How Soon Can You Walk On Vinyl Floors After Installation?

Just like other floors, vinyl also needs enough time after installation before it can be walked on. So how soon can you walk on vinyl flooring?

You should wait at least 24 hours after installing your laminate floor before walking over it. Generally, it takes between 12 hours and 48 hours for a vinyl floor to settle enough to be walked on.

Click and lock vinyl floors can be walked on in less than 12 hours since the planks in this case intersect and vinyl adhesive isn’t used. However, for glued-down vinyl planks that use vinyl adhesive, you should leave at least 24 hours before walking on the floor because the glue has to dry.

Generally, it’s advised to wait at least 48 hours before putting heavy furniture on vinyl flooring. So how long should you wait before walking on luxury vinyl? Find out the answer to that and more in this post.

Can You Walk On Newly Installed Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Can You Walk On Newly Installed Vinyl Plank Flooring?

You shouldn’t walk on newly installed vinyl plank flooring. This is because you need to allow enough time for the vinyl planks to settle before you can walk on them. If you walk on newly-installed vinyl plank flooring, the floor will develop problems and buckle sooner or later.

Vinyl plank flooring is a floating floor. It’s called a floating floor because the vinyl planks don’t need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor to stick. The planks usually have a click and lock mechanism that allows each plank to slide perfectly into the next.

Since vinyl glue isn’t used, many homeowners believe that the planks can be walked on immediately after assembling the planks. This is true. Newly installed click and lock vinyl planks can be walked on immediately after installation. However, the vinyl planks also have to acclimate.

Acclimation is the process where the planks move and adjust on the subfloor and this occurs based on the room temperature. If you walk over newly installed vinyl planks before the planks have acclimated, it’s possible for buckling to happen on the floor.

So, to be on the safer side, you should allow click and lock vinyl planks to acclimate before walking the floor. Since you can’t walk over a newly-installed vinyl plank floor, how long do you have to wait? Let’s find out.

What Happens If You Walk On Vinyl Flooring Too Soon?

If you walk on vinyl flooring too soon, you’ll affect the acclimation process of the vinyl flooring and this will lead to the following vinyl floor problems:

  1. The vinyl flooring will buckle
  2. The seams on the vinyl flooring can come loose
  3. The adhesive underneath the planks will become ruined
  4. The floor can become uneven.

How Long to Wait Before Walking on Different Vinyl Floors?

How Long to Wait Before Walking on Different Vinyl Floors?

For click and lock vinyl floor, you should wait at least 12 hours after installation before you can walk on the floor. For other types of vinyl floors that don’t use a click and lock installation method, you should wait at least 24 hours before walking on the floor.

You should know that vinyl adhesive or floor glue can take up to 48 hours to fully dry depending on room temperature. So, if you installed glue-down vinyl planks, you should wait 48 hours before walking over the floor just to be sure the glue has dried.

You should know that the time to wait before walking on a vinyl floor depends on the type of vinyl floor. So, let’s check out the different types of vinyl floors and how long to wait before walking on each type.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

You should wait at least 24 hours before you can walk on a luxury vinyl tile flooring. If the LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) were glued down using vinyl adhesive, you should wait 48 hours before walking over the floor.

Luxury vinyl tiles can be applied in two ways. It’s either you use the click and lock or glue-down tiles. If the tile vinyl were glued in place using vinyl adhesive, you should wait about 48 hours before walking on the floor. If glue wasn’t used, you can walk on the floor in less than 24 hours.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)

You should wait for 48 hours before walking on luxury vinyl planks especially if the planks were glued down to the subfloor. This is because the luxury vinyl planks take longer than usual to acclimate on the subfloor due to their rigid structure and heavier weight.

For luxury vinyl planks, the planks need to acclimate (move and adjust through temperature changes) on the subfloor to be walked on.

It takes a while for full acclimation to happen as well because luxury vinyl planks are larger and heavier than regular vinyl planks. So, 48 hours is the ideal waiting time for this vinyl flooring especially if you used vinyl adhesive.

Sheet Vinyl

You should wait 24 hours after installing sheet vinyl before you can walk over the sheet vinyl flooring. The 24 hours is to allow the vinyl adhesive to get dry.

Vinyl adhesive is used to make the vinyl sheets stay on the subfloor. Since the vinyl sheets are thin and lighter than regular vinyl planks, the sheet can move out of place as you walk over the floor. So, a vinyl adhesive is used to prevent movement.

