Do You Need An Expansion Gap For Vinyl Flooring?

There are many benefits to having vinyl flooring. It’s tough, long-lasting, and affordable while also providing an elegant look that fits in with most decors. But do you need an expansion gap for it?

Yes, an expansion gap is necessary for some types of vinyl flooring to provide ventilation and prevent damaging your floor. Additionally, it protects against moisture damage. If you don’t leave an expansion gap, the floor will quickly split or curl away from the walls. 

In this blog post, we’ll break down all of the information you need to know about expansion gaps for vinyl flooring. And some essential queries and things to acknowledge!

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Step By Step Guide To Making Expansion Gap For Vinyl Flooring

Step 1

First, make sure to measure twice before making an expansion gap in vinyl flooring; otherwise, you might end up with an uneven finish and need to take everything out and start from scratch.

Step 2

Next, buy expansion gap tape and cut it with a utility knife, twice as long as the measurement you took.

Step 3

Now, use a brush or sponge to apply a bead of caulk down one side of the expansion gap tape, making sure to coat both sides, and press the tape firmly in place.

Step 4

Lastly, you have to cut out the seam, and you’re done! Now you’ve got a professional-looking expansion gap in the vinyl floor.

Why Do You Need an Expansion Gap?

The expansion gap is one of the most pivotal parts of any expansion joint. As well as insulate the building against environmental factors, excess noise, and other temperatures.

Essentially, this expansion gap allows the molding room to move a little bit so that it doesn’t crack because of changes in temperature and shrinkage.

If there wasn’t any expansion gap, the surface of the wood could be very susceptible to cracking. The molding manufacturer creates most expansion gaps, and the gap could be filled with putty and sanded.

But it’s easier to use a nail for setting up to put the nails through the molding and into the wall. Then you can use a putty knife and remove the excess putty.

This creates a small gap, then the covers are put, and the paint is applied. This is easier than you may think, and it deserves the time you put into it.

How Much Expansion Gap Do You Need For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The flooring will have to be secured to the floor joists in your home so that there will be a gap between the floor and the boards. This expansion gap is necessary to allow for proper ventilation.

Additionally, too large gaps can create moisture, causing mildew and mold to grow on the floorboard and the wood underneath it. Too small gaps can damage the floorboards.

If you are flooring new wood, you should keep the gap around 3/8″ to 1/2″. For older wood floors, you should keep your gap a bit larger, around 1/4″ to 1/2″.

In some instances, your flooring is very thick. You may need the gap around about 1/4″ to 1/2″ is a good range for most cases.

How Much Expansion Gap Do You Need For Concrete Floors?

As with wood flooring, there are different concrete depths, which can affect the expansion gap.

Therefore, before installing your concrete floor, it is essential to check the depth of your floor to ensure that your flooring is suitable for this type of installation.

When it comes to installing concrete flooring, the depth of your concrete floor will affect aspects such as aesthetics and soundproofing. For aesthetics, the higher depth of your concrete slabs would be best, and it always looks better!

As well as, thicker slabs have more volume and make for a roomier appearance. While for soundproofing purposes, a 12mm expansion gap is recommended.

You can also install a 5mm expansion gap if your slab is less than 12mm in depth. But keep in mind the thicker slabs will offer more noise insulation leading to an overall quieter home environment.

How Much Expansion Gap Does a Floating Floor Need?

A floating floor is a type of flooring that can be applied to any part of your house. You can install them in kitchen and dining rooms, as well as bathrooms.

A floating floor can be used for various reasons, but it is best used for remodeling an older home, and it is easy to install and looks good in most homes.

Additionally, it is essential to know how much expansion gap you need. The expansion gap is measured by the number of inches, one way or the other, of space the floorboards will require to expand in the dry, unheated season.

By installing the flooring with this space and leaving it open, the boards can expand without causing buckling and damage. Because of this, it is essential to ensure that the expansion gap is done correctly.

