Loose Lay vinyl is becoming more popular today because of the ease of installation. It doesn’t require as much floor preparation and eliminates expensive adhesives. The one thing that might make the do-it-yourselfer a little nervous is seams.
When making a seam, there is a few small tricks to help relieve this fear. The first is to make sure to match the pattern up correctly. You can do this by overlapping one sheet over the other at a grout line in the pattern. Make sure you have the pattern repeat correct. Some 9″ patterns may have a 27″ pattern repeat. If you will cut the top sheet just a hair shorter on both ends, then you can see to match up the grout line perfectly. (Make sure your quarter round will cover these cuts.)
Now you are ready to cut through both pieces at the same time. This is what we call a double cut. (DO NOT cut each edge separately and then try to butt them together. This will not work – it will cause bubbles at the seam.) Use a chisel point utility knife with a new blade to make this cut. Using a metal straight edge, you will want to make this cut in the middle of the grout line, following the edge of your straight edge. Hold your knife straight up-and-down and apply enough pressure to cut through both pieces. If you have to move your straight edge, do not remove the knife from the cut. Simply slide the straight edge down and let the knife be the start of the alignment to continue the cut.
After you have completed the cut, fold back the top layer, and then the bottom layer, gently. (Please make sure that you don’t move them when folding back.) Apply to the floor a clear, double faced tape, recommended by the manufacturer. Now fold back the bottom layer, always starting at the middle of the seam area and working your way back to the ends. Do the same with the other side, making sure to just let the vinyl fall into place. Do not push toward or away from the seam – the vinyl should line up naturally. Apply a small amount of pressure to the seam to stick the vinyl to the tape underneath.
All manufacturers have a recommended seam sealer that needs to be applied at the seam. Apply this seam sealer to the cut area, making sure to use just enough sealer to cover both edges of the cut. Don’t over-apply the sealer, letting it overflow onto the pattern. Let the sealer dry properly. This should make a beautiful seam, that will be free from bubbles and last a lifetime.