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Vinyl Plank Flooring Cost & Installation Guide

We put together a comprehensive guide on vinyl plank flooring cost and installation. We included up to 4 free contractor quotes.

Finally owning your own house is one of the biggest milestones in life. However, having a house that looks great is what impresses your visitors, and flooring should definitely be part of the equation. The right flooring gets people talking. By itself, it’s a conversation starter.

So, whether you want to get new floors for your house or you are looking to renovate the old ones, selecting the right kind of flooring is crucial. If this is you, then you might want to consider vinyl plank flooring.

Not only is this type of flooring durable, it also looks great. Vinyl plank flooring has a huge variety of aesthetics, offers a better feel, and is easy to install.

So What is Vinyl Plank Flooring Anyway?

This is a flooring material that mimics the look and feel of materials like stone, wood, and ceramic. Technology has ensured that vinyl plank flooring offers the same kind of luxury these materials have to offer.

Vinyl plank comes in a number of layers. Vinyl is actually the backing and it is made of limestone and vinyl. Aluminum oxide is the top layer. Being the top layer allows it to prevent the floor from being damaged by scratching and UV rays.

Under the Aluminum oxide layer lies a clear film which also protects the floor from other damages like tears and rips which occur when we move heavy furniture around the house. There is a layer above the vinyl layer which is responsible for the realistic reflection of the floor. Whether the material is naturals tone, wood, ceramic tile, slate, this layer will make it appear reflective.

Why Consider Installing Vinyl Plank flooring?

Well, if you are going to install or replace your floors with vinyl plank flooring, there better be a pretty good reason right? Well, are some of the reasons we think this type of flooring should be part of your considerations:

Durability

Repairing floors can be exhausting, this is why getting a floor that will last a long time is very important. Vinyl plank flooring is made up of materials that can survive lots of redecorations. Besides its durability, it will make your flooring look stylish while doing it.

There is a reason you find vinyl flooring in hospitals, shopping malls, and schools – durability. If you buy the flooring from the right commercial operation, it comes with a warranty of fifteen years. This should give you confidence that the material is manufactured to last long, otherwise no way it would have fifteen years backing.

If you are a young family then this is even a better choice for you because this means that you won’t have to worry about replacing your floors. This type of flooring is durable because it has been made resistant to staining, water damage, and scratches.

So if you have kids or pets, you won’t have to worry about damaged floors. You won’t have a reason to clip your pet’s nails regularly.

Easy Maintenance

Let’s face it! Maintaining floors can be hectic sometimes. Whenever floors come into contact with water, they are exposed to breaking down and degradation. This is also the same in when natural materials and fibers come into contact with the floor.

The good news; with vinyl plank flooring, maintenance won’t be an issue. It has been designed to resist stains and spillages, even from hazardous items like ketchup, red wine, and orange juice. All you have to do whenever you spill wine or your kid spills ketchup is quickly wipe it with a mop or sponge and bam! Good as new!

If you get a contractor or pro to lay the flooring for you, it will sit flat making sure that sweeping and vacuuming is a hell lot easier to do. Thanks to the materials in vinyl plank floors, dirt has nowhere to hide.

Easy and Cheap to Install

Easy and cheap! Music to the ears right? If easy maintenance doesn’t cut, well, this might. With vinyl flooring, you don’t need to take out the existing floor, you can just lay it over which will allow you to save up on labor costs.

The fact that it is sold as planks which can be easily laid on the existing floors by professionals in just a few hours. They don’t even require glue to lock onto one another. For floor types like tiles and hardwood, a flat surface is required before installation which can be expensive. With vinyl flooring, this is not necessary.

Offers a Wide Variety of Flooring Options

With vinyl flooring, there are so many designs you can choose from. This is a huge bonus for those who love interior design because this will allow you to explore versatility and match the floor to your décor.

Looking at it technologically, vinyl flooring is a modern science miracle. Why? Well, because it comes with a polyurethane layer that allows it to take on the texture and feel of stone, clay tiles, or wood. This means that whatever you choose to go with, your friends or family won’t even know whether its fake or real.

The plank design is designed to mimic any standard flooring. This means that for every option, you have a matching choice. For instance, if you prefer a clean look, the sheet vinyl will achieve that for you. Sheet vinyl will make the floors in your bathroom or kitchen appear tidy and neat with a single step.

