Keep your vinyl floor looking as good as new.

How to Repair Cuts in Vinyl Flooring

by Matt Smolsky

A rip in a vinyl floor isn't just unsightly, it can lead to a ruined floor and can even become a tripping hazard if it's deep or jagged enough. It's best to fix the rips when they first happen and are still manageable. They'll be easier to fix since dirt and grime won't have a chance to build up in the rip. It's important to examine the edges of the rip. A jagged rip is repaired differently than a clean tear.

Jagged Rips

Locate vinyl flooring that's larger than the damaged area. It can be leftover from the installation, a piece taken from an inconspicuous spot, or new, matching flooring.

Secure the patch over the damaged area with masking tape. The patch should extend about 2 or 3 inches from the edge of the rip. Using a straightedge and utility knife, cut throughout the patch and the damaged flooring. You'll need to press hard since you're cutting through two layers of vinyl, so make sure your blade's sharp. Also, be careful not to cut yourself. Vinyl flooring can be slick, which can cause the utility knife to slip.

Pull up the painters tape, the old pieces of vinyl and the newly formed patch.

Place a piece of aluminum foil over the damaged area you just cut. Turn a clothes iron on high and place it on top of the foil. Allow the vinyl flooring under the foil to soften. Check it frequently, but be careful not to burn your hands. Consider wearing work gloves.

Scrape the softened vinyl off the floor with a putty knife.

Apply mineral spirits with a rag to soften the adhesive that remains on the floor, scraping it away with a putty knife. Wear chemical-resistant gloves.

Dry the area and apply adhesive to the floor with a notched trowel. The adhesive should be about 1/8 inch thick.

Place the patch on the floor and press it down. Clean off any adhesive that bleeds through the seams.

Cover the seams in masking tape, then set heavy bricks on the seams and the rest of the patch to hold it in place.

Remove the bricks and masking tape after 24 hours.

Rips with Smooth Edges

Cut away any slight imperfections that would cause the vinyl not to lay flat. Use a sharp utility knife. Be careful not to cut away too much. If there's a large amount of vinyl that needs to be cut away, then you should use the instructions for repairing vinyl with a jagged rip.

Wash the area with dish detergent and warm water. Rinse and dry.

Place adhesive onto the tip of a putty knife and push the adhesive under the rip.

Mask the rip off with tape and cover it with a heavy brick.

Allow the area to dry for 24 hours before removing the brick and painters tape.

Items you will need

  • Extra vinyl flooring
  • Vinyl floor adhesive
  • Masking tape
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Straightedge
  • Notched trowel
  • Clothes iron
  • Aluminum foil
  • Work gloves
  • Rag
  • Mineral spirits
  • Chemical-resistant gloves


  • If you need to replace an entire square of vinyl tile, use the steps used for repairing a jagged rip. You'll need tile that matches the rest, and you won't need to double-cut the tile.

About the Author

Matt Smolsky has been writing for more than 25 years. He wrote news, sports and feature stories for the "Omaha World-Herald" and other publications and has continued on in direct marketing and general advertising. He now writes for the web as well. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and journalism from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images