There are many things you could do to spruce up a home but if you want to take things to the next level, installing a hardwood floor is an excellent choice. It adds beauty to the home and will provide you with a durable surface under your feet for many years.
One of the most important things to consider when installing a new floor is the existing conditions in the home. Starting from scratch with a brand-new subfloor is always an option, but sometimes it is just more convenient to install a hardwood floor over the existing floor.
Can You Lay Wood Floor over Existing Hardwood Floors?
An existing hardwood floor can make an excellent subfloor for a new wood floor. If the subfloor is structurally sound, level, clean, and dry, it will provide an option for a subfloor that is superior to plywood.
Since the existing hardwood floor is going to be used as a subfloor, it should meet certain requirements that would allow it to be used effectively without compromising the quality of the finished product. What are some of the conditions that must be met in order for the existing hardwood floor to act as a subfloor?
One important consideration is the structure of the existing floor. It would have to be structurally sound and flat in order to be used as a subfloor or you are just going to be adding problems on top of problems. In addition, if there are any existing problems in the floor, such as loose fasteners or a squeaking sound when you walk on it, this would also be something that needs to be fixed.
Aside from the fact that an existing hardwood floor makes a great subfloor, it’s important to understand the ins and the outs of actually doing the work. By planning things out properly and making the right choices along the way, you can have a superior installation that you will be proud of for many years to come.
Can You Lay Hardwood Floor Over Existing/Old Hardwood Floors?
Installing a new hardwood floor over an existing hardwood floor is a good decision. The existing hardwood floor can act as a solid and secure subfloor that will work well. As long as you prepare things properly, an existing hardwood floor is a better subfloor than plywood or other subfloor options.
Proper planning is imperative if you want to avoid any problems that could occur during the installation process and after the floor is installed. Perhaps the most important step in the process is to thoroughly inspect the existing hardwood floor and weed out any problems that exist.
One of the most common problems with the hardwood floor, especially if it has been down and lived on for many years is that it can be uneven. The uneven structure of the hardwood floor can cause problems, especially if you are using smaller fasteners or a glue-down installation for the new floor.
If there are any high spots, they should be sanded down so that you have very little variation in height from one part of the floor to another. Of course, there is likely to be some variation from one side of the room to the other but if it happens too quickly, you are simply going to compound the problem when the new hardwood floor is installed.
If there are any loose fasteners or if the existing hardwood floor has a squeak, that is something that must be fixed before the new hardwood floor is attached. More than likely, you have lived with the squeaky floor for quite some time and have even grown accustomed to that particular part of the floor making noise when you walk on it.
If you don’t take the time to fix the squeak or tighten up and/or replace any loose fasteners before installing the new floor, the problem will be transferred to the new floor. In fact, when a subfloor is squeaky in just a small area, it can make for a very large area of problems when the new floor is installed.
One other issue that needs to be cared for before the new floor is installed is to consider the transition from the new floor to other floors in the home. It doesn’t matter if you are transitioning from the new hardwood floor to an older hardwood floor in an adjacent room or to carpet or even linoleum, the change in height can be a problem and even a tripping hazard.
There are some transition strips that can be installed to make it easier to transition from one level to the next. As long as it can be done safely and effectively, there is no reason why you shouldn’t install the new floor over the existing floor. Otherwise, it would have to be a complete tear-out before the new floor is installed.
Can You Lay Engineered Hardwood Floor Over Existing/Old Hardwood Floors?
An existing hardwood floor is an excellent subfloor and can be used under engineered wood floors for installation. Any type of surface can be used under engineered wood floors, including vinyl, laminate, tile, and concrete. As long as the existing floor is relatively free of problems and provides a smooth, flat surface, it will work well under an engineered floor.
One of the most important factors for installing an engineered hardwood floor over an existing hardwood floor is removing any imperfections in the existing floor. A floating hardwood floor is easy to install and it is typically thinner than a hardwood floor that is nailed down, so it won’t add as much to the elevation.
Another factor that must be considered is the underlayment. It can be tempting to simply install the floating floor over the existing hardwood floor but that can lead to some problems.
Adding an underlayment helps on a number of different levels. It helps to cushion the new floor, reducing any squeaks and other sounds that would otherwise occur. It also provides a noise-dampening barrier, which is beneficial if you are installing the new engineered hardwood floor on an upper story of the home. Even if you are installing it on the first floor, the underlayment can help to reduce sound.
Although you are adding less elevation compared to a nail-down hardwood floor, it’s still important to consider the transition to other areas of the home. You may also need to cut under the door to install the new floor or perhaps even shave down the bottom of the doors themselves.
How To Lay Hardwood Floor Over Existing/Old Hardwood Floors
After preparing the old Hardwood floor and removing any imperfections, you can install the new hardwood floor by laying the boards at a 90° angle. If you plan on installing the boards in the same direction as the old floor, a plywood underlayment will need to be installed between the two.
Any imperfection in the existing hardwood floor will show up in the new hardwood floor. This can include elevation changes, loose fasteners, large gaps between the boards, and even squeaky areas. It may take some time to inspect the old floor and make any changes, but it is going to be well worth the difference.
The existing hardwood floor will act as a subfloor for the new hardwood floor. Although it is necessary to lay the new boards at a 90° angle to the existing direction of the old floor, you simply nail it down in a standard way. Having the extra depth of the existing hardwood floor actually makes it easier to do so.
How To Put Engineered Wood Floor Over Existing/Old Hardwood Floors
Any existing hardwood floor is an excellent subfloor for engineered wood. Since the engineered wood is floating, it can be installed over the existing hardwood floor without any serious preparation, provided the existing floor is sound, level, and free of imperfections.
An engineered wood floor can be a very beautiful addition to a home. It is easy to install and does not require any nailing or gluing since the entire floor snaps together in a tongue and groove fashion and floats above the existing floor.
It is important to inspect the existing floor prior to installation because imperfections in the existing floor will show up in the floating floor. If there are any high points, they can be sanded out in advance. Loose fasteners can be tightened or removed and replaced and any squeaks can be fixed by adding a few screws.
Choose an underlayment that is appropriate to the area and the floor that you are installing. This could include one with a vapor barrier if you are installing it over an existing area that would allow air and moisture to get underneath it, such as a basement, or crawl space.
Choose the underlayment that is of the highest quality you can afford because it will make a difference in the finished product. At that point, you simply measure things out and begin snapping the floor in place. Once it is together, you will have a beautiful floor that will last for many years to come.