How to prepare a concrete floor for vinyl flooring?

How to prepare a concrete floor for vinyl flooring?

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When it comes to vinyl flooring, there are a few options to choose from: vinyl planks or tiles, luxury vinyl planks and vinyl sheets. Each option has unique characteristics and a different method of installation. You can learn more about the different types of vinyl flooring in this previous post.

Before installing your vinyl flooring, whether the subfloor of your work area is hardwood or concrete, one crucial step is to make sure the subfloor is level and clean. However, laying vinyl flooring over concrete requires a bit more preparation.

Prepare the subfloor

Repair cracks and holes

Inspect the floor and repair cracks, pits, holes, or other uneven patches. Use concrete filler or a similar floor patching compound to repair the damage. If the subfloors have large cracks, then the best course of action is to remove the large part of the slab and replace it with a new one.

Please note new concrete floors must be left to cure for at least 60 days before you can install vinyl planks over them.

Grind imperfections

The surface must also be as smooth and flat as possible. Make sure you sand down any uneven areas including humps, lumps, or bulges with sandpaper or an electric sander using a grit of 40 or 60. And once you’re done, take a damp rag and clean the remaining dust.

Wash the floor

Wash the concrete floor thoroughly using water and household detergent or degreaser. The floor should be free of greasy spots or built-up grime before you leave it to fully dry. 

Conduct a moisture test

The moisture levels in concrete subfloors should be as low as possible before installing vinyl flooring. Here is a simple guide to test the moisture level yourself:

  • Tape a small piece of scrap vinyl to your subfloor. 
  • Make sure the edges are properly sealed to prevent air from escaping. 
  • Leave the tape for exactly 3 days.
  • After 3 days, try pulling the tape off the floor. If it comes off too easily, it means the moisture level may be too high for the application of vinyl. In such a case, the room should be dehumidified.

Apply the underlayment

An underlayment can create an extra vapour barrier above your subfloor and will also provide may added cushioning making the floor feel softer to walk on.

As always, when installing new vinyl flooring, follow the manufacturer recommendations specific to your product or contact a Parrys professional installer if you have any further questions.


About the Author:

Ian is a renowned floor covering expert in product knowledge and installation. He is specialized in all types of floor coverings for many years and his knowledge in the industry is exceptional. Feel free to ask Ian any floor covering question you may have.


  1. Raquel April 29, 2020 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Great tips Ian. Love when Australian business owners and industry experts share their knowledge.

    • Ian Minotti April 29, 2020 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Raquel
      Thanks for the pat on the back.
      It is always good to share thoughts and ideas.

    • Ian Minotti April 29, 2020 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Raquel
      Always happy to share thoughts and ideas.

  2. Craig May 22, 2020 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Gday Ian,
    Is it necessary to grind new concrete floors for vinyl where concrete curing products have been used?

    • Ian Minotti May 25, 2020 at 3:52 am - Reply

      Hi Craig
      At the end of the day a vinyl floor that is to be glued to concrete needs a nice smooth finish to be installed on. You would think that a cured concrete slab will be level and not require grinding at all. A further fine feather finish may be needed just to get to that required smooth level.

      • Craig May 25, 2020 at 8:54 am - Reply

        Thanks Ian. Have you ever come across it being a problem that the glue won’t adhere to the concrete where a curing compound has been used? Same excuse we got for carpet tiles on the same project. Floors were reasonably level it’s first time I have seen such excessive charges for floor prep. Would really appreciate your insight.

  3. Herbert Kikoy August 9, 2020 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ian for this tips. I agree that preparing the subfloor is really crucial because vinyl is thin and if you don’t pay much attention on the surface of your floor, if there are uneven surfaces, it is noticeable when the vinyl floors are installed.

  4. Helen January 26, 2021 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Do we need to use a primer on the concrete floor before installing vinyl planking?

    • Ian Minotti January 28, 2021 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Helen

      Thanks for the question. If the concrete is reasonably new then YES would be the answer to your question. If it is much older then you may get away without doing it but we would suggest to do it anyhow; better to be safe than sorry.

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