Vinyl Plank Flooring (Sealing, Acclimate, Slippy Stairs)

If you plan to get vinyl flooring for your home, the floor’s longevity is a concern you would address through sealing to eliminate weak spots or prevent the entry of moisture or any other particles. I understand that whether you can seal vinyl plank flooring is a matter of concern that requires your attention.

So, can you seal vinyl plank flooring? Given the seams between the planks, it is advisable to seal vinyl planks. If left unsealed, these seams will collect moisture, debris, and dirt. In addition to being unsanitary, these foreign objects will be difficult to clean and eventually cause the planks to loosen and peel upwards, reducing their lifespan. Sealing is important to enhance cleanliness and prevent damage.

Vinyl flooring is a top pick in kitchens and bathrooms, and their simple application makes them a preference for homeowners interested in DIY projects. However, cleaning these tiles and keeping them in good shape for their lifespan can be challenging, which is why I will clarify if you seal vinyl plank flooring.

Applying a sealant to your vinyl plank flooring is possible and an important step to enhance durability and protect the flooring. Vinyl plank flooring features seams between the sheets or tiles. These seams trap dirt, debris, and dust, and fusing them with a sealer to prevent this accumulation is advisable. The sealant will wear out over time, requiring resealing to protect your vinyl plank flooring.

Sealing your vinyl plank flooring protects the floor surface, enhances cleanliness, increases durability, and maintains the flooring luster. Vinyl flooring is prone to moisture damage over time, and seals will effectively prevent this by creating a barrier between the flooring and moisture. Dirt may also find its way between the tiles or sheets. If left to accumulate, this dirt may harbor microbes that spread disease, hence needing a sealant.

Seals also prevent flooring damage, increase their lifespan, and save your money in the long run, as you will stay for a longer duration before considering replacement. In addition to durability, the seals make the floor attractive by covering the seams and smoothening the surface. To some extent, it will cover some uneven surfaces, improving the overall outlook of your floor.

Some of the sealants you can use on vinyl flooring include caulks or any other sealant compatible with vinyl floor. Before choosing caulk, consider the properties you have in mind, as this will affect your pick.

For instance, if you intend to prevent moisture, choose a water-resistant caulk. Choosing Acrylic latex caulk is not advisable in such a case, as this caulk dissolves in water and might damage when you mop the floors, requiring you to reseal. Thus, consider acrylic latex or silicone caulk, which are waterproof.

The temperature range of the sealant is another consideration. Choosing a sealant that can stand high temperatures, such as silicone caulk, is ideal for maximum durability, as it will remain intact even with adverse weather changes and friction.

Applying a sealant to your vinyl flooring is straightforward but like any other DIY project, it will take time. This process is also tedious as it may take more than a day to achieve the desired outlook. A poor application will result in a substandard outlook, which can cause planks and seams to clot with debris. This will create more work in the long run when you consider resealing.

Before applying a sealant to your floor, you should prepare it first. Doing this step correctly will ensure the success of the project. Start by cleaning the floor to remove debris, dust, or dirt. You can do this using a soft bristle broom to remove the larger debris. To remove the invisible dust remains, use a microfiber cloth to sweep the floor. Lastly, vacuum your planks to suck out any stuck debris or dirt.

If your floor has old polish or wax, use a stripping solution to remove it. To do this, wet a sponge with the solution, dampen the floor, rinse and leave it to dry. Using a scraping tool, check whether there is any residue on the floor and repeat the above step if there is any.

Afterward, you can start applying the sealant. If the sealant contacts your furniture or newly painted wall, it will be difficult to remove. Hence, use painter’s tape to cover these surfaces before application.

To apply the sealant, coat a lambswool applicator pad in your chosen vinyl sealer and move it back and forth across the vinyl flooring. While doing this, ensure smooth coverage, paying attention to the seams while avoiding air bubbles in the sealant.

Repeat this process for the whole floor and allow it to dry overnight. Once dry, sweep the first coat gently, and using a microfiber cloth, gather any accumulated dust. Apply a second coat and if necessary, apply a third coat on the third day. The second and third coats application should be as per the manufacturer’s instructions if you want to achieve a professional look.

Generally, a vinyl seal for a residential area will last longer than a commercial area, given the differences in foot traffic. Thus, for a commercial space, reseal after every two years and three to eight years for residential flooring. Also, the quality of the sealant and professionalism in the application will determine its durability, which is why you should use the best products and application techniques.

Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Need To Acclimate?

When you travel to a new destination with different humidity, your body will take a few days to adjust or acclimate. I will help you know whether vinyl plank flooring requires a similar adjustment.

Vinyl plank flooring needs to acclimate before installation. Acclimating in this sense will entail letting your planks adjust to the new environment to enhance longevity. The duration of acclimating is dependent on the material, temperatures, humidity, geographical location, and expected climatic changes.

Vinyl plank flooring features a high density and porous core. These spaces allow air penetration, increasing the humidity in the planks. In high humidity areas, these planks will swell and shrink in low humidity areas.

