How to maintenance gaps between vinyl flooring planks


Q: Our vinyl flooring has formulated two widening cracks. Is there a way to take care of this to suitable the visual appeal and to prevent further widening, which could become a tripping hazard?

A: Sure, you should be in a position to nudge the planks collectively to close the gaps. Vinyl planks, like a good deal of other flooring these times, are ordinarily put in as a floating ground. The plank edges interlock, so the flooring acts as a solitary unit that “floats” in excess of the subfloor but is not connected to it.

All setting up supplies, vinyl flooring provided, expand and contract as temperatures change. To make it possible for for that movement without having creating the planks to buckle as they develop or slip aside as they shrink, installers are intended to depart an growth hole around the perimeter of the space. (The sizing of the hole must be what’s recommended by the producer.) Baseboards, quarter-round molding or cabinets go over the gaps — but it’s essential to fasten these to the wall, not the ground, so the gap remains unencumbered.

A person downside to the floating-floor idea is that gaps do from time to time open up between planks, as you have expert. Sometimes a gap is uncomplicated to shut, often it’s trickier and often it is unattainable, since a thing, these kinds of as a cupboard, was screwed through the flooring and into the subfloor. In most instances, however, you can close the gap by pushing the piece that is closest to a wall toward the heart of the place, which will place the growth hole back at the perimeter of the space, exactly where it belongs.

Start out by cleaning the crack, so no particles retains it from closing. Vacuum it, then go in excess of it with one thing sharp, this kind of as a toothpick or knife blade, to loosen any stuck gunk. Vacuum once more.

If you’re fortunate, you may possibly be able to kick the errant plank into spot. Set on shoes with grip. With your back again toward the wall that is closest to the gap, stand with 1 foot on an adjoining plank and kick ahead on the plank that desires to move. Often which is all it requires to tighten the gap. If the plank is not the one subsequent to the wall, the following hole could possibly open up up. Repeat right until you are at the wall.

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If that does not operate, or if your shoes skid around the vinyl when you kick, get a piece of rubberlike rug pad, this sort of as the nonslip challenging-surface area rug pad ($6.34 for a 2-by-3-foot piece at Home Depot). Also get a short, thick piece of wood, these kinds of as a 12-inch size of two-by-4, and a rubber mallet. Area the pad on the plank you want to shift, prime that with the wooden, then brace the wooden with your ft and hit the finish of it with the mallet right until the hole closes.

And if that does not operate? Instead of employing the carpet pad, attempt a Flooring Gap Fixer ($51.99 on Amazon), a bar roughly two inches broad and 10 inches extended with a sticky side. The producer states it grips even to textured vinyl and is reusable and washable. Or you can use double-stick carpet tape with a picket block. (Trazon carpet tape, which statements to go away no residue, is $9.97 for a 12-yard roll that is two inches broad on Amazon.) You most likely won’t be ready to pull up the Flooring Gap Fixer or the block of wood you tapped versus with your fingers by yourself. Use a slim pry bar. At the time you get the bar a very little bit beneath, slip a broad putty knife underneath the pry bar, so when you lever it, the bar presses towards the putty knife blade, reducing the risk of gouging the flooring.

And a closing solution, if your vinyl flooring is easy: Speedy-forward to a solution that a flooring installer would probably use. Grip the plank when you tap it into location, and use a suction instrument, such as the FCHO floor-hole-fixer device ($21.99 on Amazon with a mallet involved).

Regardless of what answer you use, if the plank closest to the wall is much too brief to go away swing room for kicking the plank or tapping in opposition to a block or suction software, you’ll want a Z-form metallic bar that hooks more than the exterior edge of the flooring and that has a tip on the other finish that extends upward for you to pound from, these types of as the Roberts 16.25-inch professional pull bar ($14.57 at Home Depot).

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