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HandyMac advises Tom who has a problem with his floor strips

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Tom has a flooring problem:
Q: I have Novilon floor strips in my dining room. One is loose and I keep tripping over it. Why would just one strip in the middle of the room loosen, and what is the best way to fix this problem?

A: I am not the world’s biggest fan of vinyl strip flooring. To me timber floors should be timber and not imitation, whether it be vinyl or ceramic tiles.

There are two types of vinyl strip floors: those that lock together and those that are glued down. Because yours is lifting I assume it is the glued type. In theory, it should just be a case of lift it up, slap on some glue and press it down again, but nothing in life is that simple.

I always like to begin with the cause of a problem. When laying any type of vinyl flooring, it is essential that the floor to be covered is 100% clean and free of dust – even a few specks will leave a weak bond somewhere. Once something snags on the edge of the strip or water gets under it, it will get worse.

I suggest you start by lifting the whole strip and ensure the floor underneath is dry. If not, you need to give it time to dry. You don’t want to damage the neighbouring strips, so keep foot traffic away from the area.

Once dry, you need to get rid of the residue of old glue from the floor and back of the strip. A search on the internet indicates that Loctite is the glue to use. I suggest contacting the manufacturers to find out whether they have one which works better where existing glue is involved, or use a solvent first.

Ensure all the surfaces are clean, apply the adhesives as per the manufacturer’s instructions and then press the strip back in place.

If you can borrow or hire a small flooring roller, then do so to ensure the strip is seated properly. When finished, put something heavy on top of the strip and leave it to set and bond, again ensuring you keep all traffic off the area.

I assume you are asking the question because your original contractor is not interested in your problem, or has disappeared over the horizon. If not, hound him, because he will have more experience with this type of problem.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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