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Easy vinyl floor repair

If you have a sheet vinyl floor that is damaged in a small but obvious area, we can show you how to repair it quickly and inexpensively. To get rid of the offending gouge or other blemish, you will need a razor knife, metal straight edge, putty knife or chisel, some adhesive and an adhesive spreading tool.

The best patch is a piece of the original flooring material. If such a scrap is not available, and you don't know the brand or style name, a photograph could help the person at the flooring store determine availability. With or without a photo, if the flooring is several years old, finding a match is difficult because styles frequently are updated or discontinued. Even without a scrap of the original flooring, and even if the manufacturer has discontinued your pattern, there is another way to go. The needed material can be taken from beneath a kitchen appliance or from a closet floor. When using this technique it is important that the patch and the area to be repaired are close in color.

With older floors, wax tends to yellow in exposed locations. Even if this condition exists, a match probably can be achieved. Discolored wax can be lifted with commercial strength wax remover and a floor scrubber. The floor should be cleaned to a uniform color before a repair is made.

Next the flooring that will be used for the patch must be removed. It should be slightly larger than the area to be repaired. In many instances there is a need to match the pattern of the patch and the area to be repaired. If it is necessary to do this, transfer the pattern in the area to be repaired onto tracing paper by burnishing it with a pencil. Then, use the burnished tracing paper to locate a match for the patch. Use a razor knife and a straight edge to cut the vinyl. Then, use a putty knife to help separate the vinyl from the floor. Since the patch material is larger than the area to be repaired, slight damage to the edges will not be a problem. Some of the paper backing must remain on the material being removed, so work slowly and carefully. There will be some variation in the thickness of the patch material. The adhesive used to bond the patch material to the damaged area will help to smooth things out. Nonetheless, it is important to brush away all loose backing.

Next, use double-sided tape to hold the patch material in place over the damaged area. And, don't forget pattern alignment. Once the patch is aligned and in place, use a razor knife to cut through both the patch and the repair area at the same time. This is called double cutting. It is essential that a fresh blade be used for the double cut. Next, set the patch material aside, and be sure that the cuts that were made in the repair area penetrate all the way through the vinyl. Next, two corner-to-corner diagonal cuts need to be made within the repair area to ease removal of the damaged vinyl. This is accomplished by peeling it off its backing from the center outward. Removal in this direction prevents damage to the edge of the freshly cut perimeter. Usually the vinyl and some of the backing will easily peel away from the backing that is glued to the floor. Don't attempt to remove too much of the paper backing that remains attached to the floor. The depth of the area to be repaired should equal the thickness of the patch as closely as possible.

Once the patch is properly fitted for installation, it's time to apply adhesive. Regular vinyl adhesive is fine, but even the smallest container can be expensive. We have used tub and tile caulk. It is a nifty adhesive and acts as a filler as well. When placing the patch, use a gentle touch. Once the patch is in position, cover it with a sheet of wax paper and several books. The first book should be larger than the repair area. This will reduce the chance of forcing the patch below the level of the surrounding surface.

Finally, purchase a scrap of flooring and use the same procedure to repair the area from which the patch was taken.

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