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Vinyl Plank Flooring Not Laying Flat, Solution & Tips

If you are using Vinyl flooring, Vinyl plank flooring not laying flat is a common problem that you may face. This is most times referred to it as buckling. It occurs when there is a space under the flooring that tends to bounce if you walk on it. A click-together, loose lay or glue-down flooring like the vinyl plank is prone to be a victim of this issue 

This flooring not laying flat issue happens when the flooring is not fastened to the subfloor. It can also occur when mistakes are made during the installation process. It is important to take action immediately you notice this flooring problem. To do this, you will need to identify the causes of the issue and tackle it the right way if it has occurred. You can also take steps to prevent it from happening. 

Causes Of A Vinyl Plank Flooring Not Laying Flat

a. Moisture

Moisture can harm your vinyl flooring if you have an extremely moist sub-floor because it tends to come up to the floor most times. This can also make the adhesive that seals the flooring to the sub-floor weak. To prevent this, check the vapor barrier and use proper adhesives during the installation process. 

b. Not Allowing For A Perimeter

A vinyl flooring naturally expands and when prevented to expand, it will lift. This happens when there is no perimeter gap, tight shoe molding installation, and a host of others. While installing your vinyl plank flooring, make sure to leave at least ¼ inch gap from the walls of the room on all sides. The gap will remain invisible because it will be covered with shoe molding. 

c. Sunlight And Heat

A change in the climate condition can trigger this issue. When the material becomes warmer, it will expand and cause the floor to lift. When the weather is cold, it would contract to cause gaps between the floors. Even with direct sunlight on your floor, it can melt down the adhesive allowing them to shift. To prevent this, try applying a UV film or glass tint directly to the window. 

Vinyl Plank Flooring Repairs 

If your floor already has this issue, it is advisable to repair it according to the level of the damage. If it can only be seen in a small area then you can carry out a simple repair. If it is severe damage, you might end up replacing the whole flooring. 

When dealing with glue down the floor, gently peel back the affected area. Scuff away the adhesive on the surface, apply a new adhesive and place the vinyl plank back. Place a heavyweight to allow the floor to stick together. If it is a section then remove it and cut out the exact shape. Replace using a rubber mallet.

Can You Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on Uneven Floor?

Yes, you can but the floor should be slightly uneven. Vinyl flooring has all the qualities of a good floor. That includes durability, pocket-friendly, and easy installation. Before you start the installation of the vinyl flooring, always ensure that the subfloor is clean and level. 

In a situation where your floor is a little uneven, you can still deal with it. Vinyl planks are sturdy and can help balance the uneven floor but the subfloor must be smooth. To install vinyl plank flooring on the uneven floor you need to:

a. Sand And Level

You need to sand your concrete floor and ensure that it is smooth enough. Sand down all high spots and fill in low spots. Check all subfloor deformities and add cement if the need arises. 

b. Remove Baseboards

Remove all door case moldings, base shoe molding, and baseboards. This will help you have a clean and easy installation.

c. Clean The Debris

The dust and debris on your floor can stop the vinyl plank flooring from clicking together. To avoid this, you need to clean them off. Use a vacuum cleaner or mop while doing this. 

d. Cut The Vinyl Planks

After selecting the pattern for your floor, cut out the vinyl depending on its thickness. For this job, you can either use a circular saw, tile cutter, or T-square to cut your vinyl. 

e. Install The Vinyl Plank Flooring

When all of these are done you can then install your vinyl plank flooring. You can either call a professional to handle the process or make it a DIY project. After the installation, make sure you replace the baseboards. 

Why Is My Vinyl Plank Flooring Separating?

When you notice a small long gap between vertical floorboards then your floor is separating. This can occur naturally or caused by humans. The only remedy is to repair your vinyl plank flooring or replace it. Having an idea of what the causes are can help you prevent it from happening. 

Causes of Vinyl Plank Flooring Separating

a. Weather

This can be a big reason behind your floor separation. The floor can either expand or contract as the weather changes from cold to warm. When the room is extremely cold, that is when you will notice the separation. When this becomes constant, it will keep separating.

b. Moving Heavy Furniture

This effect can shift your vinyl plank around and add weight to the floor. In the process of dragging instead of carrying, the planks might shift and separate. It is best to always carry and lift the furniture and use pads under them. 

c. A New Home

Your new apartment that has vinyl flooring may need some time to settle. When you lay this flooring in a new home, you might notice some separation with time. A settling home faces some difficulties at first but gets better with time.

The one way to settle all these is through caulking and replacement of all floors depending on how bad the separation is and if caulking did not work out. 

Do You Need Underlay For Vinyl Planks?

No, you do not. Although it can be important to have an underlay. The design of vinyl flooring has made it easier for you to install the flooring without underlay. Vinyl planks come with a base layer that acts as an underlay. Installing just your vinyl plank flooring is enough for it to last long. It also saves you from spending extra bucks on an underlay. 

You may need an underlay if you are using a click vinyl flooring on a concrete subfloor. If your subfloor has weak areas then install an underlay to serve as a vapor barrier. This process can prevent water from damaging the floor structure. 

An underlay can also work out if you want to increase the height of your floor. You will only need vinyl flooring with a thickness of 4mm or more but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 


Vinyl flooring has multiple benefits that range from being pocket-friendly to being easy to install and then being durable. To protect these benefits you need to take extra caution by preventing all forms of flooring problems. With proper installation, these problems too can be avoided and if it does occur, small patches and repairs will restore it to its original state.