A professional-looking vinyl floor starts with the subflooring and underlayement.

How to Fix Rips in Vinyl Flooring

by Kim Blakesley

If you live in the United States, you probably have vinyl flooring in at least one room. The odds of the vinyl flooring receiving a mar such as a rip or scratch is very likely. Simple things such as sliding a chair, dropping a canned good, or walking with high-heeled shoes are all culprits for creating small to large rips or scratches in the floor's surface. Repairing your vinyl flooring is easier than you may think when you know the correct process.

Patching Sheet Vinyl

Select a scrap piece of vinyl that is three to four inches larger than the rip and that matches the pattern in the area. Place the patch over the rip and line up the pattern. Tape it into place.

Position a straightedge, steel ruler or framing square on the scrap of vinyl so it is one inch away from the tear. Cut through the patch and the vinyl flooring using a utility knife. Repeat the process around the remaining three sides of the rip.

Remove the patch and scrap vinyl. Remove the ripped piece of vinyl from your floor. The ripped piece of vinyl will come up easily if it is perimeter bonded. If it is glued down, slide a putty knife or scraper under the vinyl to loosen and remove it.

Spread a coat of mastic over the subfloor with a notched trowel. Lift the edges of the surrounding vinyl, if perimeter-bonded, and push mastic under the loose vinyl. This will help to hold the patch in place.

Turn the patch so the pattern matches the flooring and press it into place. Cover the area with a large piece of waxed paper. Place three heavy books on the location and let it set for 24 hours.

Remove the books and waxed paper. Squeeze a line of liquid seam sealer around the four joints. Allow the sealer to dry completely according to the manufacturer's recommendations as printed on the package.

Replacing Vinyl Tile

Heat the damaged tile with an electric heat gun for approximately 15 seconds. Slide a putty knife or scraper under the edge of the tile and lift gently. If the tile does not lift easily, repeat the heating process. Be careful not to damage the edges of surrounding tiles during this process. When the tile is heated sufficiently, it will easily lift from the location.

Scrape the subfloor with a putty knife or scraper to remove all adhesive residue.

Remove the paper from the back of a replacement tile. Position and press into place.

Items you will need

  • Scrap vinyl
  • Straightedge, steel ruler or framing square
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife or scraper
  • Mastic
  • Notched trowels
  • Waxed paper
  • 3 heavy books
  • Liquid seam sealer
  • Electric heat gun
  • Paper-backed vinyl tile


  • Fill small cuts and scratches with a clear liquid seam sealer. Once dried, they will become virtually invisible.
  • If you do not have any scrap vinyl or extra tiles, cut or remove pieces from under the refrigerator or stove, in a closet or other inconspicuous areas.


  • Keep the clear liquid seam sealer out of reach of children.
  • Place the hot iron in a safe location during heating and use to prevent serious injury to your children.
  • The end of the electric heat gun becomes quite warm. Avoid using the tool around children or pets.
  • Store your utility knife out of the reach of children. Pull the sharp blade back inside the housing every time you finish using it.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images