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Click Vinyl vs Glue-Down Vinyl

Vinyl flooring comes in a variety of construction types. Most commonly, you will find sheet vinyl, glue down vinyl and click vinyl. Each of these vinyls are waterproof, but will have different pros and cons. Depending on your project, you may choose a glue down vs a click lock vinyl or visa versa.

Glue down vinyl is when you use adhesive to seal the vinyl to the subfloor. Click vinyl uses a click and lock system, similar to laminate, to keep the floor secure and connected.

Both are widely used and both have their advantages. Here are a few considerations to make while you decide which type of flooring is right for you.

- Your Subfloor

Before you decide what type of vinyl to use for your next project, look at the subfloor you’ll be installing it over. This could be:

Old vinyl flooring, tile or terrazzo
You’ll want to research the subflooring requirements to prepare before any plank or tile is laid. This is true for both glue down and click vinyl.

Depending on your subfloor, one type of vinyl might work better than others or need less repair. It should be noted that any type of vinyl can be installed over a variety of good condition subfloors. If your subfloor is prone to high moisture, such as below-grade concrete, you’re better off installing with a click-lock flooring because a vapor barrier can be used.

In general, glue down vinyl plank floors are thinner than click vinyls. With this said, you will have less cushion over harder surfaces, such as cement. If you’re looking for a softer feel under foot, we’d recommend looking at click vinyls.

- Your Expected Foot Traffic

The type of flooring also depends on whether you plan to install your vinyl in your home or in a commercial application.

Commercial areas tend to see higher amounts of foot traffic. Vinyl’s with high wear layers, such as 0.5mm, come with a commercial warranty and protection against higher foot traffic. Commercial grade floors can be click-lock or glue-down. For large, open spaces, you will want a glue down vinyl. For smaller applications, such as a boutique, a click lock vinyl will be fine.

For residential projects, a glue down or click vinyl can be used. If you’re looking for comfort, a click vinyl will be your best option, as they are thicker and can use an underlay. If you’re looking for a basic, budget friendly option for larger rooms, such as a basement, a glue down floor can be the best option.

If you’re installing your vinyl in a temporary location (such as a pop up shop or trade show booth) you will want to use glue down vinyl with resealable adhesive, a loose lay vinyl or a click-lock vinyl that can be easily removed and re-installed. This allows you to pick up the flooring quickly and move it with you wherever you go.

- Your Room Size

The room you plan to install your flooring in matters too. Larger rooms will have less joint stability with a click-lock installation. For larger rooms or rooms you do not want transition moldings, a glue-down installation will be your best option for installation.

Glue down vinyls are a great option for larger spaces, such as basements, offices and restaurants. Both types of flooring are great in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and commercial settings.

- Your Vinyl Installation Type

How you plan to install your flooring makes a big difference too.

Glue down vinyl can be done by inexperienced homeowners, but it’s not ideal if you have never worked with an adhesive before. The preferred (and much easier) solution is to use click vinyl for DIY installations. Click lock vinyls require little tools and no adhesive. It is a very DIY friendly option.

If you’re not experienced installing vinyl flooring, it’s highly recommended that you hire a contractor for glue down vinyl. This way, you ensure you get the results you’re anticipating with your new floors. You’ll save yourself time, hassle, and potentially money on lost product by doing so.

- Your Budget

Your budget may also determine if you choose a glue down vs click lock vinyl flooring. Glue down vinyls are typically more affordable than click lock vinyls. Click lock vinyls can be found in a variety of thicknesses with special features such as attached underlay, which will increase the cost. Glue down vinyl will not have as many options when it comes to special features, but they can be specialized for commercial applications.

Vinyl Subfloor Requirements

Vinyl is one of the most durable types of flooring. It stands up to dents, dings, and scratches from normal, daily abuse. To keep this type of flooring resilient against wear and tear, you must install it correctly before it’s used. The first step to proper installation is to get the subfloor in order. Vinyl is one of the few types of floors that can be safely installed over concrete, wood, or other solid floors. To help you start your installation project off right, here are a few tips for preparing your subfloor.

- Wood Subfloor

Vinyl is not recommended to be installed on a wood subfloor, such as parquet, as this will seal any moisture or humidity in the existing wood floor, and will cause rot and damage to both your subfloor and vinyl floor.
A suspended loft/ plank floor, will need to have airbricks on the boundary of your homes walls, in order to allow for acclimatization.

- Concrete Subfloor

Concrete is one of the most common types of subfloors found in homes. It’s also the subfloor that can hold in the most moisture. No matter the flooring, concrete slab should always be cured for at least 60 days before a flooring installation.

To test your subfloor for moisture, you should always take a moisture reading. To comply with the warranties, each manufacturer has a different set of specifications.

If you’re ready to move forward, sweep away any dust or debris. You can use a wet vacuum as long as you dry the floor completely before laying any planks, tiles, or sheets.

Next, put a level on your floor. Look around your room for any pockets of high or low spots. Concrete might look smooth, but there are often a few areas that will stand up or sink down.

If you find any low spots, smooth them over using a self-levelling screed. Follow the instructions on the compound and then let it dry for at least 4 – 7 days. Once dry, sand it down with sandpaper and sweep again.
If you have any high spots in your subfloor, sand them down using a belt sander. When you’re done, clean away any debris using a vacuum or broom.

Floating vinyl flooring may require a vapor barrier upon installation on a concrete subfloor.

- Vinyl Subfloor

In rare cases, a homeowner will install a new vinyl floor over an existing one. If that’s what you’re doing, the first step is to do a deep clean of the old vinyl with floor cleaner. If you don’t have floor cleaner, mix a few drops of dish detergent with water to clean the floor. Allow it to dry completely before moving on.
Dust and sweep up the remaining debris from the floor. Once the floor is clean and dry, you’re ready to install.

- Tile Subfloor

You can install vinyl flooring over tile floors, such as ceramic and terrazzo. These floors should be solid and in good condition. The tiles will need to be leveled with self-leveling screed, that will create a smooth and level surface. Follow drying instructions and test for moisture before installing the vinyl flooring.

Before you move on to the installation, make sure you have all the tools to install vinyl flooring on hand and ready to put to use.