While these changes appear negligible, they could cause buckling and gaps on the floor since your home is likely to have a higher humidity level than the store where you bought the flooring. Your vinyl plank flooring requires time to get used to the conditions in your home before installation.

This way, the temperature and humidity levels in the planks will be similar to those in the surrounding. Thus, even if you bought these materials and had them in your garage for some time, acclimating them is still necessary to ensure the temperatures and humidity match that of the place you will lay them.

In most cases, individuals are swift in installing their vinyl plank flooring. Many come from the store, tear their packages and start the installation. This is wrong, and you may end up regretting it.

Failure to acclimate your vinyl planks will affect their size and overall outlook. As the air in the room finds its way into the plank pores, the pores will respond depending on the humidity in the air. Thus, if the humidity is high, the planks will expand. Since you have packed them tightly, they will buckle or warp, leaving no space for this.

This buckling would be worse if you did not include an expansion joint during installation. If the humidity levels go down, the planks will contract and become smaller. This will leave gaps between the pieces making your floor unattractive.

Given the above effects of skipping acclimation, you should allow your planks to acclimatize by exposing them to the exact conditions they will spend the rest of their lifespan. Even though the design of the modern planks is such that they can perform well even under difficult circumstances, you still need to acclimatize them.

To do this, start by preparing the room you want to install by setting the thermostat to the room temperature. Manufacturers advise acclimating at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also check the humidity levels and stick to between 35 and 75 percent.

With your room conditions set, carry your plank boxes into the room and put them where you intend to lay them. This spot should be away from direct sunlight for the best results.  Acclimation will be easier with the vinyl planks outside the box but this is unnecessary. You can open the boxes to allow circulation, and after forty-eight hours, your planks will be ready for installation.

Are Vinyl Plank Stairs Slippery?

Vinyl flooring gives your floor a polished and stylish look. However, you may wonder whether these floors are slippery, thus if they are ideal for your stairs.

Generally, vinyl floors are slippery. When wet, they will get even more slippery. Vinyl floors are slippery since their main material is polyvinyl chloride, which is plastic. Water, grease, and dust will make them more slippery, and you should be careful, especially if you have them on your stairs. Even with their slipperiness, homeowners still prefer this option for their aesthetic look and affordability.

The slippery nature of vinyl planks does not disqualify their use on stairs. Instead, vinyl planks are a practical choice for stairs, given their strength. With stairs being a high-traffic area, you will be right with vinyl planks on them. These planks are also ideal for their ease of installation. Unlike vinyl sheets, you will install vinyl planks like you would with wood planks.

When choosing vinyl planks for your stairs, consider the wear and core layers. The best vinyl plank flooring for your stairs should have a thicker wear layer, given the high traffic on the stairs. However, you should note that wear layers are not equal, and reviewing them helps select the best brand. As far as the core is concerned, consider the WPC core products for their high cushioning.

Given that vinyl plank flooring, despite their slipperiness, are suitable for your stairs, you should get it right on the installation method. Despite their ease of installation, you should exercise care, especially on the stairs. Poor installation will result in loose or uneven stairs increasing the risk of tripping. The best way to install vinyl planks on your stairs is to glue them down.

Thus, whether you install the floating or glue down variety, you should glue down your planks on stairs. Even with the correct vinyl plank type and installation, your floors will remain slippery, hence higher chances of accidents.

To keep your home secure, especially with kids or elderly individuals around, you can use anti-slip mats, rugs, spray, and coating to keep them safe. Placing anti-slip rugs and carpets will significantly reduce slipping. These mats feature rubber bottoms that prevent slipping. You can put them in places where you walk the most rather than covering the whole flooring.

An anti-slip spray features a cost-effective solution that makes the floor non-slippery. You should ensure that the spray you are using does not contain elements that could damage your floor. To add traction to your floor, you can also use an anti-slip coating. Besides reducing accidents, this floor will make your stairs scratch and water-resistant.

Finally, you can also clean your stairs to make them less slippery. Dust and dirt build-up on your floor will make it slippery. Thus, using a pH-neutral cleaner on your floors and drying it properly will make it safe to walk on. Also, avoid using excess vinegar during cleaning as this can cause the floor to be more slippery.

Wrap Up

Vinyl plank flooring offers an affordable flooring solution to modern homes. To enhance the durability of this flooring solution, it is advisable to seal the planks. If left unsealed, the seams between the planks will collect moisture, dirt, and dust, making it difficult to clean. This accumulation may also loosen the planks, reducing their lifespan.

Like human bodies, vinyl planks need to acclimate before installation. Acclimating your planks ensures their adjustment to the destination temperature and humidity, enhancing longevity. Despite their ease of installation and lavish look, vinyl plank flooring is slippery and risky when used on stairs.

This is because they are plastic. This flooring will be more slippery when in contact with dirt, grease, or water but this does not disqualify their use on stairs. Thus, if you live with kids, older people, or pets, consider anti-slip carpets, rugs, and cleaning your stairs to enhance safety.

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