A few years ago you had a beautiful new vinyl floor installed. The salesperson told you that it was the best and most modern material on the market. It must have been because you spent a good chunk of cash buying and installing it.

Recently you noticed a bubble in the floor, so you called the contractor who did the job and you heard that he recently retired in Tahiti.

Don't despair. There is an easy solution to your problem. And you won't have to hire anyone to get it done.

No matter how good your vinyl flooring material is or how well it was installed, bubbles (or blisters) will occasionally appear. And in many instances, several years after installation. Fortunately, they usually aren't difficult to fix.

Generally, a bubble that develops in a vinyl floor indicates trapped, moist air that has risen from below. This really isn't a sign of bad installation. Rather it could indicate excessive moisture conditions below the floor. The repair suggestions that follow may not apply if this is the problem. Make a trip to the subarea or basement to investigate moisture conditions, and work on eliminating the problem if one exists.

For now, we'll attack the bubbles.

Small bubbles an inch or less in diameter are easier to repair than larger ones. With small bubbles, there usually is enough adhesive existing to reaffix the flooring to its substrate without adding glue.

Use a large sewing needle or a very thin ice pick to perforate the center of the bubble, all the way through the vinyl. The hole will allow trapped air to escape. Lay a towel over the area and use a hot iron to soften and flatten the flooring. Cover the warmed spot with several very heavy objects, large books for example. In most cases the floor, adhesive and substrate will rebond and your repair will be complete.

If the repair doesn't hold then you'll have to add a little glue (use the kind that comes in a syringe). Insert the tip of the syringe into the hole and add the glue. It takes only a few drops. Place a piece of wax paper between the floor and the object used as a weight. That way you avoid having a floor with a book glued to it.

Larger blisters don't require a syringe, but a scalpel or a razor blade will be needed.

First, use the towel and the iron to soften the vinyl. Next, use any razor-sharp tool to cut a cross in the blister. Carefully peel the four triangular sections back to expose the substrate. Be gentle. The softened flooring can be easily torn. Apply a thin layer of vinyl adhesive to the substrate and let it get tacky in accordance with the instructions on the can. Lay down the four sections, ensuring that they fit snugly against each other.

Again, use a book or another heavy object along with wax paper. In 24 hours, remove the object and wax paper, use lacquer thinner to clean up the excess adhesive and apply a thin bead of clear, vinyl seam-sealer to the two cuts.

It's that simple.

James Carey and Morris Carey are nationally recognized experts on home building and renovation.