Soft Underfoot

Wondering whether the synthetic materials can allow comfortable underfoot? Well, it still can thanks to the tactile qualities in the materials used. The planks are actually soft and bear no risk to your feet. It offers a cozier indoor feel because it is softer than laminate. If you are a parent, you won’t even have to worry about your kids falling down.

It Looks Great!

You will also find it with a variety of finishes like smooth, low gloss, embossed, and hand-scraped for a more lived-in and rustic look.

Seeing that there are so many patterns and colors you can choose from, you have the chance to find the vinyl plank flooring that complements your décor and existing paint. And thanks to the durability of this flooring, even after years of installation, the flooring will still look amazing.

What You Should Consider Before Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring

All the advantages sound impressive, we know, but just because a Ferrari has all the great features doesn’t always mean we can afford to buy it right? So pros aside, what do you need to consider before installing vinyl plank flooring?

The Wear Layer Thickness

Vinyl planks flooring have a clear layer which is the wear layer and it plays a crucial role in the longevity, durability, and appearance of the flooring. It is the protection layer of the printed film vinyl design. However, the wear layers vary in thickness.

The professionals measure the thickness in mils. If you prefer the flooring to last longer, go for the thick wear layer. Make sure that the layer doesn’t exceed 28 mil because it will only add up to your cost or no apparent reason.

Warranty Available

As stated earlier, most commercial stores offer a warranty of 15 years for vinyl plank flooring. However, to be on the safe side, make sure you understand what the warranty entails. First thing you should do is carefully analyze the steps you are required to follow and what is covered by the warranty.

It is crucial to consider the longevity, credibility, and integrity of the manufacturing to make sure that in case of anything, they honor the warranty.

Is Your Space Suitable For Vinyl Planks Installation?

Before you decide to replace or repair your floor with vinyl planks, it is crucial to make sure that your space suitable, the success of the installation simply depends on that. One of the ways to make sure of this is by carrying out a moisture testing.

If you live in an environment with high moisture then your floors are prone to mildew and mold. This means that you have to make sure the space is less prone to moisture that might cause warping. Also consider the longevity of your flooring based on the environment you live in.

Your Budget

Yes! Money will determine whether or not you can install vinyl plank flooring. Whether you are repairing or replacing your floor, or just getting new floors, you will have to consider the installation costs as well as the costs of the materials.

Take a close look at how much you are willing to put into the project before you get into it. This boils down to how much it will cost to get the materials and how much you will have to pay the contractors.

Underlayment Differences of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl floorings are not installed the same. Understanding the underlayment differences and other accessories will help you determine the type that is best for your floor.

The Click Lock Flooring Underlayment

This underlayment system locks itself like the laminate flooring does. However, compared to laminate flooring, it has a thinner construction. Most vinyl floors are designed to be installed in the subfloor directly.

If you want to prevent any mildew or mold from trapping moisture under your vinyl plank flooring, then you might want to consider using the vapor barrier underlayment. This kind of underlayment is perfect for areas that may accumulate moisture or water on your concrete subfloor.

If you purchase vinyl that is above 4mm, you can use this type of underlayment to have more cushion or increase the height of your floor. The best underlayment that’s are specific to vinyl type of flooring are Floor Muffler or Perfect Mat Underlayment.

Before using the click lock underlayment system, make sure you read the instructions carefully before installing otherwise you may risk voiding your warranty.

Loose Lay Vinyl Underlayment

This is the easiest flooring system. You can install vinyl flooring without locking or using any glue on the subfloor. Because it can just sit on the subfloor, it doesn’t necessary require any underlayment. You won’t even need an expansion gap since it designed to fit against the wall perfectly.

Glue Down Vinyl Flooring

As the name suggests, glue is a necessity in this type of flooring. In this case, you need to make sure that the subfloor has no debris to avoid any slopped flooring or minor imperfections when you glue the floor to the subfloor.

Wood Plastic Composite Vinyl Plank Flooring

WPC is the newest flooring in the market. It comes at 5.5 mm or thicker which makes it thicker than all other vinyl plank floorings. You can install it right on top of the subfloor or with a LVC underlayment.

If you want to add sound reduction and cushion to your floor, purchase the WPC floor that have an attached cork underlayment. Same as the loose lay underlayment type, make sure you carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the WPC flooring.

