Skip to Content

Can You Install Carpet on Uneven Floor?

Having an uneven floor can be an uncomfortable problem. Although there may not be an immediate need to fix it, eventually you will be confronted with a reason to address it. For example, when you want to install carpeting on that floor. In that case, you’ll need to understand whether or not installing carpet on an uneven floor is a good idea and what you should do about it.

Installing carpet on an uneven floor is not ideal, as the irregularities can cause wear and tear on the carpet and may be uncomfortable to walk on. The solution is to level the floor before installation. This can be done using self-leveling compound for minor unevenness or by installing a new subfloor or plywood over the existing floor for more significant issues.

If the unevenness is minimal, using a thicker carpet pad can help. A dense, high-quality pad can somewhat compensate for slight irregularities in the floor, providing a more even surface for the carpet. This won’t fix severe unevenness but can make a noticeable difference for minor bumps or dips.

Person installing carpet

Another option is to use carpet tiles instead of traditional carpet rolls. Carpet tiles are more forgiving on uneven surfaces and can be individually replaced if they wear out or get damaged. They can be a practical and stylish solution for rooms with floor irregularities, offering a degree of flexibility and ease of installation that traditional carpets can’t match.

If you’re planning to lay carpet in an area with uneven flooring, don’t go any further until you’ve read this article. We’ll take a closer look at why you should not lay carpet on an uneven floor, how to fix your subflooring, and the tools you’ll need to do it. Let’s get started.

Can You Install Carpet on Uneven Floor?

Male installing carpet flooring

Technically, it isn’t possible to carpet an uneven floor because carpeting should not only lay flat on the surface flooring but also on the subfloor. If the floor isn’t even because of a problem with the subfloor, you’ll need to undertake some steps to make the floor level enough to make carpeting possible.

Should You Put Carpet on Uneven Floor?

Hand rolling out carpet flooring installation

You shouldn’t carpet an uneven floor because it can cause problems later. Some problems that arise from carpeting uneven flooring include:

  • Carpet bunching in valleys of the floor.
  • Uneven weight distribution causes wear and tear to areas of the carpet in uneven areas.
  • Interior decorating can become a problem when you place furniture on unevenly carpeted areas – the furniture will not sit flat and may even shift depending on the curvature of the flooring and carpet.

There are some temporary fixes that can make an uneven floor seem flat, even with carpet, but these aren’t advisable in the long-term because the original problem will always come back to haunt you. Carpet padding is one of these fixes that can add cushion underneath areas where you intend to place carpet, making it seem flat.

Unfortunately, all adding carpet padding does is make the floor and carpet seem smooth. The carpet padding will wear in low areas that receive more weight from footfalls and items with enough time. Eventually, this causes the entire carpet to dip and makes it necessary to fix the subfloor problem and carpet the area again.

If you don’t immediately address this when it happens, the entire floor will become plainly uneven to everyone who sets foot on the floor. This can create a tripping hazard if left unchecked, and surely you’ll notice if your furniture is leaning. Without fixing the subfloor problem in the first place, you’ll be back to where you started before very long.

How To Lay Carpet on Uneven Floor

Handyman installing carpet flooring

Laying carpet on uneven floors isn’t a good idea, as mentioned above, so the first thing to do is establish what’s wrong with the floor. Most likely, the problem is with the subfloor above the original flooring and below the surface flooring. To figure out how dramatic of a problem you have, you’ll have to undertake some DIY sleuthing.

How To Fix/Level an Uneven Floor for Carpet

There are four main ways to correct an uneven subfloor, but what method you use will depend primarily on how uneven the subfloor is. Mild cases can be kind of worked around, whereas major slants will require a lot of work to correct to be ready for carpeting or any other kind of surface flooring.


Plywood can be used to great success with leveling an uneven floor. If there are large variations in the height of the floor, you can get plywoods of varying thicknesses and use them to ‘fill in’ the gaps and create an even surface that can be carpeted or floored as desired.

Installation is very simple. Follow the steps below:

  1. Use correct pieces of wood and some nails.
  2. Fill in the hole with the wood, sand or cut as necessary, and nail it into the subfloor. For subfloors that have concrete, you’ll need bolts that can penetrate it. Remember, the key is to fill in the plywood so it creates an even floor.

Self-Leveling Compounds

For large dips, self-leveling compounds might be easier than figuring out plywood thicknesses. This material comes in large bags and is very similar to concrete, as it only requires mixing with water to activate and use.

Combined with paints and dyes, you can effectively redo an entire floor with self-leveling compounds.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 3, 2021.

This is done is two simple steps:

  1. Mix the powder with water until it’s a very thick paste.
  2. Apply to the subflooring – these compounds can be used for both concrete or wood subfloors.

Grinding, Sanding, and Chipping

If you have minor variations in the leveling of your subfloor, you may opt to simply grind away the excess. Keep in mind that this is etching away parts of the subfloor, and subflooring with damage can get further damaged with this method.

Bumps can be sanded down with a powered grinder, and chisels or powered saws can take off the edge of high wooden points on the floor. Sanders are best for wooden subfloors, while grinders are ideal for concrete subfloors.

Another similar method is shimming. Shimming is using wedge-shaped pieces of wood to fill in the floor, similar to the plywood method. These wedges are usually cut at an angle to negate the uneven slope of the floor.


For mild cases of uneven subflooring, it may be enough to simply place enough thick underlay underneath surface flooring to create the illusion of an even floor. However, this should not be used for more serious cases because even with the thickest underlay available, you could have uneven weight distribution and cause damage to underlay in low-lying areas of the floor.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 3, 2021.

The main pro to using underlay is that it’s cheap. Even a single roll of carpet padding can be several times cheaper than the power tools and materials necessary to actually fix the subflooring, and residents who rent may find that this is the best option for their budgets.

Preparation and Other Considerations

Male thinking with orange wall background

Good carpeting depends on the subfloor, and proper subfloor preparation can be the difference between a carpet that lasts years and carpeting that only lasts a few months. Once you’ve gotten your subflooring even, before you lay carpet, take the time to ensure that your work actually fixed the problem.

Concrete subflooring ready for carpet should be flat, even, and free of any adhesives. This means clean, flat concrete without chips, cracks, or bumps that can cause problems for the resident later. Concrete subfloors should also be cured for best success with flooring installation.

Wooden subfloors should be floor grade, which means ¾ in (1.91 cm) Oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood. Unfortunately, particleboard and chipboard aren’t good enough to serve as a good, high-quality subflooring ready for surface flooring. The floor should be well secured so that the carpeting on top doesn’t slip and will remain evenly distributed.

Metal subfloors are less likely to be uneven because they don’t chip like concrete, but you should make sure that they’re free of rust and any other debris that can collect, like old flooring and adhesive.

Once you’ve got your subflooring corrected and clean, it’s ready for a fresh layer of carpet!

Related Articles

Can You Install Laminate on Uneven Concrete?

Install Carpet Over Vinyl Floors? Can/Should You/How to

How to Install Carpet Without Tack Strips

Can You And How To Put Carpet Over Tile Floor

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 3, 2021.

Can You/Should You Install Carpet Over Carpet?