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I want to install vinyl flooring in my bathroom. Someone in a DIY shop told me that vinyl flooring requires hard underlay like 1/4 inches plywood. If vinyl flooring sits on top of carpet underlay, vinyl will break. Is that true, or somewhat exaggerated?

On the other hand, having to precisely cut plywood in order to make it fit the intricate shape of my bathroom floor scares me to death. How to cut rigid stuff like this anyway?

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If your going to put the stick um vinyl tiles down I would highly suggest using the stick um tiles that stick to themselves and not the floor underneath. It sticks alot better and is more forgiving to what your subfloor looks like. Remove the carpet padding and tackstrips if that is what you mean like DA said. I dont know what else you would mean by carpet underlay. Attach a picture it you can. –  Justin K Sep 21 '13 at 1:19
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One way to work out the plywood shape is to make up a template out of heavy paper. You can open paper grocery bags out flat for this and tape pieces together to make up the template. This can then be transferred to the plywood for making the cut lines.

Two things to consider.

Pickout where an edge seam will be for the plywood as it may very well be necessary to cut several pieces of plywood to get it possible to lay it into place.

Another thing is to remove any base boards and the toilet stool before laying in the plywood and vinyl. The vinyl is ideally placed under these items. Additionally the baseboard being re-installed means that it will cover where the plywood and vinyl do not fit perfectly against the walls.

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Vinyl is typically applied over your subfloor...typically plywood. You definitely don't want to put vinyl on carpet (though I'd have to ask: You currently have carpet in your bathroom?)

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Just moved in, yes there was carpet! Now only carpet underlay remains. I was wondering about attaching (nails, adhesive, etc) the vinyl to carpet underlay. My concern is really about how to cut/shape plywood. –  drake035 Sep 20 '13 at 22:05
    
By carpet underlay, do you mean the padding? If so, remove the padding. Under the padding will be plywood. That's what you want to put the vinyl on top of. If your subfloor isn't flat, you can put a new sheet(s) of 1/4" ply on top. You'd cut it to fit via careful measuring. ;) –  DA01 Sep 20 '13 at 22:19
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