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Category:  Home Improvement

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Perfectly Easy

Repairing Damaged Vinyl Flooring

By Pamela Cole Harris

So you got the perfect refrigerator. For the perfect kitchen. Miles and miles of virgin stainless steel. Perfect width. A virtual soda fountain in the door. And as your husband (just a shade less than perfect) pulls it across the floor to that perfect spot wayyyyy on the other side of the kitchen, you hear a slight ripping sound. Can stainless steel rip? Not likely. Your husband gives it another pull. The same sound. Looking down to investigate (as any perfect homeowner would), you discover that your perfect vinyl flooring now has a wide, perfectly-jagged tear. Yikes!

Here is how you can make the perfect repair:

1. Measure the extent of the damage. Width? Length?

2. Is your vinyl flooring relatively new? You should be able to find the pattern at your local home-improvement or flooring supply store. If your pattern is unavailable, you may have to replace the entire floor.

3. Buy enough of the flooring to repair the damaged area and a little extra to save for future repairs.

4. Cut a piece of the new flooring a bit larger than the damaged area. A sharp utility knife should do the job (handle with care!). Use a straight edge or ruler to help keep the blade vertical.

5. Match the pattern of the new piece with the old at each edge of the damaged area.

6. Take out your handy dandy duct or masking tape and tape the new piece to the floor below. You don't want the new tile to slip, so make certain you have taped it securely.

7. Ok. This is tricky. Use your knife to cut through both layers of vinyl. Cut around the damaged area (make certain you cut it just a bit bigger so that you will remove all the damage).

8. Now remove the new vinyl on top and the piece of damaged vinyl beneath. If you have difficulty removing the old vinyl, a hair dryer works great to soften the adhesive!

9. Scrap away all of the old gunk (Gunk. That's a technical term!) with a putty knife or an old mismatched table knife (not a steak knife!). Be sure to sweep clean!

10. Using your putty knife, apply adhesive to the back of the new piece of vinyl. Make sure your kitchen is well- ventilated. That stuff can be harmful!

11. Press the new piece into place. It's best to start at the center and work towards the edge to make certain all those little air bubbles are worked out.

12. If you have excess adhesive around the edges, wipe it up with a clean, damp sponge.

13. This is the fun part! Take your rolling pin (you DO have a rolling pin, don't you?) and roll the patch firmly. You will have to wipe the excess adhesive again.

14. Now you can let the adhesive dry (no dancing on it for about 24 hours!).

Zowie! Now your perfect kitchen has returned! Wait! Is that a perfectly awful footprint I see?

Pamela Cole Harris is an editor and writer with 35 years experience. Visit her website,, for a free newsletter with remodeling, home improvement and decorating ideas for the financially challenged, creatively deficient and technologically illiterate.


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