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Can You Put Carpet Over Laminate Flooring?

Anytime you are installing a new floor, it is always best to start with a clean slate. There are going to be times, however, when you just want to get the new floor down and you don’t necessarily want to put in the time or expense of removing the old floor.

Carpet installation

If you are living in a home that has a lot of laminate flooring, you might be thinking about a change. One option is to install carpeting, which can add a lot of comfort and warmth to the home. This leads to a very common question, however, that involves installing the carpet without removing the old floor.

Can You Put Carpet Over Laminate Flooring?

Carpet installation on stairs

Installing carpeting directly over a laminate floor is an option that can easily be done. If the existing laminate floor is in good shape, you can install the carpeting and live on it for many years. When you remove the carpeting, you may even be able to salvage the laminate flooring.

Although it is certainly possible to install carpeting over laminate flooring, another question you might ask is if it is a good idea to do so. In some cases, you may damage the laminate flooring by nailing down a tack strip or using glue so if you plan on using the laminate at any time in the future, you may want to look into a different option.

Then again, if you just want to avoid the time and expense of removing the existing laminate flooring, installing the carpet is an option that will work well. You can use the existing laminate floor as a subfloor, both for installing the carpeting and acting as a base under the carpet padding.

Of course, there are different types of laminate flooring and each of them will have its own considerations. For example, if it is an engineered wood floor that is installed as a floating floor, it is relatively easy to remove and you may want to consider doing so. On the other hand, if the laminate flooring is glued down, it will require a lot of expense and work to remove it.

You should also consider the type of carpeting that is being installed. Common wall-to-wall carpeting is usually installed with a tack strip, and that will damage the existing laminate flooring. The same is also true of glue-down carpet squares. On the other hand, there may be some options available to install carpeting that won’t damage the laminate but will still provide a quality end job.

Should You Put Carpet Over Laminate Flooring?

Carpet installation tools

Installing carpeting directly over laminate flooring is a possibility that has both benefits and potential problems. In this section, we will discuss the pros and cons of installing carpeting without removing the laminate flooring first.

What Are the Benefits of Installing Carpeting over Laminate?

Savings

If you are installing flooring on a budget, the last thing you want to do is add a lot of expense to the project by tearing out the old flooring unnecessarily. In many cases, you can simply put down the carpeting over the laminate and live on it for many years without any problems.

Time

Saving time is also an important factor because we all live busy lives. Although it may be easy to tear out a floating laminate floor, if it is glued down, it is going to take a lot of time and effort to remove the existing floor. It is much easier to install the carpeting on the existing laminate and move on with your life.

Options

Although you may enjoy your carpeting for many years, there may also come a time when you want to switch back to the existing laminate flooring. Having the laminate flooring in place under the carpet gives you options because it is an easy switch in reverse. As long as you don’t damage the laminate by nailing down the tack strip in an open area, you can often make the change without any problems.

What Are the Problems with Installing Carpeting over Laminate?

Surface

Laminate flooring tends to have a very smooth surface. Although this is a benefit in some ways, it can also cause the carpeting to shift and stretch over time. Unless you want to restretch the carpeting after a few years, which is always a possibility, you may end up with some lumps and wrinkles that could even be a tripping hazard.

Elevation

Although laminate flooring tends to be relatively thin, the underlayment, laminate flooring, carpet padding, and carpet, can really add up. It can make it difficult to transition from the carpeting to any existing floor in the home, such as another laminate flooring, or tile. There are some transition strips that can help, but it may be a problem in some cases.

Cleaning

One other consideration is cleaning the carpeting, which may need to be done from time to time. If the carpeting gets too wet, it could stay wet under the carpet padding for a considerable amount of time and damage the existing laminate flooring. In some cases, the damage may even be felt as the laminate flooring may buckle.

Restricted Movement

One other reason why it may be a bad idea to install carpeting over laminate flooring is that you could restrict the floating floor from moving according to seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. This would happen if you install tack trip and nail down through the subfloor, which would firmly hold the floating floor in place.

How to Put Carpet Over Laminate Flooring

Carpet installation

The first step in the process of installing carpet over laminate flooring is to inspect the laminate flooring. Any imperfections in the flooring should be fixed before the carpeting is installed. Although carpeting is somewhat forgiving as far as flooring is concerned, you still don’t want to have lumps and bumps under your feet as you are walking on it.

If you are installing wall-to-wall carpeting, you will need to install a tack strip around the perimeter of the room. This is where problems can occur because the tack strip will damage the laminate as you nail down through it. In addition, if you nail down through the laminate into the subfloor, you are restricting the movement of a floating floor and that could cause problems as the humidity in the room changes from season to season.

The best choice to overcome this issue if you plan on going back to laminate at some time in the future is to install the tack strip as close to the edge of the room as possible. In the future, you may be able to hide the damage to the laminate with a thicker base or some quarter round. You may want to predrill your hole so you don’t splinter the laminate.

You will need some type of underlayment for the carpeting, although there are many options available. It is generally recommended that you purchase the highest quality underlayment possible because it will make a difference in the sound dampening and comfort of the carpet. In some cases, you may also need a vapor barrier but this is not typically necessary because it would have been considered as an option under the laminate flooring.

After installing the tack strip and underlayment, cut the carpet to size and install it on one side of the room, holding it in place with the tack strip. You can then stretch the carpet within the kicker to the other side of the room so that it is tight. Get used to the process because you may have to do this in the future since laminate flooring is slick and it could cause the carpet to stretch and move over time.

After securing both sides of the room with the tack strip and ensuring it is tight, you can make any final cuts to size the carpet properly and then install the baseboard back in place again. It’s a fairly easy process, but it is one that takes some time.

What Tools and Preparation Are Needed?

Carpet installation tools

Since you are installing the carpeting over an existing laminate floor, you won’t need any special tools, outside of what is necessary to install carpeting in most situations. Here are the tools you should have on hand.

Hammer – You will need a hammer to install the tack strip.

Tape measure – A high-quality tape measure is important for measuring the tack strip and for measuring the carpeting.

Carpet Knife – Although there are many different types of knives available, having one that is specific to the task will make the job easier and reduce the possibility of injury.

Hand Stapler – If you will be stapling the underlayment, then having a hand stapler is important. If you don’t want to damage the laminate, then you should tape the padding in place.

Tack Strip Cutter – Although you can use any saw or even pliers for cutting the tack strip, it is much easier if you have a tool that is specific to the job.

Knee kicker – This is an important part of the process. Kicking the carpet in place requires some work but it will make a very neat job. It also helps to reduce and the lumps or wrinkles in the carpet that could otherwise be a tripping hazard.

Kneepads – This is more of a personal choice, but if you’re going to be crawling around on the floor for even a short amount of time, a good pair of kneepads can save your knees so you can use them another day.

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