vinyl plank installation costs and expectations

Vinyl Plank Installation Costs & Expectations

Have you considered vinyl plank flooring, but find product and installation costs confusing? It’s hard enough to estimate a budget without including additional expenses, as well as the time it will take to complete.

In addition to the materials, you’ll have to account for the cost of preparation and installation. If you’re tearing out your old floors, don’t forget to plan for their disposal.

A simple renovation can turn into a money hemorrhage if you’re not careful. Always, get the full picture before you start shelling out dollars. Here’s a few pointers to make your decision less stressful.

Pay Now or Pay Later?

Vinyl planks can cost as little as $2 a square foot. But, as with anything, you tend to get what you pay for. You may find the least expensive options won’t meet your needs, and you might have to replace them sooner than you’d expect.

If you want your floors to hold up over time, it’s worth opting for a mid-priced plank. Luxury vinyl planks are waterproof and have better wear resistance. Unfortunately, they can cost almost double the price of bargain materials.

Your local big box store might offer cheaper solutions, but you’ll run the risk of lower quality and less support. Higher priced planks feature better padding, thick top coats, and longer warranties. Look for a brand that’s up-front about their manufacturing, certifications, and the durability of their products.

If you’re using planks in a high traffic area, it’s worth spending more on quality materials. Cheaper planks are prone to staining and scratching, and actually installing them can be a nightmare.

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The Necessary Extras

If you want vinyl planks that reduce noise, add a layer of padding to the subfloor. Underlayments are especially beneficial when adding planks to a second story. If the kids are playing upstairs, they won’t sound as if they’re falling through the ceiling.

Underlayments keep your floors warmer and double as underfoot cushioning.  Although many installs don’t require it, your feet will appreciate the softer layer.

If you’re installing vinyl planks in humid or damp areas, use a vapor barrier. Over time, these layers protect the planks from mold and mildew.

Do you have a way to monitor humidity levels? If the humidity level isn’t right, you’ll risk ruining your floors and voiding your warranty. You can buy a decent indoor monitor for less than $20.

A successful installation requires tools including a rubber mallet, tapping block, utility knife, level and a tape measure. If you’re making cuts, a jigsaw, multi-tool or miter saw will help you notch the planks and undercut any door jambs.

If you’re gluing your vinyl planks, buy the recommended adhesive and have a way to vent the fumes. Study the installation guide before starting, as this method is tricky and permanent.

Remember to include the costs of wall trim, transition strips, and stair nosing if applicable.

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What About Demo, Disposal, and Prep?

Many people fail to plan for the disposal costs and demo time needed to do the job. If you’re removing carpet or resilient floors you might need a dumpster and an extra pair of hands. Depending on how much help you have, demo and disposal can take an entire weekend.

If you’re removing floors with mold or asbestos, you’ll need a certified expert to do the job. It’s mandatory to handle these materials carefully to avoid exposure to harmful toxins. You might be tempted to remove it yourself but don’t, the health risks aren’t worth it.

When installing vinyl planks over tile, you’ll need to fill in any slopes in the flooring. Check that the subfloor is level to the manufacturer’s specifications. If it isn’t, be prepared for your planks to buckle and shift.

Lastly, inspect your subfloor to ensure it’s clean and free of debris. Go over the surface with a heavy-duty vacuum before starting your installation.

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Should you Hire a Professional Installer?

In many cases, a DIY installation can cost more than hiring a professional. Once you add up the materials and time needed for the job, you might realize you’re saving less than you thought.

Look online to get an accurate picture of what professional installers in your area charge. Some websites enable you to submit information to receive custom bids. Referral sites like Homeadvisor and Angie’s List also include reviews from past customers.

Look for contractors that include the extras, as well as labor and disposal in their estimates. An installer can knock out the floors in half the time it takes the average weekend warrior. Hiring a pro means never wondering if you have the time or ability to install your planks.

Installers guarantee their work from start to finish. If the planks are shifting, they’ll often fix them without charge. At first, the up-front expenses might seem discouraging, but hiring an installer can work to your advantage.

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In Closing

Look at all the hidden costs when you’re calculating your budget. Better flooring may be worth the added price. Luxury vinyl planks look and feel better than many bargain alternatives.

Consider spending a bit more for quieter and softer flooring. Better lines come with attached padding, lifetime warranties, and increased durability.

Anticipate all the materials you’ll need from the start. Estimate the costs of demo, removal, and prep. Have a realistic idea how long it will take you to complete the job. If you don’t have the time or resources for a DIY, hiring a pro is a better choice.

If you approach this project with your eyes open, you won’t regret your decision. What’s the number one lesson you’ve learned while doing a home improvement project?

Jeanine Hintze

About Jeanine Hintze

Jeanine Hintze is a professional content writer, and home improvement enthusiast from Long Island.

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