After you install the vinyl floor, it needs time to settle before you can walk on them. So, how soon can you walk on vinyl floors after installation?
You can walk on the vinyl floor 24 hours after you install it. Generally, the floor takes 12-24 hours to settle enough to be walked on.
You can walk on click and lock vinyl floors in less than 12 hours because the planks intersect and glue isn’t used. However, for glued-down planks, you must wait 24 hours because the glue has to dry. Also, you must wait 48 hours before putting heavy furniture over the planks.
Don’t Walk on Newly Installed Vinyl Floors
You shouldn’t walk on a newly installed vinyl floor because it must settle before walking on them. It takes the vinyl 12-24 hours to settle on the subfloor. So if you walk over it too soon, the planks won’t stick properly and will develop problems such as buckling sooner or later.
For glued-down floors, you must wait until the glue is dry before you can walk on them. If the glue isn’t dry, the planks will move and they will look uneven. If the planks are uneven or have gaps, water and moisture can get under and lift them. The vinyl glue can take up to 24 hours to dry.
For click-and-lock or floating vinyl floors, you must wait until they acclimate. Acclimation is the process where boards move and adjust on the subfloor based on the room temperature. If you use it before it has acclimated, it will buckle. It takes 12-24 hours for the vinyl floor acclimate process to be completed.
If you walk over it too soon:
- The floor will buckle.
- The seams can come loose.
- The adhesive underneath the planks will become ruined.
- The floor can become uneven.
Different Types of Vinyl Floors And Their Walking Time:
Click and Lock Vinyl Floors
For a click-and-lock vinyl floor, you must wait at least 12 hours after installation before you can walk over it. The glue can take up to 24 hours to dry, depending on room temperature. However, the wait time depends on the type of floor.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
You must wait 24 hours before walking on luxury vinyl tile. If the LVT is glued-down to a surface, you must wait until the glue dries, this can take up to 24-48 hours.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
You must wait 48 hours before walking on luxury vinyl planks (LVP), especially if they are glued down. That’s because the (LVP) takes longer to acclimate because of its rigid structure and heavier weight.
Since their boards are heavier, the acclimating process takes longer. So, you must wait 48 hours.
Before walking on vinyl sheets, you must wait 24 hours or until the glue is dry. Since vinyl sheets are thin and lighter, you must use glue to prevent them from moving out of place.
Vinyl sheets acclimate almost immediately on the underlayment, so technically, you can walk immediately over them. But, if you do, the sheets will move out of place. So, you must glue down them down and wait for it to dry.
Vinyl Glue (Adhesive) Dry Time
After vinyl installation, it takes vinyl glue (adhesive) 24-48 hours to dry fully. However, its dry time depends on the type, the weather, and the room temperature.
During cold winter, the glue takes longer to dry because the room temperature will be humid and moist. So, during winter, it takes 48 hours to dry. However, during the summer, it will dry within 24 hours.
The vinyl glue type (and brand) also determine the drying time. Some types are formulated with additives that make it dry faster, and some are not.
Vinyl Flooring Settle Time
It takes vinyl flooring between 24 hours and 4 days to settle. The time it takes it to settle depends on its type, size, and weight.
For instance, luxury vinyl plank is larger and heavier than most vinyl planks, so it takes over 3 days for it to settle. On the other hand, thin floors (such as sheet vinyl) will settle almost immediately.
Here is a list of different types of flooring and how long they take to settle:
|Vinyl Floor||Settling Time (depending on the type)|
|Sheet Vinyl||Between 12 and 24 hours|
|Click and Lock Vinyl||Less than 24 hours|
|Luxury Vinyl Tiles||Between 24 and 48 hours|
|Luxury Plank Vinyl||At least 48 hours|
|Composite Vinyl (SPC and WPC)||At least 48 hours|
How To Speed Up Vinyl Floors Acclimate Process?
Here are a few tips to make luxury vinyl planks acclimate (adjust to the floor) faster. The faster the boards acclimate, the sooner you can them.
Here is what to do:
- The room temperature must remain between 60 – 85 degrees (F).
- Remove the baseboard trim around the base wall before installing the planks. This gives them enough space to move and adjust.
- Do not put items on or walk on the floor immediately after installation.
- Use a dehumidifier during humid temperatures.
- Sweep and clean the subfloor before installing the vinyl planks.
However, you must allow the vinyl floor to acclimate (get ready) naturally. If you speed up the acclimation time, the planks won’t settle properly and can cause different problems.
Wait Time Before Placing Furniture
You must wait 48 hours before putting furniture on newly-installed vinyl plank flooring. This is to give the floor enough time to adjust before supporting furniture.
So, you must wait until the floors completely acclimate before putting heavy furniture over them. That’s because the full weight of furniture will remain in the same spot, preventing them from acclimating.
So, for heavy furniture, you must wait at least 3 days. For appliances that deal with water (such as refrigerators), you must also wait 3 days to prevent the floor from getting exposed to water (or moisture).
When you walk on a new vinyl floor, your weight is put on a spot of the floor till you take the next step, and so on. Your floor can handle that split-second weight in less than 24 hours. So, you can walk over them after 24 hours, but you must wait 48-72 hours before putting furniture over them because the furniture weight remains at the same spot longer.
You must allow vinyl floors to fully acclimate before walking over them. The acclimation process needs 24-48 hours to complete. To put heavy furniture on the new floors, you must wait at least 3 days.
For glued-down vinyl floors, you must wait until the glue dries before walking over them. Depending on the room temperature, it takes the glue 24-48 hours to dry.
Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about,