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.
You can’t install carpet on uneven flooring because an uneven subfloor will cause the carpet to receive uneven weight. This will only intensify wear and tear damage. Prior to installing the carpet, the subflooring has to be prepared to optimize the longevity of the flooring and prevent damage.
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?
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?
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
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:
- Use correct pieces of wood and some nails.
- 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.
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 article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on May 3, 2021.
This is done is two simple steps:
- Mix the powder with water until it’s a very thick paste.
- 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.
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
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!
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 3, 2021.