How To Raise Vinyl Plank Flooring

If a part of a subfloor has a height difference or is uneven, you will need to level or raise the vinyl plank flooring. What are the steps to do this? How can you elevate the floor properly without mess and damage? Find out what you need to know from this post, as we share information from professional flooring contractors.

Underlayment is the way to raise vinyl plank flooring for floor proportion. Vinyl plank has protective layers, but it's not enough to have that thickness to level your whole flooring. Follow these steps to raise an uneven subfloor for vinyl plank flooring through underlayment:

  1. Choose the best underlayment that works with your subfloor.
  2. Remove dust or dirt particles and oil.
  3. Clean and dry the subfloor completely.
  4. Place the underlayment in the direction opposite to your flooring.
  5. Install the underlayment starting from one corner to the opposite side of the room.
  6. Make a two-inch border on every side to be trimmed out later.
  7. Place the rest of the underlayment continuously with no overlap.
  8. Secure the underlayment with special seam tape or good-quality duct tape.

For a concrete subfloor, patching a layer of concrete can even it out if there's a big height difference. You can smooth out the bumpy subfloor by adding a layer of wood, such as particleboard or plywood. For slight differences, an underlayment will do the job.

Underlayment requires knowledge of the best or appropriate materials and tools. Continue reading this post for a guide to working with vinyl plank flooring and underlayment, and making your project flawless.

Raising Vinyl Plank Flooring

Laying Laminate Flooring. Yellow film vapor barrier and green foam underlayments. Planks being put together - How To Raise Vinyl Plank Flooring

Underlayment is not optional in vinyl plank flooring installment. Aside from its other functions, it smooths out subfloor imperfections and roughness. It is installed right before the vinyl plank flooring or the finish layering.

Tools To Use

Preparing the subfloor and rolling out the underlayment will go smoothly if you use the right tools.

  • Safety gear: gloves, eye protector
  • Cleaning tools: sweeper or vacuum
  • Cleaning agents: mineral spirits to remove oil or degreaser; mix one part vinegar with one part water to get rid of the smell and for disinfection
  • Cutting tools: razor blade or saw (hard underlayment), utility knife (soft underlayment)
  • Sealing tape: sealing tape or duct tape; you may add glue for stability.

1. Choose the best underlayment for your subfloor.

different carpenter tools (rubber hammer, electrofret, joiner angle) on the laminated floor

Underlayment is made of different materials. To choose the correct underlayment, know the subfloor type. Adding additional underlying material that works well with the subfloor will instantly solve the issue. It will fill up the space achieving seamless vinyl plank flooring throughout the room.

Here's a list of underlayment materials that match the types of subfloor:

  1. Concrete subfloor: underlayment made of foam, felt, or cork
  2. Wood subfloor: underlayment made of felt
  3. Existing floor/subfloor: hard underlayments such as plywood or cement board

Check out this underlayment on Amazon.

Reliable Underlayment

If you're looking for an underlayment that works with both wood and bumpy concrete subfloors, QuietWalk underlayment is what you need. QuietWalk is comprised of solid recycled fibers. It blocks moisture, works with radiant heat, and is affordable. 

Click here to view this Quietwalk underlayment on Amazon.

2. Remove dust or dirt particles and oil.

Male hand cleaning and rubbing an hardwood floor with a microfiber cloth.

Of course, before putting another layer on your subfloor, you want to make sure that it will seal tightly with the adhesive. A dirty, oily surface makes the underlayment application difficult and allows a lot of liquid entry that can ruin the whole underlayment or even the subfloor.

You can use a degreaser for the cement or tile subfloor. Mix equal parts warm water and vinegar. Dampen a sponge or cloth with the mixture and wipe the area.

Click here to view this oil cleaner and degreaser on Amazon.

3. Clean and dry the subfloor completely.

Master Bathroom Remodeling and Renovation in Progress

Use a clean, dry mop to dry the subfloor quickly, or let it dry naturally. Open the windows to ventilate the room without a chance of developing any mold or damp corners. Setting some fans on the wet subfloor can also expedite the drying.

4. Place the underlayment in the direction opposite to your flooring.

Underlayment for laminate and laminate flooring. Laminate installation concept.

Do not install the underlayment in the same direction as your flooring. It should be placed in the opposite direction so that it will create a strong, flat structure. It will also help to have a good seal on the subfloor.

