How to Prepare Concrete for a Linoleum Floor


The preparation of concrete for a linoleum floor is crucial to having a beautiful linoleum floor that will give you many years of enjoyable use. Spending a few hours getting the surface prepped will help guarantee that the linoleum floor will perform properly and will not present problems from moisture, or rough or uneven areas that can cause failure in linoleum flooring. Following the steps in this article will apply whether prepping a concrete slab or a basement floor for installing linoleum.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum and broom
  • Waterproof marker
  • Self-leveling compound
  • Level
  • Sandpaper or sander
  • Plastic
  • Waterproof sealant
  • Saw
  • Plywood underlayment
  • Safety glasses
  • Remove everything out of the area or room to begin preparing the concrete. Thoroughly sweep or vacuum the area. Visually inspect the concrete for rough of low areas. Mark any areas that will require extra attention with a waterproof marker.

  • Fill in any low areas with self-leveling filler designed for concrete use. Follow the manufacturer's directions. Check when dry with a level and sand down any high areas. Sand any rough areas or high spots in the concrete floor.

  • Cover the concrete floor with 4 to 6 mm plastic, or paint the floor with a water sealant paint. Check the product for drying time, and ventilate the area when applying. Installing linoleum on concrete without a moisture barrier can lead to failure of the linoleum adhesive.

  • Install plywood underlayment if the concrete is very rough. Lay a plastic moisture barrier under the plywood to avoid the plywood being damaged and eliminate buckling. Stagger the seams and leave a one-sixteenth-inch expansion gap between the underlayment sheets. Fill the seams with self-leveling compound and sand smooth. Leave the same distance for expansion at the walls. Allow at least 24 hours for the plywood to adjust to the climate in the area where it is applied.

  • Trim the door casings by undercutting the area nearest the floor to allow clearance for the new linoleum flooring. Remove the doors, and if prepping a bathroom floor, remove the toilet. Remove the baseboards if present. Sweep or vacuum the floor just before starting the linoleum installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Careful preparation is the key to longevity of linoleum flooring.
  • Use safety glasses when sanding or chipping concrete.

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