This article was originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
There’s a lot of sheet vinyl on a lot of floors in cottage country. It’s not surprising—vinyl is durable and inexpensive, especially if you repair a hole or tear yourself.
If the cut is small with smooth edges, you can often fix it with seam sealer, an adhesive available from flooring retailers and building centres. But even if you’ve severely damaged the floor—perhaps by dragging a heavy appliance without slipping an old towel under its feet—you can cut in a patch of spare flooring (which you tucked away when the floor was first installed, right?).
Position your scrap so its pattern is aligned precisely on the floor, and tape it down with masking tape. Using a steel straightedge and a sharp utility knife, cut through both the scrap and the vinyl floor below. Cut along pattern lines—faux grout, for example—to help conceal the patch. If the floor was glued in place, winkle up the damaged section and scrape old glue off the subfloor.
Use a V-notched trowel to apply flooring adhesive to the subfloor. (The adhesive label will specify the right notch size.) If the floor wasn’t glued down, gently lift the edges of the cut-out, and get adhesive under there too. Or use double-sided tape designed for vinyl floor repairs. Lay in the patch, and apply pressure with a flooring roller or a rolling pin. Wipe up any squeeze-out, cover the repair with wax paper and scrap plywood, and weigh it down. Buckets of water make great “gravity clamps.” When the adhesive cures, use seam sealer to protect the edges of your patch.
No stash of extra flooring in the tool shed? Steal some from an inconspicuous spot, such as the back of the closet or under the stove.