Discover how to install SPC (stone plastic composite) vinyl flooring in this comprehensive how-to guide.Written by: Yarl Christie
Published on: September 20, 2023
How to Install SPC Click Vinyl Flooring
SPC (Stone Polymer Composite) vinyl flooring has gained immense popularity due to its durability, water resistance, and attractive appearance. Whether you are a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner looking to save on installation costs, learning how to install SPC vinyl flooring can be a valuable skill.
In this guide, we will take you through the essential steps to ensure a successful installation.
What are the Different SPC Installation Methods?
1. Click-lock SPC Plank Flooring
The click-lock SPC installation is the easiest for first-timers who want to do their own SPC installation. Thus, the procedure is also known as the "floating technique." When using the click-lock technique, the SPC plank must have both long and short sides. As a result, both planks may be clicked together to produce a secure grip.
For it to fit in your region, you may need to measure and trim off any excess length. It's best to begin your first plank at one of the room's corners. When putting the side of the plank against the wall, make sure to provide at least 2 mm of expansion room. If you try to use a hammer or a pounding block, you risk damaging the click connection.
You can ensure effective locking by gently pressing down with your hand. Certain kinds of SPC flooring make DIY installation easier by having planks engineered to fit horizontally. When it comes to installation in tight and tricky spaces, this is really useful.
2. Loose-lay SPC Plank Flooring
Another unique method of placing and attaching your SPC plank flooring is the loose lay fitting technique. SPC loose lay vinyl planks are a one-of-a-kind product that holds itself in place without the use of nails, adhesive, or even tongue and groove systems. These thick vinyl rectangles are simply placed on the floor and remain in place once fitted. Loose-lay vinyl flooring is easy to install and stays in place over time thanks to friction.
The planks are thick vinyl rectangles with a rubber backing that lie flat on a level surface. Loose-lay SPC vinyl floors may be quickly put over existing flooring and are easy enough for almost anybody to perform. That is why there are so many people interested in this form of flooring, and it is also why loose-lay vinyl flooring is so popular. It's easy to comprehend, and there aren't many other goods on the market that are similar to this sort of flooring.
Both click-lock and loose-lay systems are clearly more eco-friendly, hassle-free, less harmful to health, and odourless because they don't use glue during installation. With this simple installation procedure, you won't have to worry about the volatile organic compound (VOC) that comes with the adhesive after installation.
How to Install SPC Flooring
PC Vinyl should be laid over a flat surface that will not move with temperature and moisture changes. We would always suggest taking advice from a flooring fitting professional if in doubt even if you are going to do the job yourself. The fitting instructions of the particular SPC floor you choose should also be used. SPC flooring is an alternative to luxury vinyl flooring that is fantastic for high-traffic areas.
As explained earlier, there are different types of installation methods that SPC is available in. Whichever one you choose, there are some general guidelines you will want to follow, including…
Tools to Install SPC Flooring
Before you begin your SPC vinyl flooring installation project, it's essential to gather the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here's a list of the tools you'll need:
1. Tape Measure: A reliable tape measure is crucial for accurately measuring the room dimensions and ensuring you order the correct amount of SPC flooring.
2. Utility Knife: A sharp utility knife is essential for cutting SPC planks to size, especially when you reach the edges and corners of the room.
3. T-Square or Straight Edge: A T-square or straight edge helps you make precise cuts, ensuring that your SPC planks fit seamlessly against walls and obstacles.
4. Pencil or Chalk Line: Marking planks and subfloor guidelines is easier with a pencil or chalk line. It helps you maintain proper alignment during installation.
5. Safety Glasses and Ear Protection: Safety should always be a priority. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and ear protection if you're using power tools.
6. Crosscut Saw or Circular Saw: A crosscut saw or circular saw with a fine-toothed blade is useful for making straight cuts on SPC planks quickly and accurately.
7. Pry Bar: A pry bar can assist in removing baseboards or existing flooring materials without damaging them.
8. Rubber Mallet: A rubber mallet is handy for gently tapping SPC planks into place, ensuring a snug fit.
9. Spacers: Spacers help maintain the necessary expansion gap between the SPC flooring and walls or obstacles. They ensure the flooring can expand and contract with temperature changes.
10. Adhesive (for Glue-Down Installation): If you're opting for the glue-down installation method, you'll need the recommended adhesive and a trowel for application.
11. Underlayment (if required): Check the manufacturer's recommendations. Some SPC flooring products may require an underlayment, in which case you'll need it for installation.
12. Double-Sided Tape or Adhesive Tabs (for Loose Lay Installation): For loose lay installation, you may need double-sided tape or adhesive tabs to secure the flooring along the edges and seams.
13. Transition Strips: Transition strips are essential for creating a clean, finished look where the SPC flooring meets different types of flooring or transitions between rooms.
14. Dust Mask and Respirator: When cutting or handling SPC planks, it's advisable to wear a dust mask or respirator to protect against inhaling dust particles.
15. Cleaning Supplies: Have cleaning supplies, such as a broom, vacuum cleaner, and mop, on hand to keep the installation area clean and free of debris.
By having these tools ready before you begin your SPC vinyl flooring installation, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the project efficiently and with confidence.
