How to Lay a Vinyl Composite Floor – Playroom Makeover Update

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Inside: A full description and explanation of how to lay vinyl composite flooring in a below-grade basement. We used Taiga flooring in Anaheim; how to cut vinyl composite and how to get it to level and click together properly. 

Can you hear it? The excitement in my voice/typing about this latest playroom makeover update?! The biggest part of the room is nearly complete. And I’ve already had so many questions over on Instagram I figured I might as well write down my thoughts, experiences with how to lay a vinyl composite floor.

We’ve done a few flooring projects now and this one is by far my favourite. We lay barn board flooring over concrete in the other half of the basement (update: we ended up pulling it up four years later), and we also just finished laying peel and stick tile in our main floor powder room. 

Laying Vinyl Composite Flooring
What we learned laying vinyl composite flooring – it is easy to do if you follow the instructions exactly!

When Does a Vinyl Floor Make Sense in a Basement?

First of all, yes – we went with a vinyl floor in the basement. In case you’re just tuning in, we had the jankiest of wood floors down here that hundo-p had to come up. We spent a weekend demolishing the old floor and then another couple of weekends laying subflooring. Since that has all come together, I’ve stuck pretty true to my original design plan, although a few things have changed. For one, we think we are going to go with a taller wall unit for storage instead of smaller bins. But I digress. One needs a floor before all else in this situation, so let’s talk about that. 

How to Pick your Vinyl Composite Flooring

We settled on a vinyl composite floor sold at Kent Building Supplies. (Kent did supply us the flooring for this project. I will be filming some fun DIY videos in partnership with them later this month for their website, so be sure to watch for those soon). Initially we thought we were going to be limited to laminate in the basement, but this Taiga ESSENTIEL product is more durable and is specifically designed for sub or below grade floors. 

I was a little worried about vinyl flooring to be honest because traditionally it hasn’t been very stylish. But honest to blog, I was blown away by the choices! We settled on the Anaheim in the Essentials line because I love how it reads grey in some areas and whitewashed in others, I think it will hide dirt well too! LOL 

How to Install Vinyl Composite Flooring

For the installation – I’m not gonna sugar coat this. We thought it was going to be easier than it was. I was like ‘oh ya NBD, 2 hours and whambo bambo, we’ll have a floor and then a dance off.” Dan didn’t believe me. Dan was correct. It definitely was a learning curve to figure out how to get the planks to click and connect just right. In fact, we laid about five rows and then realized we hadn’t been clicking them firmly enough and took them out and redid them. 

Not to say it’s not easy. It’s totally easy to do. You just have to do it 100% properly to get it to look awesome. One thing we did do correctly was measure to see if we had to rip our first row – and, of course, because our house is ALWAYS the exception – we laid out the boards and there was a measly 2 inches of space before the door. With that small amount left at the end of a room, it’s recommended that you rip your first boards in half so that you don’t end up with a tiny 2 inch strip against any one wall. To do that, we used a jig and a circular saw. *Note* that created a TON of particulate dust. Like more than I think it would’ve created from wood. 

How to cut vinyl composite flooring (the hard way and the easy way)

We also experimented with cutting the boards using a mitre saw. It worked (obviously), but wasn’t worth the walk to the other room and the mess, so we followed the manufacturer’s instructions and just scored and snapped the end pieces to fit against the walls. (Damn our janky basement walls that aren’t straight in any sense whatsoever. Not ONE measurement was the same as any other!) 

All in all, both Dan and I agree we’d recommend this flooring product. We give it a solid 7.5/10 when it comes to ease of install and a 9/10 for looks. I can’t comment on the durability yet. But as soon as I get LB and Buddy down here for a shindig, I’ll report back. 

Other posts about Vinyl Plank Flooring

I definitely did a lot of online research before we bought and installed this floor and to be honest, most of what I found in the blog world was related to cleaning a vinyl plank floor. I guess some people are afraid to clean it with water because of moisture issues. So here are some other posts I found useful.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom has vinyl sheet flooring and explains how she cleans it.

Love Create Celebrate installed a different kind of vinyl flooring that we did.

And if you end up with vinyl floor that you can’t replace and want to makeover, check out Designer Trapped’s tutorial for how to paint over it and have it last.

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