How to Measure Your Space for Luxury Vinyl Flooring

June 15, 2021

how to measure your space for luxury vinyl flooring

Improving your home with do-it-yourself projects can be satisfying, and can save you a lot of money compared with hiring a professional contractor. Not every home project is ideal for DIY, but new flooring with luxury vinyl flooring tile planks is one of the easiest DIY projects a homeowner can undertake. 

Although ease of installation is one of the benefits of luxury vinyl tile, you’ll need to plan ahead. In this article, we’ll explain how to measure a room to ensure you have the right amount of tile to complete the project. We’ll also offer some tips for a professional vinyl plank flooring installation you’ll be proud of for many years to come!

Here are the supplies needed for accurate measurement:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Tape measure

greige wood look vinyl tile for urban studio

Steps to a perfect measurement:

Sketch the shape of the room, including doorways, closets, and any other spaces that will be covered with new floor tile. Try to keep your sketch proportionally accurate. Graph paper may be useful for this purpose.

If you’re installing flooring in one rectangular space, measuring is simple. Take measurements of the longest and widest parts. Round up to the next highest foot. For example, if your space is 10 feet and 4 inches, round it up to 11 feet. Multiply those numbers to get the area in square feet. 

If your area is irregular, a few extra steps are involved. Look at the area you sketched, and divide it into rectangles that you can measure separately. When you measure one of the rectangular shapes, take care to only measure the area represented by your sketched rectangle or square. Round up to the next-highest foot, then multiply the length and width of each rectangular area to find the square footage of that space. Do the same for every other section, then add the numbers together.

Add 10% to the total to allow for mistakes, cuts, and damage. You may need to make extra cuts so you can stagger planks for a more realistic look, and it’s always helpful to keep a few extra planks in storage in case you need to replace one sometime in the future. Quick tip: Multiply the total square footage by 1.1 to get the total amount needed. Round up to the next-highest square foot.

Next, look at the packaging for the LVT you’ve chosen to determine the square footage covered by one pack. Most boxes of LVT cover from 18 to 25 square feet, but this may vary. Divide the measurement of your area by the square footage on the package, and you’ll know how many packs you need to purchase.

lvt flooring in light wood in living room with fireplace

Here are a few of the best practices for vinyl tile installation:

1. Ensure that your finished project turns out just the way you want it by keeping in mind these installation tips from the pros. These are luxury vinyl tile installation best practices.

2. Make sure you have all the needed supplies before you start. The materials you need depend upon the type of LVT you will be installing. If your LVT has an attached underlayment backing, an additional layer of underlayment is optional. If your LVT is a floating type that clicks into place, you won’t need adhesive. Follow the recommendations on the box.

3. Make sure you have all the equipment you will need for an easy installation. This may include:

  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Rubber mallet
  • Jigsaw for cutting planks
  • Pry bar for removing baseboards and trim
  • Safety goggles
  • Mask
  • Knee pads

4. Acclimate the LVT tile by putting it into the room where the installation will take place for at least 24 hours before you begin.

5. Remove baseboards and trim, because it’s best to install LVT flush with the wall, with no gaps, and replace baseboards after installation if they are still in good condition. If needed, purchase and install new trim pieces.

6. Decide which way you want the planks to run. For the best results, the planks should lay parallel to the flow of high-traffic areas.

7. Stagger planks by at least 6 inches, up to one-third of the plank’s length.

8. Since LVT is engineered wood flooring, the pattern may be identical from one plank to the next. Many manufacturers include some variety within each package, but eventually, there will be some that match. For the most realistic look, avoid installing identical planks side-by-side, or turn them in the opposite direction between rows.

natural tint wood look vinyl plank in bathroom

9. Begin your installation along the room’s most prominent wall. This will probably be the first wall your eyes focus on when entering the room. For example, in a bathroom, the most prominent place to start might be the bathtub. In a family room, the most prominent wall may be the one with a fireplace. Lay the boards parallel to this wall, working toward the opposite side or entryway.

10. Begin by placing the first plank at the center of the wall and lay additional planks in relation to the center plank. That way, the planks on that first row will be equal in length at opposite ends.

11. Cut planks to size by scoring several times with a utility knife, a jigsaw, or a fine-toothed handsaw. For small protrusions, you can snip off small bits of the vinyl plank with heavy-duty shop scissors or tin snips.

12. Walls in a house, especially older homes, are rarely exactly square. Therefore, measure and cut planks when you need them rather than cutting ahead of time.

13. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the LVT package, adhesive, and any other product you use for the job. Watching videos or reading a guide to luxury vinyl tile ahead of time is helpful as well.

14. Measure twice, cut once!

The ease of installation is one of the reasons luxury vinyl tile is one of the most popular flooring options. It’s also long-lasting and beautiful, and vinyl flooring care and maintenance is a breeze. When you thoroughly prepare ahead of time with accuracy and patience, you will be proud of the results!

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