A step-by-step tutorial to install luxury vinyl plank flooring quickly and easily, plus why it’s the best floor material for kids and pets.
After knocking down shelves, ripping out old carpet, and building a gigantic wall of built-in cabinets, we are finally starting to get to the pretty part of the Carney project… FLOORS!
Why We Chose LVP Flooring
Since the Carney family has 9 energetic kiddos, we knew this project would need floors that are DURABLE.
It needed to be waterproof, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, DIY-friendly, budget-friendly, and most of all it needed to be beautiful. ProCore Floors luxury vinyl plank flooring ticked all of those boxes.
ProCore Floors came to our rescue to provide all of the flooring for this space. It’s exclusively at Lowe’s and available nationwide.
Honestly, I was intimidated by this one because we had never installed luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring before.
Spoiler alert: It was extremely easy, and I had nothing to be scared about.
Remember the old stained carpet this room was rockin’ before?
The best part is once we put down a new plywood subfloor to cover the existing unlevel floor we found under the carpet, we didn’t have to mess with any other prep.
The ProCore LVP flooring floats right over top of most level flooring surfaces to make the process go quickly and easily.
We let the planks acclimate in the room for 48 hours so that we wouldn’t have to worry about them expanding or contracting.
Choosing the Best Color
I don’t like choosing colors for anything online because they can look so different on screen. Thankfully, you can visit a nearby Lowe’s to get samples for free to compare in your room in person, or you can order samples online.
Before choosing the flooring, we debated between 5 different color samples out of their 20 options: Tudor Oak, Warm Honey Oak, English Grove Oak, Meadow Oak, and Crescent Oak.
The Meadow Oak color was the ultimate winner for us since it’s the perfect classic medium/dark brown and flowed well with the other existing floors in the Carneys’ house.
We didn’t want to go too rustic or farmhouse with these, so that eliminated the gray-toned floors for us.
The hand-scraped texture of the planks look and feel just like real wood!
Here’s how they’ll look with the rest of the room once it comes together.
- All-in-1 Flooring Kit
- Rubber Mallet
- Knee Pads
- Utility Knife
- Speed Square
- Extra spacers if needed
- Chalk Line
- Jigsaw (optional)
- Tape Measure
- Contour Gauge (optional)
- Oscillating Multi-Tool
- Painter’s Tape
Prep and Plan
1. If you haven’t already, remove your baseboards and any existing flooring. You can reuse your existing baseboards by scoring the caulk lines and gently prying them off of the wall with a pry bar. Or you can choose to keep the baseboards on the wall and just remove the shoe molding instead.
2. Decide on your layout. It’s best to position your flooring so that it’s parallel to the longest wall. Start the first row on a wall with a doorway so that you can easily slide it underneath the door jamb.
3. Measure your room before you begin.
4. Then measure your flooring planks (minus the gray locking edge) to calculate how many planks across you’ll use. This is so you can plan ahead to make sure you don’t end up with an awkward cut on the very last row of your flooring.
For us, we found that we would end up with a 1″ cut on the last row if we started the floor with a full-width plank. So we trimmed 2 inches off of our starting row of planks to have a 3″ cut on the last row.
5. Place flooring spacers around the perimeter of the room with painter’s tape. These allow an expansion gap.
6. Because walls are hardly ever completely straight, use a chalkline to mark your starting row on the subfloor.
7. Drill the metal piece for your transition strip at any doorways. You’ll place the vinyl strip on it later, after the planks are installed.
8. Finally, undercut your door jambs with an oscillating multi-tool so the planks can slide underneath them. You can use a utility knife or putty knife to remove any wood debris from underneath the door jamb.
Clic Vinyl Floor Installation
This is where we trimmed the width of the planks for our first row marked with the chalk line and adjusted the measurement slightly on each plank to account for the starting wall that wasn’t completely straight.
9. You can cut the planks by using a utility knife to score along a straight edge a few times, then bend the plank until it snaps.
For trickier cuts, you can cut them with a jigsaw using a carbide blade. Mark your cut beforehand using a straight edge and a pencil.
10. Start at the left corner of the room. This allows for the locking mechanism to be exposed on the right side of the first plank.
11. As you install the row, lock the joint of the first plank into the next plank and push it in until it clicks into place.
12. Angle the long edge of the plank slightly so that it locks into the parallel plank.
13. Use a tapping block and rubber mallet as needed to click the planks together.
14. Then tap the seams with the mallet to lock them in place.
Keeping an Eye on Your Layout
As you install, pay attention to your layout and try to keep it random without any sort of pattern. Keep plank ends at least 8 inches apart and avoid stepping rows. Open 4-5 boxes at a time and pull planks from the different boxes to avoid a pattern.
Lay out a row before snapping them in to check and make sure you don’t end up with two similar planks beside each other. The more random your layout, the more natural it looks.
15. If you get to any oddly shaped obstacles, a contour guide can help. Push it against the obstacle to make a mold of the shape.
16. Trace it onto the plank.
17. And cut with a jigsaw, making sure to leave room for an expansion gap.
18. Once your floor is completely installed, snap the transition strip into place over the metal piece in the doorway.
Protect Your Floors
Install the Baseboards
Place the baseboards back on the walls or place shoe molding over the expansion gap around the perimeter of the room, if you left the baseboards up. Use a miter saw for angled cuts and a coping saw at the corners to fit them together. Caulk any gaps and fill finishing nail holes with wood filler.
And that’s it! Built-ins CHECK! Floors CHECK!
Next comes paint and then this space will look way different!
But of course, we had to celebrate this stage with a few dance moves. Robert and I have completely different dance styles, if you can’t tell. 😉
Can you imagine light and bright walls?! And deep, moody built-ins? And colorful, happy kids’ art?! Eeeek! It’s going to be so good.