Many homeowners are looking for ways to spruce up their homes on a budget. Do-It-Yourself projects have always had a niche in the home improvement arena, but during the pandemic, they took off. One of the easier projects out there is replacing carpet with hard flooring. You can find people who document their projects on any form of social media you choose to help you understand how to do what you need to do. We’ve compiled information to help you with your DIY project, so when you decide to replace your carpet with luxury vinyl flooring you’ll know exactly what to do.
Why is vinyl plank a popular option?
There are many benefits to replacing carpet with vinyl flooring including durability, easy clean-up, and a wide variety of options. While carpet is softer, it’s harder to keep clean and over time it wears down. That’s why if an apartment has carpet they’re generally replacing it every few years regardless of how well you took care of it. Let’s talk a little further about the benefits of vinyl flooring:
- Durability: Vinyl plank flooring is good for people who want a long-term flooring option in their homes. Quality vinyl flooring holds up well with constant traffic on it. Compared to carpet, vinyl lasts years longer so your investment will be well worth it.
- Easy to clean: Vinyl is one of the easier floors to clean. You can sweep up any hair or dust and then mop them according to the instructions given by the manufacturer. It’s great for people with pets or kids or anyone who considers themselves messy.
- Sound reduction: With QuietBoard underlayment the recycled fibers absorb sound so you can trust that you won’t be able to hear every step or movement from other rooms.
- Multiple options: Vinyl plank flooring has a variety of options for you to choose from, even more so than carpet. You can pick from designs, wood imitating, and more. It’s all up to your style and what you want your home to look like.
- Cost: Depending on the quality you decide to go with, vinyl plank flooring usually ranges from $2-$8 a square foot.
How to replace carpet with vinyl plank flooring?
As we said before many people document their journey of replacing carpets with vinyl flooring online. We have compiled all of the useful information online into an all-in-one resource for replacing your carpet with vinyl plank flooring.
How to Remove Carpet
1. You’ll want to start by removing all the furniture before ripping up the carpet.
- You will want to clear the room of all furniture and items that could be damaged during the removal.
- It may be worth removing doors that open inwards as well.
2. Pull the Carpet from the Tack Strip
Tack strips along the perimeter of the room are used to hold the carpet in place. To remove the carpet:
- Start with a corner, pull up the carpet, a pliers makes this much easier. The carpet should pull up easily.
- If the carpet does not pull up easily, use a utility knife to cut a 6-8 inch square in the corner.
- Use the pliers to grab the side of the piece for more leverage.
- Once the piece is removed continue to pull the carpet by hand
3. Cut the Carpet into Strips
- Pull back about 2-4 feet of carpet, (whatever you’re comfortable with) and use a utility knife to cut it along the fold. Cutting from the back side of the carpet.
- Roll up the pieces and use duct tape or masking tape to secure the rolls.
- Continue this process until the carpet is completely removed
- If there’s a closet in the room, simply cut the carpet at the start of the closet door. Remove this piece separately from the other rolls.
4. Remove the Carpet Pad
If there is carpet pad underneath, you will remove this next using the same method as removing the carpet. Carpet pad is generally lighter and easier to remove than carpet.
- If the subfloor is plywood, the carpet pad will be held down by staples. You will need to use a scraper to pull them all up.
- If the subfloor is concrete, the carpet pad will be glued down. You will need a sharp-bladed scraper to scrape the pieces stuck to the floor off.
5. Remove the Tack Strips
- Use a flat pry bar to pull up the tack strips around the perimeter of the room.
- Try to wear protective footwear as there will be staples and nails during the removal.
6. Cleaning the Subfloor
- After all the carpeting materials are removed, remove all excess wood chips from the tack strips, nails, and staples.
- Use a broom or shop vac to remove the final dust and debris.
How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
1. Consider the Height of the New Flooring
- Vinyl plank flooring is usually thinner than carpet. This can leave you with mismatched flooring height when entering another section of flooring. Gaps can also be left between the floors and the baseboards.
- Usually, baseboards and door jambs have to be refit. However, QuietBoard underlayment is thick enough to fill the gaps and act as a raised subfloor. It also allows you to revert to the old flooring height if you ever wish to install thicker flooring again.
- QuietBoard’s dense fiber material will also cover up subfloor imperfections. Providing a moisture barrier, sound reduction, impact dampening, and all of the benefits of a normal flooring underlayment.
2. Preparing to Install the New Flooring
- If QuietBoard is installed, you are ready to install your new vinyl plank flooring right away!
- Plan to install perpendicular to the longest wall in the room to keep cutting minimal.
- Stagger the plank ends by about 6-12 inches between each row to give a natural-looking appearance.
- Leave the manufacturer-recommended amount of expansion space between planks and walls.
3. Installing Vinyl Planks
- Trim the short tongue edge on the first vinyl plank with a utility knife.
- Lay the first plank, appropriately spaced from the wall as discussed earlier. Hold the second plank at an angle and insert its tongue edge into the first plank’s groove edge. Lower the angle of the second plank to snap the planks together.
- Continue this process for the rest of the row, trimming the last plank as needed.
- For the rest of the rows, use the same angle-and-snap method, attach them to the previous row’s planks side-by-side as well as attach the ends of the planks.
If you’re more of a visual learner this video does a great job of explaining how to install vinyl plank flooring
Once you’re done installing you’ll have beautiful, brand-new floors! If you run into any issues during this process don’t freak out. DIY is sometimes a lot of trial and error. If you don’t like how something is turning out you can always start over and try again. And if it gets to a point where you’re frustrated you can always call in a professional to help you.
What issues can I run into while installing vinyl plank floors?
- Mismatched floor height: If you aren’t redoing all the floors in your home there’s a potential that your floors could have mismatched heights. You can avoid this by using a level to make sure the subfloor with the vinyl matches the height of the other flooring. This is also a good practice to make sure all of your newly installed floors are level.
- Gaps between the floors and the baseboards: Since vinyl planks are usually thinner than carpet, you may run into gaps between your floors and baseboards.
- Issues with the subfloor: Sometimes when you remove the carpet, the subfloor can be worn down. You’ll have to assess and check if the subfloor is level before installing the vinyl flooring. If it’s not level you might have to replace the subflooring.
QuietBoard is affordable and makes it easy to fix the issues listed above. QuietBoard will raise the floor height to match the height of other floorings, it will raise the floor height to fill the gaps between the floors and baseboards, and it will also cover subfloor imperfections and provide the benefits of a normal underlayment.
Some DIY projects might seem like a huge undertaking but with all the resources out there these days, it’s a lot easier to try and figure out how to do home projects on your own. While we broke down how to remove carpet and install vinyl flooring easily, be aware that it could take several days to accomplish or even longer depending on the pace you work at. The best piece of advice is just to take a deep breath, take your time, and enjoy the process of learning a new skill.