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Can You Lay Hardwood Over Laminate Flooring?

Hardwood floors for the most part look a lot better than laminate flooring, because they’re real wood rather than having a wood-like finish. But, can you lay hardwood over laminate flooring? I did a little research and here’s what I found.

As a general rule, provided the laminate flooring is clean, dry and structural sound you can install hardwood over laminate flooring. The main issue with hardwood floors is keeping moisture from getting underneath it, so it’s best to put down an underlayment on top of the laminate flooring.

Hardwood floor installation tools

There are a range of different underlayments you can use. And cork or foam are best to use because it adds some give to your hardwood floor, making it more comfortable to walk on. Similar to walking on grass compared to walking on a concrete pavement.

In this article I will explain everything you need to know about whether you can lay hardwood over laminate flooring.

Should You Lay Hardwood Over Laminate Flooring?

Confused female holding up power tools and hammer

Although, it’s possible to lay hardwood over laminate flooring, you may be wondering whether you should, and if it’s the best way to lay hardwood when you already have laminate flooring installed on top of the subfloor.

As a whole, it’s less work to install hardwood over laminate flooring rather than removing the laminate flooring first. Therefore, it’s a good idea to lay hardwood on top of laminate flooring and it will work just as well as other kinds of subfloor.

It can be a good idea, however, to install a layer of underlayment to reduce the risk of moisture getting underneath the hardwood.

If water gets in between the hardwood and laminate it can sit there and it will slowly rot the wood underneath. Although it takes a while for the wood to rot all the way through, it can begin to have a musty smell, and can make both the underlayment and the hardwood a lot weaker.

Over time it will make the floor less structurally sound. And when you do a home inspection in the future, the entire floor will need to be replaced to meet building standards.

Type of underlayment to use

Interestingly there are a range of underlayments you can use underneath hardwood, for example, plastic, foam, cork, felt, and rubber.

Foam and cork are the best underlayment for hardwood floors (source: link). However, they can be quite pricey. For a more economical option you can use plastic as well. The main drawback of plastic is that it doesn’t provide much cushion underneath the hardwood, and therefore, isn’t as comfortable to walk on.

However, the laminate floor may already have underlayment, and has a bit of give to it. And therefore, adding an underlayment that has cushion may not be required.

It depends on the specific laminate floor you have, and it’s up to you at the end of the day which underlayment you ultimately decide on.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 14, 2021.

How to Install Hardwood Over Laminate Flooring

Hardwood floor installation tools

Now, you’re aware of the considerations when laying hardwood over laminate flooring, I’ll explain exactly how to prepare the laminate flooring so that you can install hardwood on top of it. But, first a quick summary so you have a good idea of the overall process…

As a whole, there are two major steps involved in installing a hardwood floor, first you need to prepare the laminate flooring surface by ensuring it’s clean, and perfectly level, and then laying down the underlayment. After that, you lay the hardwood boards on top of it.

There are a few minor steps in between which I’ll detail below that will ensure that your hardwood will last as long as it should.

Tools Needed

Here’s the tools you’ll need to do the entire job from start to finish:

  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Knife
  • Scraper
  • Broom/vacuum
  • Bevel tool
  • A level – also called a bubble level, spirit level, or carpenters level
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Flooring crowbar
  • Spacers
  • Sandpaper or an electric sander
  • Sanding block (recommended but optional)
  • Tapping block
  • Parquet gloves
  • Square
  • Folding rule
  • Saw
  • Drill – not always required

Some hardwood boards are really convenient and you don’t need to use nails or glue. The hardwood boards click together and the design holds them in place so that they’re floating above the underlayment.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 14, 2021.

Whereas, with the other kind of hardwood boards, you need to nail the underlayment to the laminate flooring.

For that, it’s best to drill pilot holes, to reduce the risk of splitting a board as you hammer the nail in. If you’re using a nail gun, however, you generally don’t need to drill a pilot hole.

How to prepare the laminate flooring before laying the underlayment

The main goal of preparing the laminate flooring is to make it level, dry, and clear of any debris. Debris such as dust, or wood chips will create an air pocket that can make your floor boards creak when you walk on them. And can create small bumps in the underlayment, which overall makes it uneven.

Start by giving it a good vacuum or sweep. Then remove any existing nails, screws, and staples from the laminate flooring if there are any. Finally, use a scraper to remove any tape, plaster, or epoxy that may be sitting on the surface of the laminate floor.

Levelling the laminate floor

Next, you should check that the laminate floor is level. Use your bubble level to check the floor all over for any areas that aren’t perfectly level. If there are areas that are too high you can sand them down by hand or using an electric sander.

You can also build up areas that are too low using a filler also called a levelling compound. A filler is a wet compound that you spread over the area using a trowel and then let dry.

There are a range of fillers available, and some are specifically designed to go on top of wood which are called ‘wooden floor leveler’. But, any levelling compound that says it will adhere to wood will work well.

You can check it’s level while it’s still wet by putting a piece of paper over top of it and measuring it using your bubble level. However, you should hold the level on top of the paper very lightly. That way it won’t indent the levelling compound.

Once, it’s dry you should sand it off to get a really smooth surface, and then you can lay down the underlayment.

Laying down the underlay and hardwood boards

Underlay typically comes in a roll, and to lay it down, sit one edge against one wall, and then roll it out until it reaches the opposite wall. Place something heavy on the loose end of the underlay, adjust it so it fits perfectly, and then cut it off.

When you cut it off leave a bit extra, so that you can cut the edge so it lines up perfectly with the wall. Which is more difficult to do when the piece of underlayment is still attached to the roll of underlayment.

Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire floor. Next, tape the joins in the underlay together so that they stay in place as you’re laying the hardwood boards on top.

If the room isn’t a rectangle – meaning the corners aren’t 90 degrees, you can use the same process, but cut off the excess using a ruler so that it fits.

After that you can lay your hardwood boards. Start by laying one board hard up against one edge of the room.

When you buy the hardwood boards it will come with detailed instructions about how to install it. So, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it, and follow any instructions they recommend. Next, lay the second row of boards by pushing it up against the first board you installed, and continue until you’ve covered the whole floor.

Well, there you have it everything you need to know about whether you can lay hardwood over laminate flooring

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 14, 2021.

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