The quickest way to answer this is no! We see time and time again builders sticking luxury vinyl planks directly to whatever subfloor is there, but this can result in the flooring not adhering properly and can shorten the lifespan of the floor. In our experience, this is usually due to poor product knowledge, so we have put together a simple guide on adhering LVT (luxury vinyl tile) to a subfloor.
How To Stick Luxury Vinyl To A Subfloor
There are a few rules to follow when it comes to adhering a LVT, or Luxury Vinyl Tile, to a subfloor. Read our expert tips and advice so you get it right every time and can have a beautiful floor that will last for years.
The first place to start is by checking and addressing your subfloor material. Vinyl cannot (and should not!) be adhered to any type of floor.
Your subfloor should be concrete, calcium sulphate, cement-based or plywood. It should not be chipboard, tiles, or MDF. If you have an unsuitable subfloor, address this first to ensure your vinyl can be adhered to it.
Your subfloor should be dry. This is essential, but any times we have seen no prior checks when it comes to moisture. The problem is largely due to vinyl’s waterproof nature, which leads many to believe that the moisture of the subfloor is not an issue. However, while it is true that the product itself is 100% waterproof, the glues are not. The glue is responsible for adhering the vinyl and ensuring it stays stuck for years to come. If the moisture starts to disrupt the bond, your vinyl planks will tent, peak and gap, eventually leaving them unusable.
Check the moisture levels of the subfloor and ensure it’s dry before sticking your vinyl flooring down.
A Level Floor
The subfloor has got to be level! This is essential or the vinyl tile won’t sit properly on the subfloor and it will interrupt the adhering process, as well as being less comfortable underfoot.
We at Flooring Village were once asked to view an installation of a vinyl floor that we supplied. The customer was using her builder so we gave advice on the best way to install the floor. We came to view the installation so as to offer the best advice for the particular house. We could see the problem straight away: the subfloor wasn’t level.
When a subfloor is uneven and bumpy, the vinyl tile will not perform as effectively. The manufacturer will always give you a level to work with, which you must ensure you follow. This is usually an SR1 which is industry standard.
An SR1 involves a 2-m straightedge laid in contact with the screed. The maximum gap measured with a slip gauge should be equal to 3mm.
However, we advise that you take the necessary steps to make the subfloor completely level and smooth. This will ensure that the floor adheres properly, feels comfortable to walk on and will last for years.
The Right Glue
Use the right glue for the right area to ensure your vinyl sticks down securely and stays in place. This is all down to the manufacturer guidelines of your chosen LVT. The most common types of glues for luxury vinyl tiles are pressure sensitive and high temperature glues.
Pressure sensitive glues are commonly used throughout all rooms of the house. They are durable and should ensure your vinyl floor stays securely in place for years to come despite all levels of foot traffic.
High temperature glue, or HT glue as it’s commonly called, is used in conservatories where the temperature can be very cold in winter or very hot in summer. It’s also used with underfloor heating and anywhere where the floor temperature will exceed normal limits. Normal forms of glue can fail under extreme temperature conditions, so HT glue ensures that your vinyl stays stuck down in every context.
The above are the most important things when it comes to subfloors and sticking down your luxury vinyl tile floors, but remember, you should always check and refer to the manufacturer installation instructions as these will give you a definitive guide to installing your new floor that is specific to the LVT that you have chosen.
Alternatives To Glue
If you are finding that sticking your luxury vinyl tile flooring down is a bit scary or too much effort, have a look at the Malmo Rigid collection or Quick-Step Livyn, these are click systems that go on an underlay and require less subfloor preparation.