So How Much Will it Cost You To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The good news is, vinyl plank flooring is affordable. If you maintain them well and have them perfectly installed by a professional, the floor can last you so many years. Depending on the type of flooring you select and the quality, the total cost will vary.

However, the overall cost of installing vinyl should fall between $1200 – $2000. The national average should therefore be somewhere between $1400. Since vinyl flooring can be easy to install, you can DIY or hire a professional. We always recommend hiring a professional to avoid any mishaps, in which case you will also need to cue in the cost of hiring a pro.

Different Forms of Vinyl and Cost Per Sq. Ft

Vinyl, like we mentioned earlier comes in different forms. They range from ultra-affordable, to cost of natural wood, to high-end forms. It is crucial to remember that the durability of the vinyl plank flooring you install will depend on the quality of the material you choose as well as the top wear layer.

Sheet Vinyl

Of all vinyl options, sheet vinyl is the most affordable so if you are working on a really tight budget, this might be the best option for you. It is stain and starch resistant which is perfect for families with kids and pets.

It is also excellent for high-moisture areas because it is waterproof. Per square foot, he cost ranges between $0.50 – $2.00. However, since it’s highly affordable it is not the best choice for your home’s value. In case of any damage, you will have to replace the entire sheet.

LVT

This is perfect for people who live in moisture-prone areas and for those looking to replicate stone tiles. LVT comes with faux wood tiles. It is resistant to scratches and stains due to the urethane on top layer. When it comes to replacement, it’s easier to replace than sheet vinyl and LVP.

It ranges between $2.50 -$5.00. The downside to LVT is the fact that it can’t be refinished. Make sure to check it for VOC emission scores before purchasing.

Commercial Vinyl

You can get commercial sheet vinyl at $1.00 – $2.00 and commercial luxury at $3.00 – $5.00. Both are designed to withstand any high traffic. Commercial vinyl can take a lot of beating because it uses special coating. They both come in ultra-realistic designs. However, if the top layer wears down you can refinish it.

LVP

LVP is perfect for those who want a faux wood floor. Once reinforced with urethane o make it for scratch and stain resistant. You don’t need nails or glue to install it over an existing floor. It ranges between $2.50 – $5.00. Compared to LVT they are more difficult to replace. They also can’t be refinished.

Vinyl Forms Cost Per Square Foot
Type Per Square Foot
Sheet Vinyl
$0.50 - $2.00
LVT $2.50 - $5.00
Commercial Vinyl
$1.00 - $5.00
LVP
$2.50 - $5.00

DIY or Hire a Professional?

Unless you have professional experience with DIY, we always recommend hiring a professional contractor. DIY can save up on labor. In fact for 2500 Sq Ft, you can save up to $5000. Essentially, labor will amount to about $36 per hour.

If you prefer to DIY you need to consider the right tools, safety, and the quality of the flooring. It may also take you longer than the professional unless you are also a pro. Hiring a contractor means that they come with their tools on site, and not just any tools but the right tools.

Contractors will also make sure that the flooring is installed correctly. It will also be easier for them to dispose and remove the previous materials. It boils down to whether or not you to risk improper installation and the expense of the time you want to spend.

The contractor will shop for all the materials at a discount, install your new floor which means removing the previous floor, and dispose the old construction materials.

DIY Materials and Tools

  • Average flooring cost – $1000 for 500 square foot
  • Caulking compound – $52 for 2 gallons
  • Underlayment – $26.97 per 500 square foot
  • Adhesive – $26 per 500 square foot
  • Steel hand roller – $20
  • Notched towel – $20
  • Handsaw – $18
  • Tape measure – $15
  • Putty knife set – $7
  • Utility knife – $5
  • Total cost amounts to about $1200
Average Cost for 2500 Square Foot
DIY Cost
$1200
Hiring a Professional $2200

Replacement and Installation Considerations

Before you work on your floors or have someone work on them, you have to make sure the expertise and accuracy is there. All the materials have to fit the dimensions of your interior. The floors need to be well secured with caulk, an underlayment, adhesives, insulation, molding, flooring trim, and anything else the project needs.

Water Concerns

Vinyl plank flooring is waterproof which makes it ideal for any room in the house. It can fit in the bathroom, kitchen, or even the basement without having to constantly worry about water damage. However, it is crucial to always consider the maintenance and repairs costs before installing vinyl flooring.

