How to Prepare Subflooring for Vinyl Tile


After spending hours installing vinyl floor tile, the last thing you want to find are several bumps and lumps underneath it. Yet that's exactly what can happen if you don't take the time to prepare the subflooring for vinyl tile. The subfloor needs to be flat and free of any indentations, cracks, dirt and other hard particles like nail heads. Anything that's not patched, cleaned or leveled on the subfloor will show through to the vinyl tile.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Work light
  • Self-leveling underlayment
  • Plywood underlayment
  • Clean the subfloor by either sweeping or vacuuming the entire area. This helps to spot the imperfections.

  • Turn off the lights and shine a work light sideways across the subfloor to see where the imperfections are. For the areas that need to be repaired, pencil notes directly onto the subfloor.

  • Fill the gaps and cracks in the subfloor with a self-leveling underlayment. Also known as self-leveling compound, it's used to patch indentations in wood and concrete. When mixed properly, self-leveling underlayment takes on a milkshake-like consistency. It should be poured and feathered quickly, as it dries within 10 to 20 minutes. Sand the self-leveling underlayment when it's cured.

  • Install a plywood underlayment over the subfloor if you have many imperfections across the entire room. This is because a self-leveling underlayment dries so quickly that you may end up with additional dips and dents in your subfloor. Plywood underlayment can quickly level the subfloor and the vinyl can be directly applied to it.

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