Patching Vinyl Floors
We continue now with the tutorial to repair minor damage in residential vinyl flooring. The previous pages we gathered material, tools and supplies and prepared the area for patching. Then we cut the old damaged area out, cleaned the bare floor and made for a tight fitting patch. Now we are going to glue the patch in and seal our seams. Let’s refer to it as…
In With The New
So that we don’t slop adhesive over the edge and contaminate it so the sealer doesn’t work properly, tape the sides of the cuts. I try to get the tape to form over the cut edge and onto the floor very slightly to prevent adhesive from oozing up into the seam from the pressure I will put on it later. One of the seam sealer manufacturers includes a roll of narrow blue tape for marking seam areas to protect them from traffic. I’ve found it doesn’t work very well for that, but it’s great for keeping the glue off my edges. You can use any tape that will come off easily – masking tape or painters tape are good. Using the proper size notched trowel, or a throw-away paint brush, apply the adhesive to the floor. The tape will help keep you neat, but try not to get glue where it doesn’t belong.
You can pull the tape off as soon as you have finished spreading the adhesive. Before installing the patch, wait several minutes until the adhesive tacks up and loses it’s wetness. Vinyl adhesive off-gasses when it is fresh and may cause a bubble. The bubbles sometimes occur on the job and normally come out within a day or two, and are usually no bigger than a dollar pancake. But a patch like this isn’t that much bigger, so it would be like comparing a bathroom size bubble in your new kitchen floor. When the glue has tacked up for 3 – 5 minutes, carefully press the vinyl patch in place, starting in the corner and working your way around the sides.
I use a tool called a “stair tool” here, but you can use any similar or suitable tool that will give you firm, even pressure over the patch without scratching the material. Straddle the seam areas and press the material evenly along the edges. Watch for glue ooze, which we tried to prevent. If you see any, clean it with a water dampened rag. You may even have to lift an edge to clean any glue off the side. Be sure to press the lifted edge back down and smooth the entire surface to make a good bond between the vinyl and the floor.
Clean the entire area with a damp rag. While it is drying, you can put your tools away and prepare your seam sealer. Each vinyl product has a seam sealer designed specifically for it. This material happens to be a Mannington product, in their Bronze category. It has a PVC wear layer and requires a seam sealer that can be poured from a can into the applicator and you can return the unused portion back to the can when done. There are also 2-part seam sealers for urethane wear layers. These are a one-time use seam sealer and can be quite expensive. It’s my belief that you will get the best possible seal and finish with the seam sealer made for your particular flooring. Many pros, including myself, have used seam sealers not specifically for a product with good results, but that comes from knowledge of the properties of the product and experience. If you do not know the name or quality of your product, take your scrap to a flooring dealer and see if they can determine what seam sealer to use.
Applicators and application techniques may vary from product to product, but most are similar enough to this method. This applicator has a fin that must fit inside the seam. The applicator is drawn along the seam with enough pressure on the container to squeeze out a ⅛” bead of sealer on the top of the seam. Some of the sealer will also go inside the seam. Some products, like certain Armstrong vinyls, have only a topical application of the seam sealer – their applicator has no fin.
Isn’t that a beautiful sight? No damage and no one will even know you put a patch in if you have followed these guidelines. The patch fits snug, matches its surroundings and is sealed to prevent shrinking and curling. It’s practically invisible. A small patch like this takes a pro less than an hour to do. Even the accomplished DIYer can do this in nearly the same amount of time. If you aren’t concerned about the amount of time, and just want to save money, this is a fairly simple project that can save you a flooring mechanic’s minimum charge. That can be a substantial savings and a project you can be proud of.
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