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Back to Vinyl and Linoleum Tips

The vinyl flooring is curling up!! Can it be repaired?

It may be possible to flatten out the curl. It depends on where the curl is, and why it is curling. There are really only two places where curling can occur... along seams and along the edges of the wall.

Curling along seams...

You will need to have a small can of flooring adhesive handy. First, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose and a small putty knife to loosen and vacuum out any dirt that may have crept under the curled flooring. Use a heat gun at low temperature or a hair dryer to warm the flooring so that it relaxes. If you overheat the flooring in any one spot it may blister, so move the heater patiently back and forth until the flooring has softened and relaxed.

Use the putty knife to slather some flooring adhesive under the loose area, and then press it firmly down, squeezing out any excess adhesive. Then, use a damp sponge to wipe the top of the seam clean. You can pile books on top of the seam to hold it down for at least 24 hours. Do not put the books across the seam! If you do and there is any squeeze-out of glue, you may ruin the book and also cause the book to stick to the floor!!

If perchance both sides of the seam are loose, you can do the repair to both sides at the same time, but again do not put anything across the seam.

Curling along a wall...

This is not usually a problem, because most installations install a molding around the perimeter of the room, taking some of the stress off the glue. However, one place where I have often seen curling is where a vinyl floor meets a shower stall or tub enclosure in a bathroom. The curling can be caused by the action of moisture that has dripped from the tub or shower and leaked under the flooring.

You can do a similar repair to a seam repair (above) if the subfloor is in good condition and dry. If the flooring is partially damaged due to water leaking from the enclosure, you can install a metal transition threshold over the curled flooring to hold it down. These thresholds are used to visually tie together dissimilar floor materials, such as tile or sheet flooring and wood flooring. They also protect the edges of the materials they cover.

Use screws instead of nails... minimum size #8... to hold the threshold down. You might have to enlarge the holes in the threshold by drilling. It is a good idea to soften the flooring with a heat gun or hair dryer (as described above) to take some of the stress off the threshold while installing it, and to aid in attaining the proper position against the side of the shower or tub enclosure.

Of course, if the flooring is so soft that you cannot screw a metal threshold down, you could install a strip of wood, such as a piece of door molding, to hold the curled vinyl down. You should prime and paint the molding either before or after the installation.

Whether you use only flooring adhesive, a metal threshold, or a piece of molding, always caulk between the side of the tub or shower enclosure and your repair to keep moisture away from your handsome repair!

Back to Vinyl and Linoleum Tips

Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

Written by Jerry Alonzy

Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.

As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+.