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If you want to give your kitchen a fresh, new look, changing out the flooring can make a huge difference. The great thing about changing flooring is that you can replace it at any time. In other words, it can be a stand-alone project or something you do as a part of changing the entire kitchen. Regardless, your kitchen will look amazing and the value of your home will benefit.

In most cases, a new floor can be placed over an old floor as long as the sub-flooring is in good condition. Just keep in mind that if the flooring will be connecting to other rooms, there would be issues with imbalance. Therefore, while this is an option, the better choice would be to tear out the old floor and have new flooring installed, especially if the new floor is hardwood.

If you want to install vinyl flooring, the best option is to buy it in sheets. Just be sure that you use the type of adhesive recommended by the manufacturer in that it is different from other adhesives. You should first create a template made of paper of the floor�s perimeter and measurements. Roll the paper along the edges of the room and then tape it into place any place where there would be a seam or a place where the tile would turn a corner.

When you cut the sheet of vinyl, be sure to allow at least 5% more than the actual room size for cutting and waste. Depending on the pattern, you may need to allow even more.

et vinyl usually comes in rolls 6' wide, so there's often at least one seam in most kitchens. Cut two pieces a bit longer than the required length and overlap them a couple inches at the seam, matching any pattern exactly. Tape them together, then tape the template down over them and cut the perimeter with a utility knife.

Many types of sheet vinyl require a fully-bonded adhesive that's spread on the entire floor to secure them, and here's how to do that:
  • After test-fitting the pieces, fold the first one back to half it's length and spread enough adhesive to bond half of it.

  • Lay that part back down and embed it in the adhesive.

  • Fold the loose end back over the glued end, spread adhesive for that half and lay it down.

  • Do the same with the second sheet, allowing it to overlap the first one at the seam.

  • Lay a straight-edge down along the overlap, line it up with a seam in the pattern and cut down through both pieces from one end to the other.

  • Remove the scrap pieces, relay the edges in the adhesive and use a roller to fully bond the seam and the rest of the material

  • Some vinyl only require a perimeter bonding at the edges and seams. For those vinyls, lay the sheet down so it fits well in the corners and along the edges.

  • Cut the seam, spread a band of adhesive under the seam and then press the edges into the seam one at a time, rolling each one thoroughly to seal the bond.

  • At the edges you can either use the adhesive to secure them or a staple gun along with a base molding thick enough to cover the staples.
Setting Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tile installation usually begins in the exact center of the room. Snap a chalkline between the midpoint of two parallel walls. Find the midpoint of that line and use a framing square to mark off perpendicular lines running to the other two walls.

Test fit the tiles along the lines to see if that produces an eye-pleasing layout and adjust as needed. Start in the center laying the tiles out in one of the four sections made by the layout lines, working your way toward the corner and building equally along each line and the middle of the section.

Vinyl tiles are usually sold with a self-stick backing, which is protected by paper till you're ready to go. Then you pull that off, lay the tile down and stick it to the floor.

But some tiles require a separate adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for that, spreading only enough adhesive for small sections at a time, keeping your layout lines visible and wiping the tile surface clean of any adhesive that squeezes out.

You'll likely have to cut some tiles to fit along the edges. Use a utility knife and a straight edge, but allow a gap of about a 1/4" at the walls for expansion.

Installing Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is available in both pre-finished and unfinished forms. Pre-finished products are literally done once they're installed, which is a remarkable time saver when you consider that unfinished flooring still requires sanding, sealing, staining and finish coating after it's installed.

Whether it's pre-finished or unfinished, it's typically milled in tongue and groove joints that stay relatively solid despite the expansion and contraction caused by changing weather. And most of it's designed to be nailed down to the sub-floor through the tongues with a special flooring nailer.

It can also be glued down with special flooring adhesive, which is troweled out in small sections.

But nailing is inappopriate in many cases�like if you have radiant floor heating tubes embedded in a gypsum mortar bed. That's where a "floating" wood floor works best.

The tongue and groove pieces are glued to hold together, but they're not secured to the floor. That not only protects the sub-floor (and heating tubes) from nails but allows the flooring to expand and contract unhindered during weather changes.

This method prevents buckling or shrinking at the joints. The planks are set over a plastic moisture barrier and a layer of heavy paper, although on non-radiant floors they're set over a layer of foam.

Whether it's glued or nailed, wood flooring should be laid out with straight seams because they're fairly prominent in the floor's appearance, and any problems will be apparent.

The main cause of problem seams is startingt along a wall that isn't straight. The cure for that is to measure out 30" at each end of the kitchen's longest wall and snap a chalkline between those points. That gives you a straight reference line to guide your layout.
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