The popularity of vinyl plank flooring isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The flooring is advantageous for several reasons, including its resilience. But what do you do when the flooring separates and shows cracks between the planks? To help you find the answer, we've done a bit of research for you. Continue reading to learn more about how to fix cracks in your vinyl plank floors.
The method that you use to fix the cracks in your plank flooring will depend on the type of planks that you have. The 2 vinyl plank flooring types are click-in floors and loose lay planks.
- Clean the floor
- Wait for the floor to dry (or use a dry mop)
- Apply caulk
- Apply stain, paint, or matching filler
- Mark the gaps with tape
- Use the mallet to fill the gaps
- Apply wood scraps
- Direct cracks toward the floorboard
A crack in your vinyl plank flooring can make the flooring look unsightly and worn. And you may be surprised to find that fixing the issue is fairly straightforward and inexpensive. Continue reading to learn the steps to get it done.
Steps To Fix Cracks In Vinyl Plank Flooring
Glued or Clicked-In Floors
When you have click-in or glued vinyl plank floors, it isn't necessarily easy to take out a plank to replace it with another one. But there's a way to fix the crack.
Things you'll need:
- Clear caulk
- Wood filler or stain
- Putty knife
- Cleaning sponge or rag
- Floor cleaner
1. Clean the floor
Start by cleaning the floor with an appropriate vinyl flooring cleaner after sweeping and mopping the floor. Ensure that there is no debris or grime on top of the planks. It's also a good idea to use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove any excess debris between the cracks.
2. Wait for the floor to dry (or use a dry mop)
After you clean the floor, wait at least 10 to 12 hours for it to dry. Sometimes these floors may look dry on the surface, but they'll still hold a bit of moisture. You want it completely dry before moving to the next step. If the weather is nice, consider opening up a window to help get some warm air in the room.
3. Apply caulk
Next, apply a clear silicone or clear acrylic caulk to the space between the planks. Make sure that the caulk fills the gaps between all of the planks. If you have a gap between the plumbing in the wall, place a strip of painter's tape on the bottom of the wall to avoid covering it with the caulk.
You can also take a putty knife and press the caulk down between the planks so that it fills up the gas completely. Be sure to scrape off any excess caulk with the putty knife or a damp rag before it has a chance to dry on top of the planks.
4. Apply stain, paint, or matching filler
Next, take your stain and carefully paint over the caulk to match the tone of the wood. Wait at least twenty-four hours before allowing traffic on the floors, as you want to give the caulk time to dry completely.
Quick note: You can also use enamel to fill the gaps as well.
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Loose Lay Floors
If you have vinyl plank floors that are loose lay, meaning you simply place the floors next to one another side by side, fixing the cracks between them is rather simple. Let's look at how.
Things you'll need:
- Rubber mallet
- Double-sided tape
1. Mark the gaps with tape
Start by taking your painter's tape or any other type of light tape in placing it on top of the planks that have tracks. This will make it easier to spot the areas that will need the most attention. As you begin the process, you may notice that some room areas may require more adjustment than others.
2. Use the mallet to fill the gaps
Next, take a rubber mallet and gently tap the planks together, starting at one side of the room. If there is an area of the room that has more gaps than others, be sure to start on the opposite side so that you can finish on the area that has the most gaps and bring the planks closer to the wall.
3. Apply wood scraps
If you find that there are planks that the mallet can't move, take a scrap piece of wood or a shim to fill the gap of the space. You may need to use a hand saw to cut the wood so that it is thick enough and flat enough to lay flush between the gaps.
4. Direct cracks toward the floorboard
Keep using the mallet to fill the gaps until you get to the other. If you notice a significant gap between the points that meet the wall, you can feel this using wood scraps or caulk. If the space is large, you may want to add another row of planks along the wall.
Why is my vinyl plank flooring cracking?
If your vinyl plank flooring is cracking, chances are it wasn't installed correctly. If you install the flooring yourself or hired an inexperienced contractor, the measurements may be a bit off. The planks may have been placed too closely together, not clicked into place, or are not glued down properly to the subfloor, resulting in cracks between the planks.
Also, if there has been extensive water damage to the floor, this can cause them to cup, which will create a space between nearby planks. In this case, it's best to fix the planks completely.
Can luxury vinyl planks be replaced?
Absolutely. You can replace luxury vinyl planks either one at a time, or you can replace the entire flooring area. If you are replacing one plank at a time, you may run into issues, depending on the type of planks that you have. Click-in planks are fairly easy to remove and re-install, as you simply line the planks up and lay them down next to one another.
If the planks are glued down, you will need to remove several planks to access the ones to be removed. For these planks, you'll have to pull them up from the adhesive, which can take a bit of elbow grease. This method may also require the use of a circular saw to cut through the planks. Be sure to use extreme caution if you've never done this before, as you don't want to cut into the subfloor accidentally.
Can vinyl plank flooring be removed and reinstalled?
It depends on the plank flooring that you have. Some vinyl flooring planks come with interlock installation that allows for easy removal.
The other plank flooring may require an adhesive to be glued down for installation. The latter will be fairly difficult to re-install once it's been lifted to the floor. However, in some cases, a professional contractor may salvage the plank during the removal.
What are the problems with vinyl plank flooring?
The most common problems with vinyl plank flooring are dents, scratches, spills, and stains. Let's take a closer look at each.
The luxury vinyl is fairly durable, but it isn't completely bulletproof when it comes to damage. Oftentimes this is due to heavy furniture being dragged across the floor. The best way to fix it is to use a colored floor pen or wood filler to mask the scratches.
Dropping heavy furniture, appliances, or other objects can cause dents in vinyl plank flooring. Depending on the severity of the dent, you can try to cover it with an area rug or other piece of furniture; or you can replace the flooring.
Stains and Spills
Sometimes certain stains may be difficult to remove, depending on the type of stain and its age. In some cases, you can typically use a spot cleaner or concentrated vinyl floor solution for easy removal. And in other cases, replacing the plank may be a better option.
How long does vinyl plank flooring last?
On average, vinyl plank flooring can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years if it's well-maintained.
Can you put heavy furniture on vinyl plank flooring?
You can put heavy furniture on the flooring, but it's always best to place floor protectors down beneath it to prevent the flooring from becoming dented. This can happen over a period of several years.
Wrapping Things Up
To sum things up, a quality installation can typically prevent the floor from cracking. And we hope that this post has helped illustrate how to fix cracked vinyl plank flooring.