How This Couple DIY-ed Their Vinyl Flooring From Taobao For Their Condo For Only $1,300

13 March 2024 | BY

With zero experience installing vinyl floors, this couple took on the hefty DIY endeavour of putting together their own vinyl floors from Taobao.

taobao vinyl flooring

We’ve come across a fair share of Singaporean homeowners who have shopped for furniture and home decor in Taobao. However, one couple decided to up the ante by buying their vinyl flooring from the overseas e-commerce giant. $1,300 worth of flooring, to be exact.

Janice and Loon decided to DIY most of their home reno when they moved into their cosy 3-bedroom condo, which included painting the walls, hacking old built-in carpentry, and overlaying the vinyl flooring. 

Buying $1.3k worth of vinyl flooring from Taobao

vinyl flooring from taobaoImage credit: Craft & Cook

“The way I saw it, the [original] marble flooring was very old, and it looked a bit obiang,” Janice said when we asked why they wanted to cover up the marble. Plus, the home was around 25 years old and the flooring showed its age. “I didn’t like the appearance of the orange-ish marble flooring, so we thought to cover it up with vinyl instead!”

To keep things affordable, the couple started sourcing vinyl planks on Taobao. They bought samples from different stores so that they could check out the colour and texture of the vinyl before they committed to a big purchase. After all, we all know refunding anything to Taobao can be a pain in the behind. They also only covered the 3 bedrooms and the living room rather than the entire home, saving them about 400sqft of vinyl flooring to install.

taobao vinyl flooringImage credit: Craft & Cook

But the problem with buying anything from Taobao is that it’ll take time. “The selection process took a few months because shipping from Taobao takes quite a while,” Janice said. They had 2 rounds of selection—the first batch of samples gave them an idea of what vinyl colour would work, and they narrowed it down during the second batch of samples.

They finally settled on 968sqft of this particular vinyl which ended up weighing about 1 tonne and cost them $300 to ship to Singapore. This included about 10% of spare vinyl in case anything went awry. 

How to DIY your own vinyl flooring

vinyl planksImage credit: Craft & Cook

Janice and Loon’s little project of installing their vinyl flooring was a huge undertaking all things considered, as they had zero experience with this sort of handiwork. Nevertheless, they were still determined to see this through as they felt that they were never going to get the opportunity in the future. “Why not try it with our first house while we are still young and relatively fit? Haha.”

Buying tools like tapping blocks & pull bars for less than $20

hammering vinyl planksImage credit: Craft & Cook

Apart from the vinyl planks that came from China, the duo also got some tools to help them get the planks installed. The most crucial tools are the hammer, tapping block and a pull bar to get the planks to join together. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be found on Shopee and Lazada.

They also used a trusty penknife to cut the vinyl planks, but only for those that require a simple straight-edge cut. They also acquired more heavy-duty tools like a power saw and oscillation saw. “It was quite intimidating to begin with, but once we got the hang of it, we managed to progress quite quickly,” Janice said.

Cutting the planks to fit into tricky corners

cutting door framesImage credit: Craft & Cook

While installing vinyl planks can seem like an easy task, it’s the corners that get you. In every home, there are bound to be weird corners and angles that will take up the majority of your time to install—in the case of Janice and her husband, they took around an entire day to sort out the flooring of their corners.

sawing the vinyl planksImage credit: Craft & Cook

While tackling the right-angled corners was a cut-and-dry affair—they bought a saw to cut the edges—the underneath sides of the door frames were tougher. They had to use a saw and a piece of scrap vinyl to measure the right height and saw through the door frame. They were also not straightforward shapes and required some finesse to ensure they still looked neat.

door frames cutHow the door frames looked after they were sawed to vit the vinyl flooring.
Image credit: Craft & Cook

One nifty trick they picked up was to measure and cut the end pieces for each row of vinyl before fixing them in place. “You invert the vinyl piece to cut off the end without having to measure with a measuring tape,” Janice explained.

DIY vinyl flooring from Taobao

janice and loon taobao vinyl flooringImage credit: Craft & Cook

DIY home projects are usually confined to tasks like painting the walls or changing out some hardware for your cabinets. Rarely do homeowners take up the mantle and install the floors of their new home, which is why Janice and Loon’s endeavour is commendable. The couple also spent almost 10x less than what another pair of homeowners did when they splurged over $10K for their vinyl flooring in an HDB flat.

However, you won’t catch them doing it again should they decide to move to another place.

“Not because it was a bad experience,” Janice said in a blog post. “More because with the knowledge of how truly exhausting it actually was, we would be happy to hire someone more proficient to help us with it.”

“What I appreciated about the process was that Loon and I were very willing to try something we had never done before,” she added. “We were even looking forward to it. I’d like to think that being open to new experiences and learning from firsthand experience is the best way to learn.”

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Cover image credit: Craft & Cook

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