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Frequently Asked Questions: Luxury Vinyl Flooring - Installation

Frequently asked questions about luxury vinyl flooring installation

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We do not provide installation services but have no fear as there are many high-quality contractors in your state and the majority will be eager to provide a free estimate over the phone or in the comfort of your own home.  We recommend that you check out our helpful article titled 7 Tips For Choosing A Floor Installer.

No, our Luxury Vinyl Plank floors with SPC Core do not require acclimation. They come ready-to-install via the click-lock floating method!

This depends on several factors mostly related to the current condition of the sub-floor.  If the subfloor is observed to be sagging, it is recommended that you install the planks in a perpendicular direction compared to the joists.  This is a call you'll want your installer to make as he/she will need to inspect the sub-floor prior to installation. 

You can glue down or nail down our solid bamboo floors to a plywood subfloor. You can also float our engineered and rigid core floors (bamboo and LVP) over plywood. Our LVP floors come with pre-attached underlayment, so you don't need to add an extra sound barrier, but for our engineered bamboo floors we recommend either a) floating them over a 3 in 1 underlayment, or b) using the glue-down method with an adhesive with sound barrier for additional sound insulation.

Vinyl flooring can usually be laid directly on top of a concrete slab, but you'll want to be careful with excessively wet slabs (emitting more than 20 lbs per sq ft of moisture) or you may have mold issues down the line. 

LVP flooring is extremely low maintenance. For residential homes, sweep or vacuum flooring once a week or more often in heavy traffic areas. Clean up spills right away. Use a light mop as needed for a deeper clean.

For high traffic commercial businesses, sweep or vacuum LVP flooring every evening, and wipe up spills right away. To clean dirt left behind from sweeping or vacuuming, use a mop dampened with warm water. If using soap or a cleaning agent is necessary, however, ensure the cleaner is designed for LVP flooring.

Check out the full LVP Flooring Maintenance Guide here!

Yep! Ambient® LVP can be installed on, below, or above grade. These floors are an excellent option for an entire house including kitchens, baths, and laundry rooms. Because of their durability, they are also ideal for high traffic businesses like restaurants, medical facilities, and retail shops.

LVP floors typically require fewer tools and less time to install than hardwoods, and average labor costs to install luxury vinyl plank flooring is usually around $1.50-$6 per square foot. Installers will modify their pricing based on a variety of factors such as: moving of furniture, removal of existing flooring, leveling of the subfloor, installation moldings required, inside delivery charges, to name a few.  Some installers (mainly from flooring stores) will try to convince you to buy their floor brands so that they can make money off the products as well as the installation. Any carpenter, handyman, or homeowner can install our floors, we just recommend they follow our handy LVP flooring installation guide.

As a general rule of thumb, floors that are nailed down or glued down (our solid bamboo, solid eucalyptus, and non-SPC core engineered bamboo floors) can be installed under cabinets and islands, and floors that are floated (our rigid core LVP and click-lock bamboo floors) should not be installed under cabinets or islands. 

Note about floating bamboo floors: The primary reason these floors should not be installed under cabinets is because pinning down a long run of a floating floor made of natural materials/wood may inhibit its ability to expand and contract beneath the weight of the cabinets.

For a thorough section about Sub-floor Preparation, we strongly recommend reading the bamboo and eucalyptus flooring installation guide here.

The general advice below is for informational purposes only, as you should always consult each floor's specific/official installation guide before making your determination.  Some general sub-floor requirements:

  •     Must be structurally sound
  •     Must be clean - thoroughly swept and free of all debris
  •     Must be level - flat to 3/16" per 10-foot radius
  •     Must remain dry year-round. The moisture content of a wood subfloor must not exceed 12%. Concrete subfloors, crawl spaces, and floors that emit more than 12% moisture will need to be addressed with a vapor barrier.

Important note about Gypcrete: Gypcrete will sometimes exhibit a layer of debris that floats to the surface while being poured. This is usually obvious and if it occurs will need to be removed with coarse open grit paper on a buffer until a solid surface is reached. You will then use a diluted coat of acrylic primer to seal the surface; however, it must soak in and not leave a film. Once the gypcrete is prepped and primed you can proceed with a normal installation.

A note about Lauan/Luan/Luaun: While most urethane adhesives bond to Luan and thus you could glue our floors down to it, Luan is generally considered an unstable substrate for tile or hardwood flooring. It doesn’t have much strength, so it may contribute to squeaking or bouncing. Our recommendation is always to remove it before installing a new floor.

Wood subfloors must be dry and well secured. For nail-down installations, nail or screw every 6" along joists to avoid squeaking. If the subfloor is not level, sand down high spots and fill low spots with an underlayment patch or self-leveler such as Bostik Duralevel 83P Self-Leveling Underlayment.

Concrete must be fully cured, at least for 60 days. If it is not level, grind down high spots and fill low spots with a leveling compound. The concrete must be flat to 3/16" per 10- foot radius. All concrete must be tested for moisture and the appropriate vapor barrier urethane adhesive must be used to account for the moisture emission level.  We recommend reading our full installation guide for details.

Almost all of our floors can be installed over radiant heat, however, different floor types have different requirements so we recommend checking each floor's "Specifications" section on its product detail page on this website, find the row labeled "RADIANT HEAT SAFE" that will tell you if it can be installed over radiant heat or not. 

Additional important note: In the same Specifications section, you will see a link to the installation guide for that floor - please note there is a specific and detailed section in each floor's installation guide pertaining to installation over radiant heat, and maintenance of the floors over radiant heat, and we strongly suggest you read that section of the installation guide to avoid voiding your warranty!

