5 Common Vinyl Plank Flooring Problems & Solutions

There are some common vinyl plank flooring problems that occur with floating installations, currently the most popular kind for residential use. The other type of luxury vinyl plank is glue down. The benefit of floating luxury vinyl is that the click-together method of installation makes it do-it-yourself-friendly. There’s virtually no floor prep to do since it lays directly over the top of the existing floor. 

This is the opposite of the glue down variety of luxury vinyl, which requires smoothing floor prep because it shows all the imperfections of the flooring underneath, such as grout lines in a tile floor or imperfections in the subfloor. No matter what type of installation you’re doing, sometimes it’s best to leave it up to the professionals to prevent any issues.

vinyl plank flooring problems and fixes

Top 5 Vinyl Plank Flooring Problems In Order

1. Scratches

The most common problem is scratching on luxury vinyl. The material is very resistant to scratches, but it’s not bulletproof, and homeowners might not be as mindful of scratching as they would be for hardwood. A common source of scratching on a luxury vinyl plank flooring is from furniture, but the runner-up culprit for the leading cause of scratching is often pets and kids.

How To Fix

A colored pen to match the color of the print layer of the luxury vinyl plank, made by Min-Wax or similar found at any big box store or online, can help with scratches.

2. Heavy Object Impacts 

Dropping a really heavy object such as furniture or an appliance on floating luxury vinyl plank flooring can cause an end-joint movement. It’s essential to take precautions when moving heavy objects to prevent them from falling on your floor. 

How To Fix

The fix is to simply replace the plank that is out of place with a matching plank purchased from the same place as the original flooring. Don't forget to get yourself a flooring nailer to make installation easier. Also, be more mindful when carrying heavy things around the home.

3. Sunlight Damage

Direct sunlight on a luxury vinyl plank floor print layer can lead to the coloring to fade. This issue will happen gradually over time, and the area affected depends on how big the window is and how much sunlight the area receives. 

How To Fix

The only available fix for sunlight damage is replacing all the damaged planks affected by the fading effects of the sunlight. Consider buying blinds to prevent too much sunlight from entering the home. 

4. Spills & Stains

For stubborn stains, spot clean with a concentrated cleaner recommended by your vinyl manufacturer. Do not use products that contain bleach that can damage your floor. When cleaning your vinyl flooring, always use a clean white towel to avoid spreading or adding to the stain.

How To Fix

For tough stains and spills, go to the manufacturer’s website or contact the service department at the flooring store where you purchased the flooring.

5. Water Damage

Water can also cause problems if the spill is big enough. It’s true that luxury vinyl resists water damage for light spills and will not leave stains if it’s wiped up right away. The issue with it is that you won’t know if the water has seeped down to the OSB plywood layer unless you look. Take whatever steps necessary to prevent that from occurring is crucial to keeping your floor in good quality.

How To Fix

Make sure you purchase extra planks from the same manufacturer. Use the same color, size, and style to match the planks you have installed to use as replacements. Since these variables change all the time, the plank you have installed today more than likely will not be available anywhere for purchase in the future.

To remove the installed luxury vinyl plank that's the floating type, cut out single boards with a table saw and replace them with matching ones. To remove the glue down luxury vinyl plank, use a hot hair-dryer to lift the plank away from the glue.

Preventative Care for Vinyl Plank Flooring

vinyl plank flooring

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is popular and often used because of its durability, scratch resistance, stain resistance, and waterproof properties. But the material isn’t indestructible. To prevent the most common problem of scratching from occurring, place felt floor protectors on all furniture that sits on luxury vinyl plank flooring. 

Another critical step to prevent minor scratching on the floor is to place non-staining rugs or mats near doors that lead inside and outside. People and pets may bring in substances that leave marks.

When it’s time to clean it, the most important thing to do is follow the manufacturer's recommendations. For instance, Shaw Floors recommends R2X surface cleaner, while other manufacturers will have their own products or a particular polish to maintain the floor’s beauty. But in general, frequent sweeping helps remove loose dirt. Also, use a damp mop with a pH-neutral cleaner for routine cleaning. 

Mop up spills immediately to prevent stains from forming. Avoid the use of household cleaners and bleach-based detergents. Do not use soap or detergent cleaning products, as they may leave a film or dull the vinyl surface. Don’t forget that vinyl can be very slippery when wet!

Adding window treatments such as blinds, curtains, or even sheers will protect the luxury vinyl plank flooring from fading or discoloration because of prolonged sunlight exposure.

If you have to move heavy items like furniture and appliance lift and carry them off the floor. Don’t drag a heavy object across the floor as it may gouge it.

We recommend taking precautions to prevent damage and protect your floor, referring to the manufacturer’s recommendation for care, maintenance, installation, fixing, and replacing the floor. Alternatively, you should contact the flooring store, installer, or service company that installed your floor for additional guidance. 

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Scott Fisher

Scott Fisher is a Field Support Expert for FLOOR360. He is a former flooring installer with well over 20 years of experience. FLOOR360 was initially established in 1998 and has installed more floors in new construction homes than any flooring business in Wisconsin. They have clients in Madison and Milwaukee. Potential clients can expect to be guided through an unparalleled selection of products and installation using comprehensive and service-oriented processes. FLOOR360’s team of professional interior designers brings together customer’s styles with the right functional flooring solution to personalize their residential or commercial space. Whether it’s a tiled shower, hardwood floor, luxury vinyl plank, or carpeting —FLOOR360 uses design to make a difference in homes.