Sheet vinyl flooring is installed in one of two ways depending on the product (and the manufacturer’s recommendations). It is either glued to the subfloor with an adhesive, called full-spread installation or it is spread out over the subfloor and tacked at the edges (to be covered by base molding) using a staple gun. Obviously, a perimeter bond is easier to install than a full spread, but neither is really that difficult for the do-it-yourselfer.
Because sheet vinyl flooring is delivered in rolls it has a tendency to maintain a curl. A heavy roller (available from flooring retailers and rental centers) is a useful tool for installing sheet vinyl flooring. In addition, you may need a trowel for spreading the adhesive on the subfloor. Or you may use a staple gun to fasten the perimeter. Of course, you’ll want a sharp flooring knife for cutting the edges.
If the subfloor is excessively rough, plan to install a thin subfloor directly over it to offer a smooth surface to the sheet vinyl flooring. Use a thin, dense plywood such as Philippine mahogany fastened with ring-shank nails that won’t pop up later. You also can use drywall nails with dimple heads and fill them with wood filler in when done. (Preparing for Flooring offers more detail on preparing the subfloor for flooring.)