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Vinyl floor repair DIY

A retro styled kitchen with vinyl flooring

From a nail polish stain to water damage, there are several ways your vinyl floor can become visibly damaged. Before you decide how to repair it, consider what caused the damage. Depending on the severity, you may need to take extra steps in the repair process.

If the vinyl floor's edges are lifting or the surface shows ring stains, water or moisture probably caused the damage. Although vinyl usually resists water well, continuous exposure to moisture or a water build-up can cause severe damage to your vinyl floor. Find out if the subfloor is damaged by peeling back the edge of the vinyl to see the subfloor underneath. If you find water rings or a moldy surface, you may need to patch your subfloor along with making repairs to the vinyl. A stain with rings on the subfloor shows that the water problem developed over time. Leave the area exposed for a few days to allow air to flow to the subfloor to dry it. During the drying period, check for any leaks or water build-up that may have caused the damage. If the problem seems beyond your repair ability, contact a professional for a recommendation.

Non-eroding liquids, sunspots or punctures may have damaged your vinyl floor. In this case, where only the surface layer of the floor is damaged, you won't need to patch the subfloor underneath.

Before you begin

  • Find a large patch that matches your flooring. Get a patch large enough to cover the stain along with a generous border around the damaged area.
  • Find the right adhesive and seam sealer for your patch. Check with your hardware store to see what they recommend for the floor materials you have. Make sure the adhesive will adhere to the vinyl flooring material and the subfloor in your home.
  • Check to see how your vinyl flooring fastens to the subfloor. Is your floor attached with a bed of adhesive or is the floor adhered around the perimeter? Follow the correct process listed below.

Fix-it Tip: Make the seam less noticeable by cutting along the pattern lines.

For a perimeter adhesive

  • Use a straight edge to mark a square around the damaged spot on the floor. If your floor has a pattern, you can make the seam less noticeable by tracing along pattern lines.
  • Use a framing square and utility knife to cut out the square.
  • Lay the cutout on your patching material, carefully matching the patterns with one another. Use masking tape to keep the patch in position and trace around the cutout.
  • Cut the patch along the lines you traced. If necessary, sand the edges so the patch will properly fit into place.
  • Spread the recommended adhesive on the exposed area of the floor and under the perimeter of the patch area to adhere the previously installed flooring as well. CAUTION! Keep the room ventilated when using adhesive. Refer to adhesive packaging for proper safety and application instructions.
  • Lay the patch in place and wipe off any excess adhesive.
  • Put a piece of wax paper over the patch and place weights on it for 24 hours and let the adhesive dry.
  • Once the adhesive dries, squeeze the seam sealer along the edges of the patch to protect them from moisture. Most seam sealers come with an applicator bottle. Refer to your hardware store and sealant label for instructions.

For a bed of adhesive

  • Cut the patch in a square larger than the damaged area.
  • Lay the patch over the damaged floor, match the pattern and tape down the patch. With a utility knife and framing square, cut through both layers of flooring.
  • Remove the damaged square. If you make a diagonal slice from corner to corner and pry from the middle of the patch, you won't damage the edges.
  • Scrape the exposed floor to remove the old adhesive. Clean the exposed surface and make it smooth. Any bumps or bits and pieces left in the area might make the finished surface uneven.
  • Apply fresh adhesive to the exposed surface. CAUTION! Keep the room ventilated when using adhesive. Refer to adhesive packaging for proper safety and application instructions.
  • Place in the patch, and wipe off any excess adhesive.
  • Put a piece of wax paper over the patch and place weights on it for 24 hours.
  • Once the adhesive dries, squeeze the seam sealer along the edges of the patch to protect them from moisture. Most seam sealers come with an applicator bottle. Refer to your hardware store and sealant label for instructions.

