall. 

Step 4

The vinyl adhesive/caulk mixture is poured directly onto the bottom of vinyl tiles (you’ll want to remove vinyl tiles if they’re already in place). The flooring adhesive/caulk should be about 1/8″ thick when applied. 

When vinyl planks are used over the top of vinyl adhesive/caulk mix, applying vinyl adhesive too close together in one area can cause bubbling. This is why vinyl plank installation requires attention to detail and patience. 

Let the vinyl adhesive dry for about 30 minutes before vinyl plank installation.

Once the adhesive is in place, you will need to press the planks down on your floor surface. 

Step 5

Then it’s time to start filling in between the vinyl planks with the vinyl tile adhesive. As you do this, ensure that each plank is securely pressed into its adjacent neighbour. You don’t want any gaps or air bubbles between planks.

To fill in all the cracks and crevices, use a vinyl spreader (large trowel) to smooth out the vinyl adhesive until it reaches about 1/8″ thickness. The seams between vinyl planks should be staggered; these can be further filled in when applying caulk along vinyl seams.

How to Apply Caulk to Plank Flooring 

To adequately apply vinyl caulk, go in two directions (up and down or left and right) while maintaining an even pressure on the vinyl caulk gun. 

Another interesting read: What Is The Best Thickness for Vinyl Flooring?

Final Homeowner Tips for Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring:

 Here are some final do’s and don’ts to help you with plank installation

  • Leave planks out in the sun for a few hours before planks are installed. Don’t leave planks outside during rain or snow.
  • Start plank installation from the farthest wall and work your way toward the door (not vice versa)
  • The flooring adhesive/caulk should be about 1/8″ thick when applied. If vinyl adhesive is too thin, it may cause planks to buckle; if the vinyl adhesive is too thick, it may prevent vinyl planks from laying flat
  • It’s helpful to stagger seams between planks, but try not to overlap them too much because this can create bubbles between vinyl tiles
  • Vinyl flooring seams should overlap each other about 1/2″ for planks installed over vinyl tile
  • Vinyl plank installation requires patience and attention to detail. If you rush the plank installation, it’ll show when vinyl flooring adhesive is applied too close together. This can result in bubbling vinyl tiles or gaps between vinyl tiles.
  • For kitchen plank installations, place runners along the wall with doorway openings (this will contain any spilt water)
  • Ensure that planks are tightly pressed against one another with no space in between.

Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation Tips Summary 

Here is a quick refresher on what was discussed above:

  • Place vinyl flooring runners along walls near doorways during the vinyl plank installation process
  • The vinyl adhesive should be mixed with vinyl caulk in a 5:1 ratio (5 parts adhesive to 1-part vinyl caulk)
  • Vinyl tiles need to be laid flat like puzzle pieces, while planks can be placed at various angles
  • Vinyl flooring seams should overlap each other about 1/2″ for plank installation over vinyl tile
  • Planks installed over vinyl tile require a minimum of 1/8″ vinyl flooring adhesive application
  • It’s helpful to stagger plank seams, but try not to overlap them too much because this can create bubbles between vinyl tiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

First time vinyl plank installers usually have plenty of questions when they are trying to renovate their homes. Here is a quick look at some of the most often asked questions others had regarding 

How Much Should Vinyl Adhesive Be Mixed for Plank Installation Over Vinyl Tile?

Vinyl Plank

One part adhesive and one part caulk are recommended when using planks to install vinyl tiles. For example, if you mix 5 gallons of vinyl adhesive, add 5 quarts of latex caulk to the mixture before applying it onto the flooring.

Why Do I Need to Test Out Plank Samples Before Buying Them in Bulk? 

Plank flooring comes in different shades and colours. The shade or colour can vary from dealer to dealer or from vinyl plank flooring brand to plank flooring brand. 

The planks in the test sample kit are usually $5 and $15 per vinyl plank. 

If you find a vinyl plank colour that fits your décor, then buy vinyl planks in bulk from the same dealer since they will be more than happy to honour their price per vinyl tile offer when purchasing at least 3 cases of planks for vinyl installation

How Do I Store Vinyl Planks Before Installation?

Planks should be stored in a dry room with temperatures near 70 degrees Fahrenheit before and after installation. 

If this temperature cannot be reached indoors, consider renting a storage unit for storing standard vinyl tiles with temperatures near 70 degrees F or purchasing individual vinyl planks instead.

What Vinyl Adhesive Should I Use for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Planks can be installed using vinyl tile adhesives that are 5:1 ratio in a bucket. However, ensure the vinyl adhesive is mixed to the consistency of peanut butter before applying it to vinyl tiles since vinyl tiles come in different textures and thicknesses.

If you decide to mechanically remove standard vinyl tiles (that weigh more than 100 pounds per case), you will need at least 10 people to help you load them onto flat-bed trucks while wearing gloves. The sharp edges of standard vinyl tile may cut your hands when handling them. Removing vinyl planks by hand does not require any gloves since vinyl planks are very lightweight.

What Vinyl Adhesive Should I Use for Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation?

You can mix vinyl tile adhesive with latex caulk in a 5:1 ratio to install vinyl planks over vinyl tiles. Do not use silicone-based vinyl adhesives when installing vinyl planks on top of vinyl tiles because they can ruin them.


Vinyl plank flooring is very popular amongst homeowners because these floors are beautiful and fairly easy to install on your own. However, these luxury flooring solutions can be expensive. The last thing you want is to make a mess of vinyl plank flooring. If you are uncertain about DIY installation, then it might be best to hire a professional or to contact your supplier for proper video instructions.We hope that this guide has successfully taught you how to install vinyl plank flooring. If you want to learn how to do other handyman tasks, then you should also take a look at some of the other guides on our site. With Healthy Handymen, you can learn to do just about anything around the house.