DIY Network

How to Install a Vinyl-Backed Sisal Carpet

The experts at DIY Network show how to install a vinyl-backed sisal carpet in a bathroom through these step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions.

More in Floors

old bathroom has new country charm look
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Reverse Roll the Flooring

Sisal with a vinyl backing is a sturdy floor covering. Because the flooring has been rolled up for a long time, reverse roll the flooring a few days before installation in order to allow it to lie flat. Remove any shoe molding or quarter round before starting.

sisal flooring installed in bathroom

Step 2: Start the Template

Make a template of the bathroom floor with rosin paper. Lay one edge flush with the wall, but overlap it at the ends about 6" to 10". Carefully jab a utility knife into the corner and slice upward. This makes a relief cut which allows the paper to lie flush against the wall. Fold the paper back, lay it to the wall and cut along the edge.

Make template of bathroom floor with rosin paper

Step 3: Complete the Template

Continue the process until the paper lies perfectly flat around the perimeter of the space. When cutting the paper with the utility knife it is a good idea to change the blade frequently so that it does not tear the paper. Work slowly so that if a tear starts it's small and can be easily patched with tape. Start again with a new blade. For wide areas overlap the paper by 6" or more and use spray adhesive to join them to each other. Work carefully around obstacles like door jambs.

use adhesive spray and press the edges together

Step 4: Transfer the Template

Check all the edges of the paper to make sure it didn't move any. If everything looks okay, loosely roll the paper template back on itself and take it outside. Roll out the sisal and place the template down. Tape the edges of the template down every few feet so it won't shift.

tape template down so it does not shift

Step 5: Cut the Flooring to Size

Slide a piece of plywood underneath the flooring to create a safe cutting surface. Use a utility knife to cut along the edges of the template. The flooring has a thick vinyl backer, so you will have to apply good pressure. Work slowly and make sure to change the blades as soon as they start to get dull.

apply good pressure to cut through vinyl backing

Step 6: Install the Flooring

Roll up the cut flooring and transfer it to the room. Position the sisal onto the bathroom floor. If your bathroom is very small, you can just use double-sticky tape to put it on the floor instead of gluing it down. Reinstall the old shoe molding or install new molding for a finished look.

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