Subfloor Patch

You might need to patch the subfloor if moisture, a hole or other damage weakened an area of the floor. When you take a look at the subfloor in a manufactured home, you will most likely find either particleboard (sometimes called D2) or Orient Strand Board (OSB) beneath the carpet padding or tile. Carpeting and padding that have not been damaged can be pulled back while you repair the area, then glued or tacked over the patched subfloor area. Vinyl tile and linoleum will need to be patched.


  • Use a piece of plywood for the patch. Using plywood will make the area more resistant to moisture damage. The thickness of the plywood patch needs to be the same as the thickness of the rest of the subfloor. Usually you'll find ½, 5/8 or ¾ inch original subfloor material.
  • Anchor the patched area with 2x4s around the perimeter of the opening. You may need extra 2x4s for supports on large areas.
  • Tools: utility knife, straightedge, keyhole saw, handsaw or circular saw, electric drill, three-inch drywall screws or ring-shank nails.

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Store the plywood in the room where it will be installed for at least 24 hours to allow the wood to settle in the room's temperature. When you're ready to install, remove floor covering and molding from the damaged area. Locate and mark the floor joists on both sides of the area to be patched. Manufactured home joists usually sit 16 inches apart and can be spotted easily by the trail of nails or staples along the joist.

Step 2: Cut Out Damaged Area

Find the joists that run just outside the damaged area. If you plan to use a handsaw to cut out the area, make a pilot hole at the corner of the patch. This allows the saw blade to slip through the hole for a starting point. If a handheld saw sounds like too much work, you can use a circular saw to cut out the patch. Set the blade at the proper depth, deep enough to cut out the damaged subfloor and shallow enough so you don't reach the joists. Square off the area and remove the damaged floor.

CAUTION! Please take precautions when using electrical and handheld saws. Always use safety equipment and follow instructions provided with the tool.

Step 3: Frame the Patch

To support the patch, cut pieces of a 2×4 to fit the patched area like a frame. Match the top edge of the 2x4s with the bottom edge to complete the frame. (See illustration.)

Step 4: Attach Frames to Joist

Using an electric drill and three-inch drywall screws, install the cut 2×4 flat against each joist. Drill two screws into each end of the frame boards for support.

Step 5: Prepare the Patch

Measure the floor area to be patched. Subtract 1/4 inch from both the length and width to allow for expansion after it settles into place. With a power saw or handsaw, cut out the plywood patch.

Step 6: Fasten Patch

Lay the patch on the frame and screw the plywood into the frame. Countersink the screws so the heads are set into the floor.

Step 7: Add Floor Covering

Replace, reinstall the carpeting or patch the floor covering.

What's Under Your Floor

The factory assembles your manufactured home layer by layer which makes the floor and subfloor more complex than in a site-built home. You'll find it handy to know what's under your floor when repair time comes.


A welded steel chassis sits at the base of the home. The wooden joists and subfloor structure bolts to the chassis outriggers.


The floor joists are spaced 16 or 24 inches apart and may run lengthwise or crosswise.


On top of the chassis rests a piece of black fiberboard, fiberglass cloth or heavy tarpaper called the underbelly. The underbelly protects the home from moisture, animals and insects, and helps insulate the subfloor.

Plumbing & Ductwork

The heating/cooling ductwork and plumbing lines run between the insulation and the joists. Usually the electrical wiring runs up the walls, but in rare cases the electrical wires may be under the floor.


The subfloor usually consists of 5/8 or 3/4 inch particleboard or OSB panels. Because some particleboard has little resistance to water, wipe up spills quickly and take care of any leaks before the moisture can weaken the subfloor. If you are replacing the subfloor, substitute plywood of equal thickness for the particleboard.


Batten insulation sit between the floor joists.

Vapor Barrier

This plastic sheeting, between the insulation and the subfloor, keeps the moisture in the air away from the insulation.

Fixing Squeaky Floors

Cut through the blackboard to expose the joists. Apply glue to a tapered wooden shim. With a hammer, drive the shim between the joist and the floorboard.

When you are finished, apply a belly board patch to the blackboard.

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