Work Out the Amount of Flooring Required
Step 1: Measure the Room
Start by measuring the length and width of the room where you plan to install the SPC flooring. Make sure to measure in inches or centimeters for accuracy.
Step 2: Account for Waste
To ensure you have enough material, add 10% to 15% to your measurements to account for waste and any pattern matching that may be required.
Acclimatise the SPC Vinyl Planks
Before installation, SPC must acclimatise to the area you will install it in. Do not store boxes on their sides; keep them flat and level. During acclimatisation, you should turn on the heating or air conditioning to maintain a temperature of 41 °F (5 °C) to 140 °F (60 °C).
The flooring should be acclimated and installed in a temperature-controlled environment, with temperature fluctuations permitted only after the installation is complete.
Subfloors are the existing hard surfaces that your main floor is installed over and can vary from wooden floorboards or concrete. Clean, smooth, flat, solid (no movement), and dry subfloors are required. Installing boards over a slanted floor for drainage is not a good idea. We recommend you not install SPC in regions with a high risk of flooding. There is more information on how to prepare your subfloor here.
Use a Portland cement-based patching compound to level any uneven spots greater than 3/16 inch (4.76mm) in a 10 foot (3.05m) radius. To avoid dangerous mold and mildew forming, ensure moisture does not gather on either side of the flooring.
SPC Installation Procedure
Step 1) Once the flooring has been thoroughly cleaned and prepped, begin placing boards left to right for the first row. Place the first SPC plank so that the grooved edges are facing you. Place the board 6mm (1/4") from the left wall. Between the wall and the board, use spacers.
Step 2) Lay the second board in the first row end-to-end, interlocking with the first, and hit gently with a rubber mallet to securely lock them together. If properly laid, these should be the same height. Make sure they're both precisely aligned. Carry on in the same manner towards the right-hand wall.
NOTE: If both boards are not the same height or are not correctly secured together, remove the board(s) to check for dirt obscuring the lock and grooves. Attempting to press the boards together if the end joints are not correctly inline can permanently destroy the end joints.
Step 3) Make sure to measure the length required for the final board of the first row to allow for a 6mm (1/4") expansion gap between the plank and the right-hand wall.
Step 4) Cut the excess board facing upwards. Using a sharp utility knife and a ruler, cut forcefully many times on the same line. This will not sever the board, but it will sever it terribly. Place one hand near to the cut and press down hard. Then lift the other half of the board with the other hand. At the cut mark, the board should split naturally.
Step 5) Use the remains of the cut plank from the last piece of the first row to start the second row, as long as the piece is at least 30 cm (12"). Otherwise, start this row with a new plank, ensuring that the joints are at least 18 cm (7") apart. When possible, use the remaining chopped boards to begin succeeding rows at the ends of previous rows.
Step 6) Click the long sides of the new plank and the previous row's plank together, pressing the board securely against the short end of the last row's plank at a 30° angle. Drop the plank and gently tap it together with a rubber mallet to secure it. If correctly laid, these should be the same height. Make sure they are both precisely aligned.
Step 7) Using a string line, check for straightness after installing 2 or 3 rows. Unevenness in the starting wall could cause the planks not to run straight. To accommodate this, the first row may need to be re-trimmed.
Step 8) For the final row, lay an SPC plank right on top of the last finished row. Place a second board on top, with the tongue side of the plank hitting the final wall. Trace a line along the edge of this piece, marking the first board.
To acquire the appropriate board width, cut along this line. This cut board should be placed against the final wall. The last row should be no less than 5 cm (2") wide. After that, the spacers can be removed.
Step 9) When cutting holes for pipes, take the pipe's diameter as a guide and make a hole that is 12 mm (1/2") larger. Pipe holes: measure the pipe's diameter and drill a hole that is 1/2" (12mm) bigger. Cut a piece from the board and wrap it around the pipe. Then, in place, lay the sawed-off piece of board.
Step 10) It will be essential to slide the plank under the trim when fitting around the door frame. It's simple to execute by starting the row with the door trim on one side of the room and then sliding the plank into place once it's fastened. Depending on the direction, the row can be completed by putting the tongue into the groove. While the boards are flat, use a tapping block and drawbar to secure the joints together.
Step 11) Replace the moulding once the installation is complete, leaving a slight gap between the moulding and the SPC. Moulding should be attached to the walls rather than the floor. Where SPC meets other kinds of flooring, T-molding can be used to hide exposed edges. Allow a small distance between surfaces and avoid pinching the SPC with moulding.
Finishing the Job
Inspect your work before you leave, as it will cost you extra if you have to return later to make repairs. Replace the original baseboards with hardwood baseboards that match.
As needed or recommended by your dealer or installer, install matching transitions. It is neither essential nor suggested to seal this floor after installation. However, you may want to install SPC designer strips to enhance its aesthetics.
Product: Lusso Portofino Rigid Core Sunshine Oak - SPCP205
Use felt pads on chair legs or furniture feet to protect your floor from scratches. Replace plastic rollers/casters with softer rubber wheels or castors if necessary. When moving big appliances like refrigerators, use at least two sheets of 1/4" Masonite or plywood to protect the flooring from scratching and denting (slide the appliance from one sheet to the next).