How to Install Underlayment for a Vinyl Tile Floor

What You'll Need
1/4 inch thick BC plywood
Nail Gun
1 inch nail gun nails
Hand Saw
Tape Measure
Claw Hammer
Safety Goggles
Long Piece of String
1/8 inch diameter circle chisel
Hardening Wood putty
Flathead Screw Driver

When learning how to install underlayment for a vinyl tile floor, the task can seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and techniques, you can complete any underlayment for a vinyl flooring project with the precision of a professional. They are particularly functional in busy areas of a house, being able to withstand the wear of high traffic. Vinyl floors are ideal for rooms with high moisture and possible spills like in the bathroom or kitchen. Laying vinyl flooring can add a new aspect to an old room. If the project is covering a particularly bad floor, then underlayment is a must to protect from the floor from rotting.

Step 1: Measurement of Floor

Plywood comes in a standard 4 by 8 sheets, so it is crucial to measure the floor to determine the exact amount you will need to cover the whole floor.

Step 2: ¼ inch BC Plywood

At your local craftsmen store, purchase ¼ inch BC plywood in the amount needed for proper coverage of the area your underlayment will be laid.

Step 3: Baseboard Removal

Using the claw hammer, remove all the baseboards modeling the floor frame.

Step 4: Locate Stud

Using your stud finder, place it at the first corner of the floor, turn on your stud finder, and begin to make your way down the wall with the finder located at the base where the baseboards were removed. It will beep to alert you when it has located one. With your pencil, mark the site where you had removed the baseboards from to note the stud is located in that spot. Studs will run the length of the floor.

Step 5: Begin Laying Plywood

When laying the first sheet of plywood down, start in the corner and allow 1/8 inches of room from the baseboard to the piece of plywood. This gap is for adjustment in the case of expansion. Nail the outside edges of the plywood, placing a nail every 5 inches.

Step 6: Completing your Row of Plywood

Lay the second piece, 1/8 of an inch away from the wall and 1/32 of an inch away from the first board; continue this process until you come to the end of your row. You will have to measure and cut the last piece of plywood in order to have a correct fit.

Step 7: Completing Plywood Underlay

After the floor is completely covered in plywood and the underlay has been installed, look for the marks previously made, noting the placement where the studs were located. With a piece of string, mark the stud and connect it to the other side of the room. Use this string as a guide when nailing the plywood to the studs so that they are placed in a straight line

Step 8:  Counter Sinking and Putty

To complete your project, take the circle chisel and follow up with each nail by countersinking it in 1/16 of an inch deeper; follow up with filling each countersunk nail with putty. Allow it to dry, and your underlay is complete, and you can begin laying your vinyl floor.