How to Install Vinyl Floors in the Basement - BEFORE/AFTER

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I’m so excited to share some before and afters of the room in my basement! So my house is pretty small, but the basement is HUGE! A lot of the space isn’t usable for rooms per say, but there is this one room that was already there, but just need some love. It had brown paneling, unfinished floors, and old windows.

New Windows

First thing I did was get new windows. The windows were original to the house, and while I love the look of wood windows, I wanted to feel safer in my house, and also have it better insulated. I had a lot of issues with bugs downstairs and just it being really hot, so I think the new windows really makes the room look more finished and in much better shape!

Left: before and after of the window trim being painted, right: how the other windows look on the outside.

Left: before and after of the window trim being painted, right: how the other windows look on the outside.

Paint

Next, I gave everything a fresh coat of paint and cleaned the room. I painted the cinder blocks that were gray to white to match the room and also painted all the brown paneling. I used the same color as upstairs with Behr, Snowy Pine. While the room looked 10x better with fresh paint, it definitely gave off a little bit of a creepy vibe not having the finished floors, so those were next!

Before/after: Painted the paneling, installed the new floors and trim.

Before/after: Painted the paneling, installed the new floors and trim.

Installing Vinyl Floors

So some of you may be intimidated to install flooring yourself, but I promise it really wasn’t so bad. A few things that I did to prepare:

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Supplies

Duralux Signature Hickory - I had a 100 sq ft room so I got 3 boxes

Laminate Flooring Kit

Trim

Shoe Trim

T square (Use for cutting pieces in a straight line)

Cutting mat

Utility knife

Measuring tape

Wood glue or nails for the trim

Caulk

To Prepare

  1. Level the floors - This is only needed if you’re putting Vinyl in the basement and you think the floors aren’t leveled. This is probably only an issue with older houses, but you want to make sure you’re installing the flooring on a flat, level surface.

  2. Clean - I swept any extra debris out of the room and made sure the surface was ready for flooring.

  3. Decide on type of vinyl flooring - There are a lot of different types of vinyl flooring that you can choose from for your home. You can do stick and peel, groutable, floating, and more. I chose the floating option because it has the interlocking pieces and sounded like the best option for my project. Floating vinyl is also waterproof and that was important to me since it was going in the basement.

  4. Buy your supplies - Once you decide on the type of Vinyl flooring, you can do the fun part of picking out a floor! I bought my flooring at Floor & Decor. I got the Duralux floating vinyl in Signature Hickory. It happened to be the cheapest option and my favorite color, so that worked out. You want to make sure you also get 10% more flooring that you need to account for any mess ups or cutting you will be doing. I also bought a flooring kit to help with laying the floors that can be helpful.

  5. Buy trim - I went to Lowe’s for the trim. I got this trim as well as some shoe trim. Since my floor has a good gap between the wall in some places I thought it would look better and cover that space by adding shoe trim, but that is not required.

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How to Install

  1. Start in the farthest corner from door. Make sure your floor will run in the direction of the longest wall. Using the flooring kit, take some tabs and space the floor away from the wall. This is important to allow the floor to have room to expand/contract.

  2. Add the next piece to the end of the first and interlock the pieces together. You can use your hammer or mallet to knock the piece to make sure it’s tightly locked. Continue until you reach the opposite wall.

  3. To start the next row, you’ll want to cut a piece in half to stagger the seams. To do this, take your cutting mat, measure the halfway point and then use a t square to mark that point and use as your ruler. This ensures a straight cut. Take a utility knife and run it a couple times. Then you can pick up the piece and snap it in half.

  4. Continue along laying the floor ensuring that you reinforce the pieces on the long edge and short edge to make sure everything is interlocked tightly. Make sure to completely each row to the other end completely before moving on to another row. It will be hard to go back and add pieces if you do not.

  5. Continue on until you’ve completed the whole room!

  6. At the door, you’ll want to install a reducer to go from vinyl fo the sub floor if they are different heights. I found a matching color and cut it to size of the door frame.

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