How to repair gaps between vinyl flooring planks

Susan Howell


Q: Our vinyl flooring has made two widening cracks. Is there a way to fix this to appropriate the overall look and to stop even further widening, which could turn out to be a tripping hazard?

A: Of course, you really should be equipped to nudge the planks jointly to near the gaps. Vinyl planks, like a whole lot of other flooring these times, are generally mounted as a floating ground. The plank edges interlock, so the flooring acts as a solitary device that “floats” more than the subfloor but is not connected to it.

All constructing supplies, vinyl flooring incorporated, grow and deal as temperatures change. To allow for that movement with out resulting in the planks to buckle as they increase or slip aside as they shrink, installers are supposed to leave an expansion gap about the perimeter of the area. (The sizing of the hole must be what is advised by the manufacturer.) Baseboards, quarter-round molding or cupboards protect the gaps — but it is important to fasten these to the wall, not the ground, so the gap stays unencumbered.

One particular draw back to the floating-flooring principle is that gaps do in some cases open among planks, as you have expert. In some cases a gap is quick to shut, in some cases it is trickier and often it’s impossible, for the reason that one thing, these as a cupboard, was screwed by the flooring and into the subfloor. In most conditions, even though, you can near the hole by pushing the piece that is closest to a wall towards the center of the area, which will place the enlargement gap again at the perimeter of the space, exactly where it belongs.

Start out by cleansing the crack, so no debris retains it from closing. Vacuum it, then go in excess of it with anything sharp, this kind of as a toothpick or knife blade, to loosen any trapped gunk. Vacuum once again.

If you are fortunate, you may possibly be equipped to kick the errant plank into put. Put on shoes with grip. With your back again towards the wall that is closest to the hole, stand with one foot on an adjoining plank and kick forward on the plank that requires to shift. Sometimes that is all it normally takes to tighten the gap. If the plank isn’t the a single upcoming to the wall, the following gap may well open up. Repeat right up until you are at the wall.

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If that doesn’t function, or if your shoes skid more than the vinyl when you kick, get a piece of rubberlike rug pad, these as the nonslip hard-surface rug pad ($6.34 for a 2-by-3-foot piece at Residence Depot). Also get a short, thick piece of wood, such as a 12-inch size of two-by-four, and a rubber mallet. Position the pad on the plank you want to shift, major that with the wood, then brace the wooden with your toes and strike the stop of it with the mallet until the hole closes.

And if that does not do the job? As an alternative of working with the carpet pad, check out a Floor Gap Fixer ($51.99 on Amazon), a bar approximately two inches vast and 10 inches long with a sticky aspect. The company says it grips even to textured vinyl and is reusable and washer-friendly. Or you can use double-stick carpet tape with a wooden block. (Trazon carpet tape, which claims to leave no residue, is $9.97 for a 12-garden roll that’s two inches vast on Amazon.) You most likely will not be ready to pull up the Flooring Hole Fixer or the block of wooden you tapped from with your fingers by yourself. Use a slender pry bar. As soon as you get the bar a very little little bit beneath, slip a huge putty knife below the pry bar, so when you lever it, the bar presses towards the putty knife blade, lowering the risk of gouging the flooring.

And a ultimate option, if your vinyl flooring is easy: Quickly-forward to a remedy that a flooring installer would possibly use. Grip the plank even though you faucet it into spot, and use a suction device, these as the FCHO flooring-gap-fixer software ($21.99 on Amazon with a mallet incorporated).

What ever option you use, if the plank closest to the wall is too limited to go away swing home for kicking the plank or tapping from a block or suction resource, you’ll need to have a Z-form metallic bar that hooks about the outside the house edge of the flooring and that has a tip on the other stop that extends upward for you to pound towards, this kind of as the Roberts 16.25-inch pro pull bar ($14.57 at Residence Depot).

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