Laying vinyl is an excellent do-it-yourself project because there are only a few basic steps involved. Getting good results isn't too difficult, excluding a slip of the knife or a hasty oversight.
If you haven't laid vinyl before, make a template to pattern the floor and to guide cuts on the new vinyl. We use kraft paper (a.k.a. rosin paper) which is a thick material similar to construction paper.
There are two types of sheet vinyl: perimeter bond and fully-bonded. As the names suggest, perimeter bond is glued around the outside edge of the sheet, whereas fully-bonded adhesive is applied to the entire floor.
First, prepare the underlayment layer of the floor. In new construction or if the existing floor is in bad shape, 1/4" (or thicker) underlayment-grade plywood is a good choice.
There's usually no sense in tearing up old vinyl if it's in reasonable shape because it provides a decent underlayment base for new vinyl.
Give the floor a good cleaning to strip off old floor wax and dirt. Then go over the floor again with a dry rag to remove any water and cleaner residue.
Vinyl mirrors any irregularities that the underlayment may have. Fill in any joints and holes/low spots with floor patching compound and then sand smooth -- again, wiping up the dust.
Making a Template
Remove baseboards, floor moldings, and the toilet (and any pedestal sink) if you're working in a bathroom. Cut and fit a kraft paper template on the floor and piece in around pipes and floor registers.
Jot down on the template where the vinyl pattern will square up. Older homes may have unsquare walls, so square the vinyl pattern to one wall -- often the one having the room's main entry will look best.
Make sure the template is taped together well and carefully roll it up.
Vinyl can shrink or expand with temperature. Try to store the vinyl a day or two ahead of time in the room where it goes and keep the temperature consistent for a few days after installation.
If the room receives direct sunlight, allow the vinyl to receive the sunlight and heat the floor normally gets.