Does Vinyl Flooring Need to be Glued Down?

Does Vinyl Flooring Need to be Glued Down?

Are you wondering if you need to glue down a vinyl floor? When you begin placing a vinyl floor it’s important to do the job right the first time. Let’s talk about gluing vinyl floors. 

Vinyl flooring does not always need to be glued down. Floating vinyl floors and interlocking floors are very popular and don’t require glue. However, there are glue-down vinyl floors that have specific benefits. The key is to determine the type of vinyl floors you need and then work to install them correctly.

In the sections below, we’ll talk about how vinyl flooring works, and why you sometimes need to glue it down. 

Does Vinyl Flooring Need to be Glued? 

Some vinyl flooring needs to be glued. However, this is a specific type of vinyl flooring, and it needs to be glued for specific reasons. In this section, we’ll talk about how glue-down flooring works and why it has several benefits. 

Glue-down vinyl flooring comes in thin sheets, and it’s designed to be placed on a clean flat surface with glue-like adhesive. While some people find the gluing process intimidating, there are a few reasons it is necessary and even desirable.  

Benefits of glue-down vinyl flooring: 

  • Cheaper than interlocking vinyl floors
  • Good for uneven floors 
  • Quieter and less bounce 

Let’s look at these things in more depth. 

Glue-down Vinyl Flooring Can be Cheaper 

Often, glue-down flooring is cheaper than other types of flooring. There are a few reasons for this, but before we talk about them, let’s insert a disclaimer – the price of vinyl flooring, glue-down or not, will have a lot to do with the quality of the flooring. 

There may be some kinds of glue-down flooring that are more expensive than interlocking vinyl flooring. However, most of the time, glue-down is known to be cheaper, and there are a few reasons why. 

Glue-down flooring is usually thinner than other types of vinyl flooring. Since there are fewer materials, it costs less to manufacture and can be sold at a cheaper price. Why is glue-down flooring thinner? 

Unlike interlocking vinyl flooring or even a floating floor, glue down doesn’t need a layer of padding. Instead, the bottom of a glue-down vinyl floor is ready for the glue. Finally, glue-down flooring doesn’t need any lips or ridges (as does interlocking flooring), for this reason, glue-down flooring is often easier to make. 

Glue Down is Good for Uneven Floors 

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like something was off? Maybe it was the floor. One of the issues with an interlocking floor or a floating floor is that they are only secured in place by pressure between the walls. This makes these floors resistant to lateral movement, but it does little to keep the floor from having hollow spots or bouncy areas. 

When you glue the floor into place, you can fill these gaps, and give the floor a much more solid feeling. This is not a big issue for level floors, but it can be a real problem if the subflooring has a lot of subtle dips. 

However, if the subfloor is really messed up, you should try to level it before placing any type of vinyl flooring. 

Glue Down Flooring Can Be Quieter 

Depending on the situation, a glue-down floor can be quieter. Now, we’re talking about just the flooring – we are not talking about the entire room. Indeed, some glue-down vinyl floors could be loud. 

But, in general, since the glue-down vinyl floor is secured to the base, it’s not going to make any popping or clicking sounds as you walk on it. Think about the difference between walking with hard shoes on a hardwood floor and walking with hard shoes on concrete – both will make sound, but one will reverberate more than the other. 

This is something you’ll have to experiment with for yourself, as the acoustics of a given room can vary widely, regardless of the floor. 

Before we talk about how other types of vinyl floors differ from glue-down floors, let’s talk about two types of glue used for vinyl flooring. 

Hard Set for Vinyl Flooring

Hard set glue will dry very hard and keep the floor solid. This type of glue will be very durable and will resist dents and movement. In many cases, hard set glue is a good option for hospitals or other more industrious buildings. If you’re in a commercial building that will have the flooring changed frequently, you might want to look at pressure sensitive glue. 

Pressure Sensitive 

This glue will mold to the items on its surface – not by a lot, but in general, it is more malleable. This glue will probably be easier to remove, but it is less durable overall. Pressure-sensitive glue is the more common of the two types of glue, and for regular residential applications, it will work well. 

