What You Need to Know About Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring
Your flooring choices can make a difference to the feel and function of your home. Deciding to make vinyl flooring a feature of your rooms comes with a variety of benefits. However, it’s worth remembering that selecting vinyl as a material is only half the battle. You also need to consider the type of installation that best fits your aesthetic needs, your budget, and your long term plan.
In this post, we’re going to be focusing on glue down vinyl plank flooring. Over the last couple of decades it’s become a popular choice for those home improvement enthusiasts who want to achieve the look of wooden flooring, alongside some element of permanence. That said, there’s still several aspects to consider before committing to what can seem like a cheap and easy alternative to natural wood.
What is Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring?
While the clue is definitely in the name, here, there is a little bit more that goes into it. As this is generally an option for those who are taking the DIY route, it’s vital you know exactly what you’re looking for when you head to the hardware store.
From a materials perspective, they are simply tiles made of vinyl, cut into plank-like strips for both ease of installation and to mimic the hardwood flooring look. Aside from the aesthetic decisions, you’ll also need to understand the differences in the cores.
Solid Vinyl Core
The entire product is produced from a solid piece of vinyl. As a result, this tends to be a more durable product, and relatively resistant to water and wear damage.
Usually the lowest in price. Manufacturers combine crushed limestone with polymer in order to create a thin but hard core.
The mid-range cost option. In this instance, manufacturers combine bamboo or wood dust with the polymer. This results in a more flexible product, but it’s more susceptible to dents.
The other factor to consider is the type of adhesive that is most appropriate for the planks you select and the area you’ll be laying.
This generally comes in two forms:
In the majority of cases, this refers to flooring tiles that have the adhesive already applied to the underside of each plank. This makes for relatively easy installation, and there is usually a window of time during which the adhesive remains sticky, allowing for adjustments in positioning during installation.
Depending on the supplier, this may also be referred to as “transitional” adhesive. Used on glue down vinyl plank flooring that isn’t supplied with PSA on the underside, this can be a bit more of a challenge during installation. This glue is spread across the subfloor area before laying the vinyl planks on top of it.
How Much Does It Cost?
For most of us, the primary consideration for any project has to be the budget. We might have some ambitious ideas about the look we want to achieve, but in the end we still have to make it fit our finances. The good news is, while vinyl planks are often more expensive than a single vinyl sheet, it is still one of the lower cost options on the market. The question of how much glued down vinyl plank flooring costs comes down to a few key factors.
The cost of vinyl planks can vary depending upon the design, quality of finish, and — as mentioned above — whether there is a pressure sensitive adhesive already applied. At 2020 prices, you’ll be looking to pay around $2.50 to $5 per square foot for your planks.
If you’ve chosen not to go for the PSA option, you’ll need to include costs for your hard setting or transitional adhesive in your budget. A gallon of roll on vinyl adhesive will set you back around $30 at current prices.
If you’re going the DIY route, additional costs to consider can include a trowel or roller for applying the hard setting adhesive (around $10). Depending on the room you’re flooring, you may also need to consider an underlay to reduce noise — this usually runs at around $0.40 per square foot. In some cases, a vapor barrier to protect your glue down vinyl plank flooring from rising moisture might be necessary, which could add around $0.15 per square foot to your total.
There’s no shame in bringing on a professional installer to minimize the potential for additional unnecessary costs resulting from mistakes. A few things to bear in mind include the complexity of the room shape, whether you’re using PSA or hard set adhesive, and how far away from the installer’s base your property is. Each of these has the ability to affect how long the job will take, and can therefore influence the cost of labor. It can also be worthwhile removing any old flooring and disposing of it yourself, prior to your contractor’s arrival, as this can also make a difference. On average, labor alone can range from $2.85-$5.25 per square foot.
In total, the cost of glue down vinyl plank flooring for a room of 100 square feet ranges around $300-$1100.
What are the pros/cons of Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring?
As always, there are upsides and downsides to any flooring choice.
- Easy installation — particularly with PSA options, this type of flooring is relatively simple to trim and apply directly to the subfloor surface.
- Moisture resistant — the material is ideal for areas that could see spillage. The addition of a vapor barrier on the subfloor can also prevent rising moisture issues.
- Durable — glue down vinyl plank flooring is relatively hard wearing. Depending on the core you choose, this can be a long term flooring solution.
- Low maintenance — vinyl is very easy to clean. The plank nature of the materials also make the PSA variety simple to individually replace if they’re damaged.
- Varying quality — while there are high end brands of vinyl flooring, quality can vary significantly, and it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting a good, long-lasting product.
- Difficult removal — this largely applies to the hard setting adhesive variety. Once glued down it can be a difficult material to remove quickly and cleanly.
- Ecologically unfriendly — vinyl is a non-biodegradable product, and when glued down it makes them unsuitable for reuse.
Conclusion – Making the Choice
Taking into account the factors we’ve outlined during this post, it’s clear there are a variety of approaches you can take which give you a combination of desirable outcomes. Do you prioritize longevity above ease of replacement? Does your budget stretch to quality materials, but not to labor costs? The versatility of glue down vinyl plank flooring means that, whichever route you take, there’s the potential for this to be a durable, attractive choice for your home.