Laying vinyl over an existing linoleum floor is nothing new – many homeowners are doing it to bring down the overall cost of installing vinyl and the time spent doing it.
If your linoleum is not damaged and you would like to install new vinyl flooring, there’s no need to rip it out. Just follow the guidelines we have provided here on how to install vinyl floors over linoleum and you will have your new flooring right where you need it (and it won’t take that long).
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Materials Needed to Install Vinyl Floors Over Linoleum
- Vinyl flooring: Get enough boxes of glue-down vinyl tiles. Consider measuring your floor beforehand to know how many boxes you need.
- Bucket and mop: Use your normal cleaning bucket and a soft mop.
- Cream of tartar (for linoleum with wax buildup): You can buy this from your nearest grocery store.
- White vinegar (for linoleum with wax buildup): Get one gallon of distilled white vinegar.
- Water: Get clean, warm water.
- Nylon scrubbing pad: Use this to scrub wax off the linoleum flooring.
- Stirrer: This will come in handy when mixing your white vinegar and cream of tartar.
- Tape measure: Use these to take measurements where necessary.
- Pry bar: A pry bar will help you easily remove baseboards from the wall.
- Vinyl tile cutter/utility knife: You can rent a vinyl tile cutter from your nearest hardware store, but the good old utility knife can also do the job.
- Vinyl flooring adhesive: Look for acrylic-based vinyl floor adhesives. These are usually heat-resistant, can handle temperature changes, and won’t loosen up if they get moist.
- Trowel: Use this to apply the flooring adhesive.
- Floor roller: A floor roller will help the vinyl stick firmly to the adhesive and the linoleum underneath.
- A piece of cloth: Use a clean microfiber rag. Do not use any rough material, as it may scratch the vinyl.
9 Easy Steps to Install Vinyl Floors Over Linoleum
Step 1: Allow Your Vinyl to Acclimate
Do not install your flooring immediately after you have bought it. Store it in the room in which it will be installed for at least 48 hours before working on it. This will help it adjust to the humidity and temperature levels of the room.
If you lay your vinyl flooring without acclimating, over time the flooring will either expand and deform or contract and get spaces between the pieces.
Step 2: Prepare the Room
Start by removing furniture, appliances, and any other obstacles from the room so you can have a clear work area.
Next, carefully examine the linoleum to ensure that there are no loose tiles, loose corners, bumps, or missing parts. How your tile job turns out will solely be dependent on the condition of the linoleum. If you start with a damaged floor, you will not have a very good outcome.
As such, fix any loose corners, fill in any hollows, and replace any missing tiles. And if you see any bumps, sand them away. It is also important that you remove the baseboard trim so you can have your new flooring laid up to the wall.
In the end, clean the flooring with soap and water to get rid of any dust, dirt, and debris. Don’t forget to strip any wax buildup in the process, as it may prevent the tiles from adhering firmly to the ground. To remove the wax, soak the floor for about ten minutes with a solution of white vinegar and cream of tartar, then scrub with a nylon scrubbing pad.
Once done, rinse the floor and give it about an hour to completely dry. You don’t want to lay your tiles over moist linoleum, as it may promote the growth of mold.
Step 3: Lay Out the Vinyl Flooring for a Dry Run
Place the vinyl over the linoleum at the exact areas you intend to install it to help figure out how the finished floor will look like and where you should make any required cuts.
To do this, use your measuring tape to measure the length of the furthest wall from the door. Then divide the result by two to determine the center of the wall. This is where you will begin your installation. Lay out your first tile here and evenly place the other tiles out to each side.
Step 4: Cut Any Tiles That Need to Be Cut
You will probably need to cut the tiles that will be installed at the corners of the room so they can fit properly. Whether you are making the cut with a utility knife or vinyl tile cutter, the cuts should be as clean as possible so they can sit nicely at the corners and next to each other.
Once you have cut the tiles, place them at their appropriate corners to see if they fit. If you are satisfied with how everything looks, remove the tiles from the floor and get ready to start your installation.
Before the installation, though, you may want to quickly sweep or wipe the linoleum with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust that the cut tiles may have left on the floor. If you are going to use a wet rag, however, allow the floor to completely dry before you start.
Step 5: Install Your Vinyl Flooring
You are going to lay your vinyl tiles from the wall furthest from the door. To start, use a trowel to spread the adhesive over the linoleum flooring. Then place each tile onto its appropriate spot and press it into the glue.
Follow the layout and pattern you determined in the dry run to make sure your new floor is exactly as you want it. When you’re finished, use a dry piece of cloth to wipe any adhesive oozing from the seams.
Step 6: Press the Tiles With a Floor Roller
Once you have glued your new flooring in place, roll a floor roller over it a couple times. It will press the tiles some more onto the ground, which will help them adhere firmly to the linoleum.
As you move the roller over the flooring, you may notice some adhesive coming out of the tile edges. Wipe this off with a clean rag.
Step 7: Allow Your New Flooring to Dry
Congratulations! You have finished installing your vinyl floor over linoleum. Now, give the floor enough time to dry. You want to leave it for at least 24 hours so the vinyl can firmly bond with the linoleum.
Step 8: Reinstall the Baseboards
Once the floor has completely dried, put the baseboard trim back in place. If you pried out the boards carefully, you may still be able to reuse them.
But some people prefer to use a baseboard trim that matches the color of the flooring. If that’s the case and your old trim is still in good shape, you could paint it in a color that is similar to your new flooring. Just make sure to do it outside to avoid paint drops or spills. You’ll also want the paint to completely airdry before reinstalling the boards.
Step 9: Move Your Furniture Back Into the Room
Bring everything you took out of the room back and set it at its appropriate spot. It’s important that you don’t drag the heavy furniture and appliances across the room, as this could leave scuff marks on your new flooring. If an item is too heavy, have someone help you lift it.
Additional Tips for Installing Vinyl Floors Over Linoleum
- Wear a pair of gloves before you start your installation. It will protect your hands from unnecessary cuts and prevent them from coming into contact with the chemicals in the adhesive. Wear a mask too so you don’t inhale the volatile organic chemicals outgassed by the new flooring.
- Because linoleum is waterproof, you don’t need underlayment to lay vinyl over it. Just make sure the floor is smooth, level, and in good condition and you won’t have any problems with the installation.
- Keep your doors and windows open for the next two weeks or so after the installation; it will help get rid of the ‘new floor smell’ quickly.
If you are looking to update your old linoleum floor to vinyl without having to spend the whole day ripping out the current flooring, you can use the steps shared here to properly lay your vinyl floor over the existing linoleum.