When laying flooring, you should leave about a 10-12mm expansion gap around the perimeter of each board.

This is to allow for movement as the temperature fluctuates. If the space is too small, the boards can warp, bend and crack as a result.

Steps To Filling The Expansion Gap

  1. Firstly, don’t let water sit in the expansion gap of your new vinyl flooring. Then apply a thin layer of flooring adhesive to the top of the subfloor.
  2. Now place a sheet of underlayment in the expansion gap and roll out your flooring in the room.
  3. Apply a layer of adhesive to the back of your flooring at the expansion gap and apply a thin layer of flooring adhesive to the top of the underlayment.
  4. At the moment, you have to place your flooring down into the expansion gap, press the flooring down into the adhesive, then remove the excess adhesive with a squeegee.
  5. Now you can fill the expansion gap with a thin layer of flooring adhesive. And wipe up the excess adhesive with a rag. Lastly, leave the room closed for at least 24 hours.

Things to Know Before Installing Expansion Gaps For Vinyl Floors

  1. The expansion gaps are spaces between the flooring, the walls, and the house’s baseboards.
  2. The flooring will be installed in an expansion gap, but the walls and the baseboards won’t.
  3. These expansion gaps are essential in the installation of vinyl, especially if you plan to install vinyl flooring in the kitchen.
  4. Flooring expansion gaps help reduce floor squeaking and buckling and help protect the flooring’s backing material.
  5. Expansion gaps are only installed on hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, and vinyl floors with no underlayment.
  6. The expansion gaps will allow the vinyl flooring to move and expand with temperature changes.
  7. Due to temperature changes and moisture, expansion gaps are necessary to prevent the vinyl flooring from buckling and curling.
  8. When installing the vinyl flooring on a room with an uneven floor, you must consider using expansion gaps to bridge the floor panels.

Frequently ask questions

Can you install vinyl plank flooring on an uneven floor?

Laminate sheets or tiles may be a better bet for very uneven flooring. Another alternative is to use sturdy materials such as vinyl plank. The benefit of sturdier types of flooring is that they will give the floor the illusion of being more even than it is.

What kinds of rugs are safe for vinyl plank flooring?

You can look at rugs with a natural backing, such as cotton or jute. As is the case for all vinyl floors, rubber and latex mats might cause staining/discoloration, but there are some top-quality options out there that should be safe to use on your floor.

Do you need an expansion gap for vinyl flooring?

Yes, an expansion gap is necessary for some types of vinyl flooring to provide ventilation and prevent damaging your floor. Additionally, it protects against moisture damage. If you don’t leave an expansion gap, the floor will quickly split or curl away from the walls.

Why is my vinyl floor separating?

Floors with lots of sunlight exposure: If your house tends to be sunny, we recommend you shade the windows and shutters or install window films to protect the flooring from fading effects of direct sunlight.

Can you cut vinyl plank flooring with a miter saw?

If a crosscut of the plank is too well positioned near the end (usually the middle), then it might snap. You should use a miter saw in that case! If you’re using tile stringers for installation, you can try using a fine-toothed blade in a table saw to cut them.

Is it better to glue or float vinyl plank flooring?

Floating flooring is a fantastic option when you’re looking for more durability and longevity in your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, or laundry room; however, if you’d like to cover a bigger area such as your living room or dining room, installing glue down wood floors can give a very striking appeal!


In conclusion, expansion gaps are necessary for some types of vinyl flooring, mainly for self-stick vinyl tiles. If you’re installing vinyl flooring, you should leave an expansion gap of at least 1/8″ or 3/16″.

This space allows your floor to expand and contract without damaging your floor, and these are especially important for high-traffic areas like hallways and bathrooms.

The flooring will eventually split or curl away from the walls if you don’t leave an expansion gap.

We hope you liked our content. About do you need an expansion gap for vinyl flooring? If so, then do not forget to leave your feedback!

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