Aesthetic Concerns

Vinyl floorings come in wide variety of colors and prints on the surface layer. The downside however is that the colors fade overtime. Vinyl is easy to clean and maintain, all you need is sweep or vacuum with a cleaner that is approved by the manufacturer.

Eco-Friendly

Vinyl is made of PVC which is recyclable. However, always check with your local recycling center to know if PVC is approved in the area.

Bathroom, Kitchens, and Basements

Since vinyl is waterproof which means you can install them in the bathrooms, kitchen, or basement. Basically, any water-prone rooms in the house. However, if you live in a region prone to cold weathers, consider installing an underlayment.

Additional Costs

For adhesive purposes, you need to make sure that the surface is smooth before you install vinyl plank flooring. This means that underlayment is needed hence additional cost for the plywood.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Vinyl Floors

Let’s face it, where there is a floor, cleaning is eminent. However, all surfaces, especially floors cannot be cleaned and maintained the same way. The good news is, vinyl is easier to clean and maintain.

Cleaning

With vinyl flooring, basic water and a mop will clean the floor. You can also settle for a broom or a lightweight vacuum to remove the dirt from the floors. If you have kids or pets, then you may have to clean on a regular basis. In this case, finding a cleaning substance that works best for the type of vinyl flooring in your house is essential.

If you live alone you can boil it down to just sweeping. Essentially, use your detergent, soap, or vinegar on your mop. Make sure the mop can be used on vinyl planks. Therefore, avoid mops with wires, stiff bristles, or built-in scrub brush to avoid damaging the floor.

Avoid using cleaning products like paste wax polish, wired brush scrubbing, and ammonia-based cleaning products. These are harsh products that will break down the planks and lead to cracks. After cleaning, always make sure you carefully rinse off the plank floor before drying it out.

Maintenance

Cleaning is important, no doubt about that but so is maintenance. The easiest maintenance tip is to put white vinegar in warm water and damp the mop in. With the mop clean the vinyl planks to keep them good as new.

To avoid ruining the vinyl floor avoid using wired scrubbing pads and strong rough cleaners. You can also go a step further and coat the floor with polish. The polish will protect the floor against wear and tear. To get more from vinyl floors, it is crucial to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Downside of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Where there is good there is evil, and where there is an advantage there is also a disadvantage. Cons that come with vinyl plank flooring include:

High Volatile Organic Compounds

Well, it is not uncommon to find VOC in décor products, that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe, it’s not! VOC happens to be a by-product of PVC which is a major component of vinyl planks. Even though they can cause skin irritation and eye problems, they are not as damaging to your health.

Can Potentially Damage Resale Value

Believe it or not, with all the pros we mentioned earlier of vinyl planks, they are not as valued as they hypothetically should be. This mean that as a result, the home value is reduced as well. This is the case because most people prefer wood and stone flooring. So if you plan to sell your house someday, then you might need to think twice about installing vinyl planks in your house

Susceptible to Certain Damages

Like we stated above, vinyl has been designed to resist stains and scratches which means its not easily prone to damage by kids and pets like other types of floors. However, they can still be exposed to damage if exposed to sufficient force.

Not as Easy to DIY

The planks look easy to install right? Well, for professionals yes, for DIY, not likely so. This is especially difficult if you have to install the planks on tiles. For professionals, installing plank floors is not difficult for them making them the best bet for you.

Pros Cons
Extremely durable
Easy and cheap to install
Easy to clean and maintain
Variety of vinyl planks
Soft underfoot
X Not easy to DIY install
X Prone to certain damages
X High VOC content
X Can damage resale value

Final Verdict

If you like good things, vinyl planks is it. It is good looking, durable and easy to install. However, like everything else in this world, budgeting is a major factor. The cost of vinyl plank flooring is affected by the price of vinyl planks, the cost of dismantling the old floors, and the cost of removing furniture. That said, this is also eminent to the professionals you hire.

The good news is, installing vinyl planks isn’t as expensive as other flooring which is a bonus since they are very long lasting. With or without kids, with the right cleaning and maintenance, the floor can last up to 15 years.

Vinyl planks are basically perfect for a flooring product. It is practically indestructible, cheap in the long and short term aspect, and versatile.

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