Flooring That Fits

By: Danny Lipford
Homeowner John Richards and Danny Lipford install vinyl flooring.

Homeowner John Richards and Danny Lipford after installing vinyl flooring.

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The type and style of flooring in your house has a big impact on the look and feel of your home. We’re exploring some innovative, DIY friendly flooring options that make installing a new floor in your home a whole lot easier.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Flooring


  • Installation is not DIY friendly.
  • Can be hard to keep clean.
  • Fibers hold dust and allergens.
  • Pet can cause damage and odor.

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

  • Glued installation isn’t very DIY friendly.
  • Fairly durable and easy to clean.
  • Glued down, some can be taped in place.
  • Inexpensive.
Staining hardwood flooring.

Staining hardwood flooring before finishing.

Hardwood Flooring

  • Installation of many types is not DIY friendly.
  • Prefinished engineered wood flooring is easier to install.
  • Durable and easy to clean.
  • Can be nailed or glued down.

Laminate Flooring

  • Installation is very DIY friendly.
  • Floating floor that requires no adhesive.
  • Fairly durable and easy to clean.
  • Easy to remove and replace.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

  • Installation can be a DIY project but requires some expertise.
  • Very durable and easy to clean.
  • Provides big improvement for small investment.
  • Most types are glued down but locking tile is available.
DIY laminate flooring installation.

DIY laminate flooring installation.

Subfloor Requirements for Flooring

Tile Flooring

  • Concrete: Tile can be glued directly to concrete with thin-set adhesive if the slab is clean and defects are filled with floor patch compound.
  • Vinyl: Tile can be glued directly to vinyl with thin-set adhesive if the vinyl is glued securely to the subfloor.
  • Plywood: Tile should not be glued directly to a plywood subfloor. Instead, glue and screw ½” cement backer board to the plywood, then tape and fill seams before applying tile.

Laminate Flooring

  • Underlayment: Lay a thick sheet of underlayment material on the subfloor.
  • Expansion Gap: Leave a gap for expansion where laminate flooring meets walls.

Installing Vinyl Flooring Without Adhesive

Congoleum AirStep Evolution ($2.75/sq. ft.) is a flexible vinyl sheet flooring with a fiberglass backing that’s thicker than traditional vinyl flooring. This allows it to be installed either with or without adhesive.

To install vinyl flooring without adhesive:

  1. Remove any loose or damaged flooring, fill holes with floor patch, and allow to dry.
  2. Remove shoe molding around the perimeter of the room.
  3. Installing vinyl flooring.

    Installing vinyl flooring.

  4. Cut vinyl flooring several inches oversize with a utility knife.
  5. Apply double stick tape around the perimeter of the room, without removing the backing.
  6. Align the vinyl flooring along two adjoining walls. If needed, trim the flooring to fit.
  7. Peel backing off tape on the aligned walls, and stick flooring to it.
  8. Cut the flooring to fit the other two walls with a utility knife.
  9. Remove the tape backing, and stick the flooring down.
  10. Reinstall shoe molding around the perimeter of the room.
  11. Attach thresholds in the doorways of the room.
Installing Cliks tile flooring.

Installing Cliks snap together tile flooring.

Installing Floating Tile Floor

For a more DIY friendly approach to tile flooring, consider Cliks floating tile floor from the Daltile Campisi collection. The porcelain tile has a polyurethane backing that locks together without the need for adhesive or grout.

To install a floating tile floor:

  1. Remove shoe mold or quarter round around the perimeter of the room.
  2. Finished Cliks tile floor.

    Finished Cliks tile floor.

  3. Remove toilet (LiquiLock powder can be added to the toilet bowl to gel the water for easy removal) and/or appliances.
  4. Use spacers to leave a 5/16” to 3/8” expansion gap between the tile and walls.
  5. Click and tap each tile in place to lock together.
  6. Cut tile to fit around walls, corners, and toilets with a wet saw.
  7. Cover expansion gap with shoe mold or self-adhesive vinyl baseboard.
  8. Reinstall toilet and/or appliances.

Cliks locking tile and are available at The Home Depot.

You can find more on this subject in our Flooring Category.

Other Tips from This Episode

Trimming Door Bottom

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Trimming Door Bottom

To trim the bottom of a door after a new floor has been installed, put a ½” block of plywood on the floor and measure up to the bottom of hinge on the door casing. Measure the same distance from the bottom of the hinge on the door.

Ryobi Portable Flooring Saw

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ryobi Portable Flooring Saw

The Ryobi Portable Flooring Saw with 5” diameter blade is perfect for ripping and crosscutting laminate flooring. The lightweight aluminum construction makes the saw easy to carry, and the dust collection system keeps dust to a minimum. The Ryobi Portable Flooring Saw is available at The Home Depot.

Stained wood floor

Ask Danny Lipford:
Removing Stains from Wood Floors

Stains that penetrate beneath the finish in wood floors can be difficult to remove and may require sanding and refinishing. Before going to that extreme, try applying hydrogen peroxide to the stain or using a rejuvenator floor cleaner to see if the stain can be removed.



Please Leave a Comment

7 Comments on “Flooring That Fits”

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  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    July 13th, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maryt,
    The comment section below each post on our site is for visitors to post their opinion and communicate with each other. Often questions posted as comments are answered on our radio show , so check our recent shows at http://www.todayshomeowner.com/radio/category/past-shows/ to see if you question has been answered. You can also fill out our contact form at http://www.todayshomeowner.com/contact/ask/ to send us your home improvement question directly. Question submitted using our contact form are also often answered on our radio show. If they are, an email reply is sent to the person who submitted it, letting them know which show it was answered on. Thank you for your interest!

  • maryt Says:
    July 12th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    How do you get a reply to your comment?

  • Aimee Hotchkiss Says:
    July 10th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    My home is 30 years old and is on a concrete slab. We have removed 3 layers of flooring which has left a black film of glue from the first layer, we believe was thin tile. Will we need to remove this black sticky glue before we tile the floors? Thanks!

  • mary t Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I have a house about 4ft off the ground in the woods on Daupkin Island. My den has plywood floors. I am thinking about vinyl plank floors. Is there any special prep for the floor? Will this be a good choice?

  • Sandi B3 Says:
    March 31st, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Today you talked about rejuvenator floor cleaner to try for removing stains. Can you list some brand names, please?
    Thank you!

  • D. Holt Says:
    November 29th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    You mentioned rejuvenator floor cleaner to try for removing stains. Please supply some brand names.
    Thank you!

  • D. Wilson Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I am installing laminate 12 mm floor, in the hall, what is best to use for the transition from the laminate to carpet, that is smooth and not a bump up. Also, the laminate in front of a fireplace,would like the floor to go under the hearth so that molding don’t have to be used, please help, and thank you.

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