Ordinarily, you would be able to walk on sheet vinyl immediately after installing the vinyl sheet. This is because the vinyl sheet is very thin and it settles almost immediately on the underlayment. However, since a vinyl adhesive is used to make the vinyl sheets stay in place, you need to wait at least 24 hours for the adhesive to dry fully.

Press and Lock Vinyl

You can walk on press and lock vinyl flooring almost immediately after installing the vinyl floor. This is because press and lock vinyl doesn’t use adhesive to stay on the subfloor.

So, you don’t have to wait for any adhesive to get dry. However, you should wait at least 12 hours before walking on the floor. If glue or caulk was used for the floor, you should wait at least 24 hours.

How Long Does It Take For Vinyl Flooring Adhesive To Dry?

It takes between 24 hours and 48 hours for the vinyl adhesive to fully dry. You should know that the dry time of vinyl adhesive depends largely on the type and chemical makeup of the adhesive. The weather and room temperature also determine how long it will take for the vinyl adhesive to dry.

During the cold winter months and rainy season, it takes longer for the vinyl adhesive to dry as the subfloor and room temperature will be humid or moist.

So, if you are installing your vinyl flooring during this period and you are using vinyl adhesive, you should leave the vinyl floor to dry for at least 48 hours. During the warm summer, a vinyl adhesive can dry in less than 24 hours.

How Long Does It Take For Vinyl Flooring To Settle?

It takes vinyl flooring between 24 hours and up to 4 days to settle. The time it takes for a vinyl floor to settle depends on the type, size, and weight of the vinyl floor.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring that is usually larger and heavier than regular planks can take over 3 days to settle on the subfloor especially if it’s a large floor. On the other hand, thin vinyl floors like sheet vinyl settle in about 24 hours.

Here is a list of different types of vinyl flooring and how long they take to settle:

Vinyl FloorSettling Time (depending on the type)
Sheet VinylBetween 12 and 24 hours
Click and Lock VinylLess than 24 hours
Luxury Vinyl TilesBetween 24 and 48 hours
Luxury Plank VinylAt least 48 hours
Composite Vinyl (SPC and WPC)At least 48 hours

Next, let’s find out how to make new luxury plank flooring ready faster.

How To Make New Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring Ready Faster?

There is no specific way to make new luxury vinyl plank ready faster. However, there are a few expert tips to try. These tips can be used to make the luxury planks acclimate (or adjust on the floor) faster. If the luxury vinyl planks adjust quicker on the subfloor, then the flooring will get ready faster.

Here is what to try:

  1. Regulate the room temperature to remain between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Remove baseboard trim around the base wall before installing the vinyl planks. This gives the planks enough space to move and adjust
  3. Do not put items on or walk on the vinyl floor immediately after installation
  4. Turn on a dehumidifier to remove moisture in the atmosphere
  5. Sweep and clean the subfloor before installing the vinyl planks

It’s also possible to speed up the acclimation time of the vinyl flooring. But, it’s generally advised to allow the vinyl floor to get ready naturally. If you speed up the acclimation time, it’s possible that the floor will not settle properly and this can cause flooring problems later.

How Soon After Application Can You Put Furniture On Vinyl Plank Flooring?

You should wait at least 48 hours before putting furniture on newly-installed vinyl plank flooring. The 48-hour time frame is to give the vinyl floor enough time to adjust to the floor before supporting furniture. You should know that heavy furniture like piano, sofa, and bookshelf should not be put on the floor till the floor has completely acclimated.

Though your vinyl flooring can handle some weight and be walked on after 24 hours, it shouldn’t be made to support household furniture just yet. This is because the full weight of the furniture will remain on that spot of the vinyl floor for a very long time.

When you walk on a new vinyl floor, your weight is put on a spot of the vinyl floor till you take the next step and on and on. Your vinyl floor can handle that split-second weight in less than 24 hours. But for your floor to support the full weight of furniture for months or years, the vinyl floor needs to have completely acclimated and this will take well over 24 hours.

For heavy furniture, it’s best to wait at least 3 days before putting them on new vinyl flooring. For appliances that deal with water like the refrigerator, you should also wait about 3 days before putting them on a new vinyl floor so the floor doesn’t suffer early moisture damage.

Final Words

In summary, you should leave vinyl flooring to acclimate for at least 24 hours before walking on it. This is to make the floor strong enough to support the weight and traffic that it will bear.

For household furniture like chairs, desks, and tables, you should wait 48 hours before putting them on your floor. For heavy furniture like piano or refrigerator, you should wait about 3 days before exposing your vinyl floor to that much weight.

Leave a Comment