Sunday, January 28

Ollie's And The $50 Floor Repair: DIY Vinyl Flooring

When I as looking for houses in Jacksonville, I mentioned to my realtor that people here didn't seem to understand the simple formula I'd learned about selling a house. I've sold two houses that have increased in value by a lot. Both of those houses sold because of flooring, lighting, and paint. We're talking 10% increase in value per year for each house. Today, I'm going to show you how to increase the value of your home by  $2,000 to $5,000 for $50.

We had builder-installed vinyl flooring in the bathrooms of our current home. It was cut and stained over the years (10). Both floors suffered from water stains, one near the toilet, and the other near the towel rack. The house was also painted after the floor was in, so paint stains were all over the floor. However, I didn't have the money, time, or expertise to put in real tile floors. Sure, those would have added even more value, but it's not worth it if I have to pay an installer.

I'd put in a new vinyl floor right over the old floor at my last house in the kitchen. It was one of the main reasons the house sold in two days, so I know the stuff, though cheap, can look pretty good. For this house, I wanted to do the job even cheaper if I could, hoping to find some remnants at the Habitat ReStore. But the remnants I'd seen there were out of stock once I finally made a visit with my measurements. I tried local Home Depot and Lowe's stores, but you can't even get samples to bring home. I wasn't wanting to order something online and then get home with something that wasn't going to work. My last-ditch idea was to try Ollie's over on Atlantic.

Ollie's had several sizes of vinyl remnants, and I chose the 8' x 12' size so that I could do both bathrooms. I might have been able to get away with two 6' x 8' sheets, but one bathroom was exactly 8' 1" long, so that meant a possible issue. The larger size made it so I could do three bathrooms, which ended up being perfect, since I kinda sorta measured one room wrong, or cut the sheet crooked. Anyhow, I have leftover to cut for cabinet bottoms.

The 8' x 12' sheets were $50 at Ollie's. Mine had a few weird pink stains, and they weren't cut straight, which added to my measuring incident, but overall, this was some decent, cheap vinyl. The best part about sheet vinyl is that you measure it, cut it, and stick it right over the old floor. Yes, cutting around a toilet is a pain, but I watched a couple of Youtube videos and got it pretty right.

The first step was taking out the moulding, which had been painted so many times that I needed a razor to cut the paint before prying it off. Then I measured each bathroom and diagrammed the measurements. I did mess up on the one tub, since it was curved (the other one wasn't). Luckily, the curve wasn't enough to screw my job up, as I just added an extra bit of caulk.

I did most of the cutting out in the garage. I think you can also get a basic length and width and then do all the cutting in the room, but I like the idea of the piece fitting right in. This actually worked much better in my kitchen last year, but it's how I did it again, anyhow. You can cut it however you want. Just remember that once you cut it in the wrong place, it's pretty much over, so be careful.

Even though the measurements and cutting are more complicated in a bathroom, caulk will save you around the tub and toilet. Moulding is there for the rest. Really, I spent two days and maybe eight hours to complete both bathrooms. Less than one container of caulk and just a little bit of glue. You can glue the whole floor down, but it's a heavy sheet of vinyl wedged and caulked in pretty well, so why bother?

One thing my wife and I learned was not to wait for upgrades like this. Our first house was so perfect when we left that we started to wonder why we were leaving and why we hadn't lived better for several years. If your vinyl has seen better days, just get it done. One medium-sized bathroom is going to run $20 for the vinyl at Ollie's. That makes it insane not to do as a weekend project. Even if you measure or cut wrong, just go get another sheet for $20. Even the Home Depot stuff won't break the bank. If it just doesn't look right, pull it back up and pay some tile guy to do a better job. If I had the money, I would have done that, but don't expect a full return on a tile investment, unless you learn how to put it in yourself. We learned in one of our houses that putting in the highest-end counters can only go so far, depending on location, so don't tile yourself out of profit if you're looking to sell.

I know you want to see the results, so here they are. The floors are very similar in color and style--we were fine with that. Mostly, the awful stains are gone, and the floors should last another decade. Then I'll pull them up, use them as templates, and cut some new vinyl for another decade. Or we'll sell the place and make a nice profit off the work.
Before - stain near toilet


Before - stain across from toilet

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