Note: As we said, not all vinyl flooring needs to be glued down. In many cases, vinyl flooring is made to rest atop the floor below it with no adhesive. If this is a new idea to you, you might be wondering how the floor stays in place. Good question. Below, we’ll talk about how a regular floating floor works. 

How Does a Floating/Interlocking Vinyl Floor Compare to Glued Down Flooring?  

Doesn’t the floor need to be secured? Those of us who are used to regular wood floors can find it hard to believe that some floors just stay in place. However, there is a good reason for this design, and it makes it nice for homeowners who don’t want to worry about nails, glue, or anything else. 

Note that we’ve included floating and interlocking vinyl floors in the same section, but these are two different things; a true floating floor does not interlock with each the other planks, it just holds in place due to the lateral pressure between the walls and the friction on the floor. An interlocking floor “clicks” together at all sides. 

With our definitions out of the way, it’s important to know that some people still call both these vinyl options “floating floors” as neither is secured to the subfloor itself. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of floating and interlocking floors and why some people choose them over a glue-down floor. 

Interlocking System on Vinyl Floors

Some vinyl floors interlock on all sides. That means that the edges interlock on both sides and the ends interlock as well. This is a little different from some floors, which only interlock on the sides, or don’t interlock at all. 

True floating floors don’t interlock on the sides, but they require careful placement so that they stay in place – they need to be installed properly. 

Pressure Against the Wall 

Let’s talk about floating floors. If you’ve ever played that childhood gamedon’t break the ice, you’ll know how this principle works. The floor planks are fitted together so snuggly that they don’t move around. 

One nice thing about these floors is that they are fairly easy to replace, as once you’ve freed one of the planks, the rest of them come up with little effort. 

Now, let’s answer some common questions. 

Do You Put Anything Down Under Vinyl Flooring? 

For a glue-down vinyl floor, you do place glue underneath the flooring planks. Otherwise, you don’t need to place anything under most vinyl flooring. Most vinyl flooring these days already has the required pads and barriers built into the floor itself. 

Usually, the thinner vinyl floors won’t tolerate a thick pad. The thick padding below the flooring causes the floor to become a bit uneven and rather soft. For those who want to place some type of underlayment, they will usually need to go with a thicker vinyl floor. 

If you’re unsure, it’s best to contact a professional so they can assess your particular floor and tell you what would work best. 

Is Glue-down Vinyl Flooring Better than Click? 

We’ve gone over both glue-down and regular interlocking vinyl flooring. Which one is better? 

It depends on your situation. There is no way to say that one is definitively better than the other. 

Here is a list of pros and cons to vinyl and click flooring (interlocking): 

  • Glue flooring offers less movement. Glued-down floors tend to have less shift, thus looking more precise – however, this all comes down to how the floor is installed. 
  • Glue flooring will feel more stable. Generally, a glued-down floor feels sturdy underfoot. 
  • Glue flooring can be more difficult to remove. This is debatable, as there are some types of glue that will be easy to remove. 
  • Vinyl flooring is easy to install. Vinyl flooring doesn’t require any messy adhesives. 

Let’s go over our final thoughts. 

Final Thoughts: Gluing Down Vinyl Flooring

You do not need to glue down all vinyl flooring – only vinyl flooring that is designed to be glued down. 

Glued-down vinyl flooring offers several benefits. Glued-down flooring is better for uneven surfaces and is less expensive. Interlocking and floating vinyl floors are usually thicker, and they don’t require glue or any underlayment. 

If you’re trying to decide if a vinyl floor is right for you, inspect some different options and see which you like the best. 

3 thoughts on “Does Vinyl Flooring Need to be Glued Down?”

  1. Hi,
    I have non glued vinyl planks and i notice fairly large gaps appear at the area in the sun.
    I am assumming this is due to expansion and contraction.
    Should I relay the planks with no gaps and glue?

  2. Really need some good advice on putting down my vinyl flooring in the garage. They are 20” x 20” x 5 mm LV, slate tiles, live in New Jersey, where the temperature changes quite a bit and we do leave the garage doors open. We’re direct sunlight will hit it constantly. Would you recommend gluing down these tiles or letting them float?


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