DEAR MIKE: I have vinyl sheet flooring in my kitchen, and I got home from work one day to find a big gouge in it. My teenagers won't tell me exactly what happened, but regardless I have a floor that needs to be repaired and I don't want to pay for a new floor. -- Scott A.
DEAR SCOTT: You shouldn't have to pay for a new floor. After all, your kids get an allowance, right?
I tried to be a Good Samaritan by moving a refrigerator into my sister's new home, which has a sheet vinyl floor. As I was trying to maneuver the fridge into its niche, one of the wheels ripped out a good chunk of the floor right in a high-traffic area. Needless to say, she wasn't very happy. I went from hero to villain until she saw that the floor was repaired seamlessly.
You will need to cut out the damaged area and replace it with a matching piece. The trick is to find a good matching piece.
In my sister's case, the house was new and it was easy to match since the builder left a little extra rolled up in the garage. If you can't find a match, you may have to cut out a piece from a less conspicuous area, such as the pantry floor, or under the refrigerator or oven.
Consider yourself lucky if the sheet vinyl has a pattern, such as squares with a border. You will be able to blend in the repair so that it is virtually invisible. If the vinyl has a pattern with no borders, it will be more difficult to conceal the fix.
Use a carpenter's square and lay it along the border of the pattern. Use a sharp utility knife and cut out the damaged section. The carpenter's square will keep the cuts at 90 degrees. As you cut, keep lots of pressure on the square to keep it from moving. If the square moves you will have to repeat this step except you will have to cut a larger area.
A popular pattern of flooring re-creates the look of ceramic tile with grout lines. With this pattern, cut down the middle of the grout lines.
Remove the damaged piece. You will use this piece as a template to cut a replacement patch. You can tape the damaged piece exactly over the replacement vinyl. Use the square and knife and cut around the patch. When you cut, remove the tape from that side and then replace it after the cut is made.
If you have to use a patch from another area of the glued floor, remove it carefully. You want to keep the patch in the best condition possible. You may want to warm up the replacement patch with a hair dryer to coax it out.
Remove the old adhesive from the floor. Use a paint scraper or flat razor and get rid of the old stuff. Be very careful not to damage the edges of the surrounding vinyl.
Use vinyl floor adhesive and a notched V-trowel to spread the adhesive on the floor. You will have to wait before you will be able to place the patch, so read the manufacturer's instructions on the can (usually between 30 minutes and 2 hours).
Once the glue has set up, press the patch in place and flatten it. You can use books to weight the patch down until it dries. You can also use a rolling pin (if yours is like mine, blow the dust off of it first) to flatten it. Wipe up any glue that squeezes out with warm water and a rag.
Finally, you can treat the seams with a seam coating kit (about $12). This will protect the seams from dirt and wear, and it will help the seams blend in with the surrounding vinyl.
You will need to clean the seams, then apply the coating. The coating will flow into the seam and protect it. It comes in different finishes to match different levels of glossiness of the surrounding floor. Let it dry thoroughly before you wash it or walk on it.
Now go collect the money from your kids.