To ensure a successful installation of your LVP floor, properly prepare your subfloor by ensuring it is clean, dry, flat, and in good structural shape. The required flatness of the subfloor is 3/16" in 10' or 1/8" in 6'.

Yes! Rolling office chairs tend to collect grime, dirt, and small rocks under the wheels, which eventually damage the finish of every floor including ours.  Always use a chair mat under rolling office chairs.  It is also advised that you use felt pads under furniture and chairs to avoid damaging the finish.

We recommend that you always carefully measure your walls to determine how many moldings you'll need, however a quick ratio used by many installers is to order 30% of the total flooring square footage.  For example, if you’re installing 1,000 sq ft of flooring you'll need roughly 300 linear feet of perimeter trim moldings.  It also depends on how many cuts need to be made, but that rough estimate will get you started. For additional help with measurements for your project, check out our Square Footage Calculator (+ more)!

If you constantly keep your indoor humidity at a level of 40%-60%, then you do not have any run limits on your floating floor. This humidity level can be maintained via a humidity modulator (typically as a part of an HVAC system), standalone humidifiers/dehumidifiers, or naturally. The latter is considering that some geographic areas have relatively stable humidity year around (like Southern California or Florida), so run limits usually aren't an issue in those areas. In general, run limits are not a prominent concern for LVP flooring, and they can be installed in any run length - regardless of which direction.

Our bamboo, eucalyptus, and LVP flooring has been installed around the world and in many different types of structures such as homes, restaurants, libraries, and more. However, it is only warranted for indoor use and when installed for its intended use (as flooring).  For our bamboo floors specifically, you can read all about the process in our official bamboo flooring installation guide.

Bamboo, hardwood, and vinyl floors should be kept at least 18-24 inches away from high-heat sources or the heat can dry them out and cause irreparable shrinkage.  Here are 2 rules of thumb to follow and you should be just fine:

1. Install the flooring at least 2 feet away from the stove by putting in an apron of brick/stone/similar around the stove.

2. Acclimate the flooring that will be installed near the stove in the same area where it will be installed, with the stove turned on (no closer and no farther than where it will be installed).

The standard requirement for all wood flooring (including bamboo) is that you maintain proper interior humidity levels between 40%-60%.  As long as your installer follows our installation instructions, and those interior humidity settings are maintained, you'll have a trouble-free and super durable floor for a long time. Meanwhile, vinyl flooring is generally stable outside of that range, but you still want to avoid extreme temperatures (outside of 35 degrees to 85 degrees) and humidity (outside of 10%-80%).

Yes, you can store flooring boxes in a covered building outside of the home under the following conditions:

  • The boxes are protected from the elements (moisture, rain, snow, etc).
  • The boxes are not open or cut.
  • The temperature does not drop below freezing.
  • The boxes are sitting on top of a pallet or other substrate that keeps them at least 5 inches off of the ground, and the ground is not wet.

 

BAMBOO/EUCALYPTUS FLOORS: Remember, storing boxes in a garage or non-climate controlled space is not considered acclimation.  In fact, for floors that are stored in a garage/shed first, we recommend acclimating them at least 2-3 extra days on top of the normal acclimation period.  The boxes will still need to be brought into the space in which they're going to be installed first (for acclimation) as per our installation instructions.

Yes! LVP floors experience little to no expansion and contraction throughout their lifetime, so you can sit heavy furniture on top without issue.

We do not recommend installers. However, you have several options available to you to locate a good installer:

  • Ask friends and family. Someone you know has had wood flooring installed within the last 5 years. Ask neighbors, friends, family and coworkers if they were happy with their wood floor installer and if so get their name. Contractors appreciate word-of-mouth referrals and some may even offer a "neighborhood" discount. Yelp is also a good way to find installers; look for those with a minimum of 3-5 reviews.
  • Do your homework. If a contractor disparages a certain product and tries to convince you to buy one of their own floors, be wary. Sometimes this is done because of a bad experience with a low quality brand in the past, and other times they're trying to earn an extra commission from a product distributor.
  • Get at least 3 estimates. Most installers will give you a free estimate over the phone or charge a small fee (from $20-$50) to do an in-home estimate. Try to cover all bases and ask as many questions as possible to get a good sense of their experience and knowledge.
  • Pay a fair wage. Doing price comparisons is vital for you as a consumer. The vast majority of floor installers are honest, hard-working men and women that charge a fair wage and are working to support their families. If they go above and beyond it doesn't hurt to give them a tip at the end of the project.
  • Request a warranty. The best installers are confident in their installation skills and will offer a warranty to back up their workmanship.
  • Plan ahead. You'll want to assume that most installers are booked up with jobs for the ensuing 2-3 weeks, so the earlier you start getting estimates the better off you'll be. Also remember that most of our bamboo floors require at least a 3-day acclimation period, so you'll need to factor that into your plans as well.

The fastest method to take up cured adhesive is to use grinding machines. A clean and less toxic one is a dustless diamond grinder. If you need to scrape glue out of a smaller space, Sentinel is a brand that makes some good non-toxic adhesive removers that will soften the adhesive to allow it to be scraped up easier.

No, you should never add any substance (glue, silicone, etc) in between the click-lock profile/mechanism.  In fact, you'll want to ensure that the click-lock profile/,mechanism is clear and free of all debris prior to clicking the planks together or else you could compromise the stability of the connection.

Most designers and installers will lay the flooring longitudinally so that it is parallel to the longest run or wall in the installation.  There are some exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb.

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