How one can restore gaps between vinyl flooring planks


Q: Our vinyl flooring has developed two widening cracks. Is there a solution to repair this to right the looks and to forestall additional widening, which may change into a tripping hazard?

A: Sure, it’s best to be capable of nudge the planks collectively to shut the gaps. Vinyl planks, like plenty of different flooring lately, are normally put in as a floating ground. The plank edges interlock, so the flooring acts as a single unit that “floats” over the subfloor however will not be hooked up to it.

All constructing supplies, vinyl flooring included, broaden and contract as temperatures change. To permit for that motion with out inflicting the planks to buckle as they broaden or slip aside as they shrink, installers are supposed to depart an growth hole across the perimeter of the room. (The scale of the hole must be what’s really helpful by the producer.) Baseboards, quarter-round molding or cupboards cowl the gaps — but it surely’s vital to lock these to the wall, not the ground, so the hole stays unencumbered.

One draw back to the floating-floor idea is that gaps do typically open between planks, as you’ve skilled. Generally a spot is simple to shut, typically it’s trickier and typically it’s not possible, as a result of one thing, comparable to a cupboard, was screwed via the flooring and into the subfloor. Typically, although, you’ll be able to shut the hole by pushing the piece that’s closest to a wall towards the middle of the room, which can put the growth hole again on the perimeter of the room, the place it belongs.

Start by cleansing the crack, so no particles retains it from closing. Vacuum it, then go over it with one thing sharp, comparable to a toothpick or knife blade, to loosen any caught gunk. Vacuum once more.

If you happen to’re fortunate, you may be capable of kick the errant plank into place. Placed on footwear with grip. Together with your again towards the wall that’s closest to the hole, stand with one foot on an adjoining plank and kick ahead on the plank that should transfer. Generally that’s all it takes to tighten the hole. If the plank isn’t the one subsequent to the wall, the following hole may open up. Repeat till you’re on the wall.

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If that doesn’t work, or in case your footwear skid over the vinyl once you kick, get a bit of rubberlike rug pad, such because the nonslip hard-surface rug pad ($6.34 for a 2-by-3-foot piece at House Depot). Additionally get a brief, thick piece of wooden, comparable to a 12-inch size of two-by-four, and a rubber mallet. Place the pad on the plank you wish to transfer, high that with the wooden, then brace the wooden together with your toes and hit the tip of it with the mallet till the hole closes.

And if that doesn’t work? As a substitute of utilizing the carpet pad, attempt a Floor Gap Fixer ($51.99 on Amazon), a bar roughly two inches vast and 10 inches lengthy with a sticky aspect. The producer says it grips even to textured vinyl and is reusable and washer-friendly. Or you need to use double-stick carpet tape with a wood block. (Trazon carpet tape, which claims to depart no residue, is $9.97 for a 12-yard roll that’s two inches vast on Amazon.) You most likely gained’t be capable of pull up the Flooring Hole Fixer or the block of wooden you tapped in opposition to together with your fingers alone. Use a slim pry bar. When you get the bar a bit bit beneath, slip a large putty knife beneath the pry bar, so once you lever it, the bar presses in opposition to the putty knife blade, lowering the danger of gouging the flooring.

And a ultimate possibility, in case your vinyl flooring is easy: Quick-forward to an answer {that a} flooring installer would most likely use. Grip the plank when you faucet it into place, and use a suction device, such because the FCHO floor-gap-fixer tool ($21.99 on Amazon with a mallet included).

No matter resolution you utilize, if the plank closest to the wall is just too brief to depart swing room for kicking the plank or tapping in opposition to a block or suction device, you’ll want a Z-shape steel bar that hooks over the skin fringe of the flooring and that has a tip on the opposite finish that extends upward so that you can pound in opposition to, such because the Roberts 16.25-inch pro pull bar ($14.57 at House Depot).

Have an issue in your house? Ship inquiries to [email protected]. Put “How To” within the topic line, inform us the place you reside and attempt to embody a photograph.

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