5. Install the underlayment starting from one corner to the opposite side of the room.

Home renovation. Polyethylene drainage membrane with fiber fabric that separates the substrate and the ceramic floor. Orange membrane waterproofing. Drainage system and waterproofing system for floor or terrace – roof

Start from the corner, not at the center. It will impede the momentum of having a one-way or straight application. You might end up cutting and fitting the underlayment if that's the case. Work your way out only on the edges but the main floor usually requires a simple application.

6. Make a two-inch border on every side to be trimmed later.

Parquet floor installation Oak tree wooden parquet flooring is installed over a soundproof, waterproof, heat reflective vapor barrier flooring underlayment with a silver foil.

Reserve a two-inch allowance of space on every side. The two-inch border will make sure that the sides have enough border to cover the edges. Putting all to the center may cause uneven layering leaving wide spaces without underlayment on the sides. It is also necessary when you seal the side underlayment.

7. Place the rest of the underlayment continuously with no overlap.

Underlayment for laminate and laminate flooring. Laminate installation concept.

Overlapping can cause warping or buckling. Make sure that the underlayment fits smoothly. Overlapping underlayment again can be annoying and allow dirt and water to get in.

There can be mold and loose vinyl planks if water gets under them. If you let moisture seep into the flooring, it will cause more damage. It can cause premature aging and the deterioration of your vinyl plank flooring.

8. Secure the underlayment with seam tape or good-quality duct tape.

The master connects the foam polystyrene backing plates with adhesive tape before laying the laminate - a layer of thermal insulation and sound insulation

Fastening every line and edge of the underlayment with tape creates a more even surface. It also makes the underlayment strong in structure not much relying on the flat subfloor. You should secure each roll together for a tighter and non-overlapping layer.

Check out this underlayment tape on Amazon.

Underlayment Considerations

There are many factors to consider in installing underlayment for durability and performance. Here are some things you should be aware of when using underlayment for your vinyl plank flooring:

  1. Use a thin layer of underlayment or, before adding layers, check if it will still be level with other rooms.
  2. Consider door openings and trim sizes.
  3. Always check the flooring instructions.
  4. Use the specific type of underlayment that suits your flooring needs. You may need to check with a flooring professional or ask for assistance.

Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Expand And Contract?

Yes. Vinyl plank flooring is receptive to fluctuating temperatures. The environment easily affects the vinyl. It expands and contracts during hot and cold weather.

Why Is My Vinyl Floor Buckling?

At high temperatures, you can experience a buckling of vinyl floors. With low temperatures, the floor contracts, causing spaces between the floor lines. Buckling can also happen because of moisture build-up, pulling a heavy object, or not leaving an allotted room for expansion.

How Flat Should A Floor Be For Vinyl Planks?

In the installation, the subfloor must be clean, completely dry, and flat. The floor should have a 3/16 in. in 10 ft. radius forbearance.

What Can I Use To Fill Gaps In Vinyl Flooring?

You can use double-sided tape and a small piece of lumber (4x4) to top up the gaps in vinyl flooring. Band the tape in the gaps with the lumber on top. Tap the bond using a rubber mallet to seal the gaps.

Check out this double-sided tape on Amazon.

Should You Caulk Around Vinyl Plank Flooring?

You can caulk the edges of your vinyl plank flooring. This blocks moisture from getting into your flooring, preventing bad odors and buckling.

Check out this sealant for vinyl on Amazon.

Can You Mop Vinyl Flooring?

You can use a microfiber mop for shining vinyl flooring. Moderately dampen the mop with water. Wipe spills or leaks right away to maintain stain-free flooring.

Check out this microfiber mop on Amazon.

What Should You Not Use On Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Some materials can harm your vinyl plank flooring. These are detergents, abrasive cleaning agents, and glossy mop cleaning products. Solutions such as paste wax, solvent-based shine, or ammonia-based cleaners can also damage your vinyl flooring.

How Do I Make My Vinyl Floor Look New Again?

You can make your vinyl floor look new again by polishing it with natural or homemade cleaners like apple cider vinegar and baking soda. After cleaning the floor, apply them to the floor as a finish.

Summing Up

Raising vinyl plank flooring requires precise measuring and the appropriate underlayment material. Having a vinyl flooring area in your house that you need to raise can be a DIY project. With this information in mind, you can create a smooth vinyl plank flooring surface.

Discover more about considering vinyl plank flooring in these posts:

Should Vinyl Flooring Go Under The Toilet?

Can Vinyl Flooring Be Stained? [Can You Change The Color]