Fast, Easy Repair for Linoleum or Vinyl Floors

Photo: Lee Ruk/flickrDurable, resilient, and low maintenance, linoleum and vinyl flooring are also inexpensive to install. To make a good thing even better, they are also surprisingly easy to repair. In fact, vinyl floor repair kits are sold at your local home store to make life as simple as possible for the home handyperson. Linoleum and vinyl floor material is available either by the sheet or as tiles. Tiles are simplest to fix, since you can always replace just a tile or two if need be (especially if you have extras left over from the original installation).

NOTE: If your floor is relatively new, before attempting any do-it-yourself fix-it measures, check with your flooring contractor to see whether the damage is covered under the warranty.


Cuts, dents, scratches, or burns up to the diameter of a quarter in size can be fused with the help of a liquid seam sealer.

Larger holes or tears may make it necessary to replace some or all of your vinyl or linoleum floor. The good news is that this type of flooring tends to be decorated with some kind of attractive motif. Designed to hide dirt and other marks, this feature makes it simpler to discreetly patch a damaged area; cut it out along the lines of the pattern and insert a new piece of flooring.

Stains can often be avoided by promptly wiping up spills and cat or dog "accidents." Use a mop or soft cloth with a cleaning fluid labeled safe for vinyl floors. Carefully scrape up as much as possible of tacky or waxy substances like chewing gum, candle drippings, or glue, with the help of a plastic spoon or the edge of a credit card. If a stain remains, rub gently with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad. Then dab with isopropyl alcohol.

Rust stains should be treated with lemon juice.

Scuffs and shoe polish marks can usually be rubbed away with a pencil eraser. Then clean as for Stains, above.

Peeling corners indicate that the glue which held your flooring in place has dried up. Clean out all grit and grime from the area and scrape off loose adhesive. Apply fresh vinyl adhesive and weight the floor down for a 24-hour period.

Open seams may be repaired in a similar manner if the edges can be brought together in a neat line. If they have deteriorated, utilize a metal transition strip to close tidily.

Bubbling may be due to air under the floor. Slit a tiny hole with a needle or utility knife and press out the air. Then apply a small amount of new adhesive and weight. Use seam sealer to fill any holes that you made.


Use a doormat at all entrances to prevent tracking in particles that might scratch your floor.

Clean regularly to remove dirt and debris. Sweep or vacuum and damp mop on a daily basis. Use non-abrasive cleansers and stay away from bleach or other harsh chemicals. Never soak the surface with water.

Avoid walking on the floor with high heels.

Your flooring will also be vulnerable to scrapes and gouges from your furniture; investing in felt or rubber "foot" pads will offer protection. If you have to move furnishings -- or indeed, any heavy object -- across your floor, lift rather than dragging, pulling, or pushing.

Laura Firszt writes for

Updated April 10, 2018.

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