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Can You Lay Laminate Over Vinyl Flooring?

With their warmth and natural beauty, wooden floors can genuinely elevate your home’s interior design. However, if the price tag makes it out of reach, you might consider installing laminate instead. In this case, do you need to get rid of your vinyl flooring, or can you just install the laminate over it?

You can lay laminate over vinyl flooring, sheets, and VLT. However, first ensure that the vinyl is intact, stuck to the subfloor, and asbestos-free. Also, check that the subfloor is concrete or hardwood and doesn’t have moisture issues. Always apply an underlayment under the laminate.

Laminate floor planks installation tools

In specific situations – and with the right preparation level – you can lay laminate directly over vinyl. Here’s all you need to know about this project.

Can You Put Laminate Over Vinyl Flooring?

Laminate floor planks installation tools

After entering the market in 1926, vinyl flooring has become one of the most popular and appreciated materials for floor design around the world, thanks to its resilience and durability. If you have vinyl flooring in your home, they likely don’t yet show signs of wear and tear after years of use!

So, instead of tearing them up to replace them with laminate, you can decide to install laminate planks directly over them. Depending on the kind of subfloor you have, this choice can also increase the level of insulation and moisture resistance.

You can lay laminate over:

  • Luxury vinyl tiles: LVT tiles and planks provide a solid, flat surface for you to lay laminate over. However, only opt for this alternative if the LVT is the glued-down type. Floating or loose-lay LVT requires removal before laminate installation.
  • Sheet vinyl: Provided you use padding or underlay between the vinyl and the laminate, sheet-vinyl provides a suitable surface for your new flooring. Of course, don’t forget to check that it’s intact and in good condition.

Laying laminate over vinyl flooring can help you save time and resources during the renovation process and guarantee you have long-lasting, reliable new flooring.

Should You Put Laminate Over Vinyl Flooring?

Confused female carpenter

While you can lay laminate over vinyl flooring, this isn’t always the best choice. Undoubtedly, laminate is a durable, stylish option, but its lifespan can be considerably shortened without proper precautions during installation.

Before you lay laminate over your vinyl flooring:

Assess the Condition of the Vinyl for Hills & Bumps

If you’ve decided to lay laminate directly over vinyl, the first step is to check the floor’s current condition. While vinyl is incredibly long-lasting, it might not be in good enough shape to support a new flooring.

You can assess the vinyl with a visual exam, looking for visible cracks, lumps, and tearings. These can create an uneven surface and worsen eventual water damages.

Additionally, you need to check for hills and bumps that can make the laminate installation too challenging.

If the laminate you’re thinking of installing has a tongue and groove or interlocking system, the flooring underneath needs to be even and level.

If you’ve found that some areas of your vinyl flooring are uneven, you need to understand the level tolerance of the laminate planks. Generally, irregular patches that boast differences in height greater than 4.7mm (3/16in) over 3m (10ft) should be sanded down to avoid damages, warping, and clicking of the laminate planks.

Check How Old the Vinyl Is (Asbestos)

Another essential consideration concerns the age of the vinyl. Vinyl products manufactured before 1975-1980 are likely to contain asbestos. Asbestos is a highly cancerogenic substance linked to several chronic diseases.

If your vinyl flooring dates back to before 1980, or you suspect it contains asbestos, hire a professional to remove it. Don’t attempt to remove it yourself, as this can cause the asbestos particles to contaminate your living spaces and the rest of the house.

At the same time, don’t seal the asbestos-containing vinyl underneath a new laminate flooring, as this can still make your home an unhealthy environment for your family.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 26, 2021.

Examine the Subfloor (Hardwood vs. Concrete)

After your initial checks, you now know whether your vinyl flooring is even, intact, and healthy. Now, examine the subfloor, which is just as important as the vinyl itself.

To examine the subfloor, consider cutting and tearing away a square of vinyl in the corner of the room. Only lay laminate directly on the vinyl if the subfloor is:

  • Hardwood: Hardwood makes for an ideal, sturdy subfloor that doesn’t usually create vapor or humidity that can damage the laminate.
  • Concrete: Concrete is one of the most popular and durable subfloors for your laminate flooring, but its porous surface creates a link to moisture and vapor issues.

You can assess the quality of the subfloor by lifting a corner of the vinyl flooring. Also, access a basement or crawlspace to ensure that the joists are healthy and intact.

Measure Humidity Levels With an Electronic Tester

Leaving vinyl underneath your new laminate can be highly beneficial because the vinyl can act as an additional barrier against moisture. However, vinyl is only a water retardant.

Therefore, if your subfloor does have a moisture or humidity problem, the vinyl sheet won’t prevent water damages in the long term – it’ll only delay them.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 26, 2021.

When installing the laminate flooring over existing vinyl, any water issues that are already present should be addressed. You can check the moisture level of your flooring through:

  • Electronic tester: These are readily available devices that you can buy at your local home renovation store.
  • DIY testing: For a DIY test, cut a square out of a plastic sheet and seal it on the floor using duct tape. Leave the square in place for 20-24 hours and check for condensation.

You’re more likely to experience moisture and humidity issues if your subfloor is concrete. Concrete tends to transpirate because of its porous structure, releasing the vapor into the flooring above. If you notice that you have a moisture problem, consider speaking to a professional and laying a suitable underlayment, such as a vapor barrier.

Select a Bouncy and Thin Underlayment

When installing laminate directly on vinyl flooring, you’ll always need to add an underlay or padding. Several kinds of underlayment are suitable for your laminate flooring.

Here are the factors to look for in a laminate underlayment:

  • Shouldn’t be bouncy. Bouncy underlayment can cause the interlocking or tongue and groove system to become damaged as you walk on it.
  • Opt for a thin underlay. Since you’ll be installing laminate over existing layers, opt for an underlay that’s only 1-3mm thick to add more thickness to it.
  • Select a vapor barrier to protect the laminate. As we’ve seen, sheet-vinyl isn’t enough to stop moisture from concrete. A vapor barrier can help you save the laminate from moisture damage.

How To Put Laminate Over Vinyl Flooring

Laminate floor planks installation tools

Once you’ve assessed your vinyl floor and subfloor condition, you can go ahead and install your new laminate flooring.

Gather a Saw, Mild Detergent, Tape, & a Hammer

  • Cleaning supplies (mop, mild detergent, vacuum cleaner)
  • Cutting supplies (utility knife, flush-cut dovetail saw, circular saw, jigsaw)
  • Duct tape, painter’s tape, and glue
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • PPE (knee pads, breathing protection, safety goggles)
  • Foam underlayment
  • Laminate

Remove the Baseboards & Mop the Vinyl

First, remove the quarter-round or molding around the room. You can use a pry bar to remove the baseboard but do so with care if you wish to put it back after installing the laminate.

After removing the baseboards, clean the whole room with a broom, mop, mild detergent, and vacuum cleaner. That way, you can ensure that no debris, dust, and oil will remain stuck between the vinyl and the underlayment.

Install the Underlayment & Test Your Doors

Install your chosen underlayment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, before moving ahead, test that the underlayment and the laminate don’t create a layer too thick for the doors to open and close freely.

For this step, take a piece of underlayment, position the laminate on top, and slide it underneath the door jambs. Consider cutting the jams with a dovetail saw to help the laminate fit underneath.

Stagger the Boards and Allow for Curing

When installing the boards, ensure that they’re staggered for a more natural effect. You can cut the ends with a handsaw or jigsaw for more precise results.

After installing the underlayment and flooring, allow for curing time. Then, reposition the baseboards around the room. These are the finishing touches that’ll enable you to hide any eventual imperfection.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 26, 2021.

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