How to Install Vinyl Flooring Without Using Adhesive

Most vinyl flooring requires adhesive between the subfloor and the vinyl flooring, but a new vinyl flooring material from Congoleum, called AirStep Evolution, can be installed with or without adhesive. This is because it is thicker and stiffer than standard vinyl flooring, which allows installation using only double stick tape around the perimeter to hold it in place.

To install AirStep Evolution vinyl flooring without adhesive:

  • Remove Molding: Take up any shoe molding and door thresholds around the perimeter of the room.
  • Remove Old Flooring: Remove any existing flooring using a floor scraper.
  • Repair Subfloor: Repair any damaged plywood subflooring. Fill any holes or cracks with floor patch and allow to dry.
  • Cut Vinyl Flooring to Fit: Cut the vinyl flooring several inches larger than the size of the room using a utility knife.
  • Apply Double Stick Tape: Apply special double stick tape ½” from the wall around the perimeter of the room without removing the backing.
  • Trim Vinyl Flooring: Roll out the vinyl flooring in the room. Align two of the sides along adjoining walls, and trim the flooring with a utility knife so it fits along the other two sides.
  • Stick Flooring to Tape: Peel the backing off the double sided tape on one of the walls, and stick the vinyl flooring down to the tape. Repeat on the other three walls, smoothing the vinyl flooring out as you go.
  • Install Molding: Reattach the shoe molding and thresholds around the perimeter of the room.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Danny Lipford: Now, vinyl floor is a fairly inexpensive type of floor, but generally it’s installed by a professional, because if you’ve ever tried to use that notched trowel, and spread all that adhesive out, then put the vinyl down and have to roll it out to get all the air bubbles; it really does require some skill and some practice. But what if you could install a vinyl floor on the same principle that you have here on a laminate floor, where it basically just floats in place without any adhesive? That would be great and that’s exactly what we did recently in helping a friend of mine install a brand new product.

The product is called AirStep Evolution from Congoleum. And it’s a flexible sheet flooring with a fiberglass backing that’s much thicker than traditional sheet vinyl so that it can be installed either with or without adhesive.

Well, this material ought to go down pretty well. Let’s just get a rough measurement. And if you’ll hold that right over there, against the wall actually. Let’s go to the wall.

We’ll add a few inches to our measurements for doorways, but otherwise this is pretty straightforward, since the room is almost square. And now we got a few places here we’ll have to patch.

John Richards: Yeah, we had a water heater incident which flooded this room.

Danny Lipford: We’ll have to just take a putty knife and get the most of that out and we can just floor-patch that and go right over all of this.

The floor patch will fill in the low places, so that we don’t feel any depressions under the new vinyl. While it dries, we remove the shoe molding around the perimeter of the room. We want to reuse the shoe mold so we’re being very careful not to break it.

Outside, we roll the flooring out facedown on the drive, so that we can make our rough cuts. At about $2.75 cents a square foot, this stuff is pretty affordable, especially if you’re installing it yourself. And almost anyone can do this project. We roll it back up in the opposite direction so that we can roll it out face up back in the room.

One side of this tape sticks to the floors, really aggressive. It’ll stick very well. But the other side supposedly has the ability, if you mess up a little bit you can peel it. We’ll see how all that works out. Let’s go ahead, and we’ll put this down without peeling the backing off of it. So half-inch off the wall. The tape goes around all the walls to avoid any shifting while we’re working. Finally, we’re ready for the flooring.

With two walls set, we can peel off the backing on the tape and hold the flooring in position on those walls. Then it’s a matter of cutting the sheet to fit the two remaining walls by folding it at the baseboard and cutting it in the fold. Cutting around the doorways takes a little more time, but is still pretty easy if you have a nice, sharp utility knife.

All right, I’m ready for shoe molding.

So the final step is the threshold. John’s planning to replace the floors in the adjacent rooms soon, so we’re just gluing these in place to avoid putting any nail holes in the flooring where it will be seen. A few cinder blocks will hold them in place until they dry.

Well, John, one of the things, a big advantage of this, you don’t have to wait for any of the glue to dry before you can get in here with your drop cloth and go ahead and paint this room out.

John Richards: Right. Went down a lot easier than I ever imagined putting a floor down.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Have you tried any, have you installed any floors at all before?

John: I have not, but I have the confidence to get some of these other rooms done.

Danny Lipford: It’s pretty easy, because without that glue process, installing vinyl like this is a heck of a lot easier. Because, like I said earlier, that notched trowel, and the glue just gets all over you. But, hey, you don’t have any glue on you, none on me.


  1. Hi! We just put linoleum over linoleum. It looks great except now I have bubbles coming up certain places in floor, need to know what we can do, hope we don’t have to take the floor up since we moved appliances, toilet and water heater, big job hope there is an easy solution thanks.The floor is a nonglued floor. We had a professional person to lay this. Thanks for helping. Mary

  2. Hello Mary,
    Did you get an answer to your question? I am about to lay heavy duty cushion flooring on a wood floor and don’t want to use adhesive – did you just lay it with double sided tape? Was your flooring light or heavy duty? Thanks. Mike

  3. With the buddles you use a syringe and shoot glue in there. When it’s stuck down put seam sealer on the hole. Any cushion step can be loose laid.

  4. I have the same problem as Mary. A professional laid mine and said the flooring has to acclimate to the floor. He said it might take two weeks to do this. Is this true or will the flooring have to be redone? It is vinyl that looks like hardwood, also it was on a roll. 13.2′ wide.

  5. I float a vinyl sheet, you can make a pattern with paper for the exact fit ( I use tracing paper, it comes in a roll), then add 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch to my pattern, 45 the inside corners or they tear, and leave it float.
    I then overlapp the seams at a pattern line, use a straight egde and run my blade through both, remove the underside cut, to side tape the joint to the floor or use pvc glue (thin layer), roll the joint, (LOL seriously, a wallcovering wheel works great and your done.

  6. Sandy,
    Particle board is a terrible substrate, replace with 5/8 ply. If your not going to do that, prime the particle board well, the paint with floor paint or an oil if you can find some. Silicone all edges and joints then have at ‘er.
    Prior to paint put extra screws in it to buckle it down.

  7. I have a painted cement floor in my basement bathroom. Wll I have to remove paint before installing this flooring? Thank you for your response.

  8. Replaced vinyl with vinyl. Other floor thinner. Told didn’t have to use didn’t. This floor snaps when you walk on it. It’s annoying is thete a fix?er underlayment

    • Hi, Dave,
      Danny says, “I would suggest using a cushioned underlayment like they use on laminate floors.
      Good luck with your flooring project!”

    • Hi, Wanda,
      Can you please share more information — what kinds of tile squares, and how did you plan to adhere them to the vinyl flooring?


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