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Can You Put Vinyl Plank Over Particle Board?

When you are pulling up the carpet from a home you just bought and notice that particle board is covering the floors, you may be thinking that your subfloor is all ready to go due to its presence. When it comes to vinyl planks though, can you install it over particle board?

You can install vinyl plank over particle board, but it is not advised as particle board is very apt to waterlog, swelling, and distortion over time. If you must install vinyl plank over particle board, clean the particle board well, ensure that it is level, and install another subfloor above it.

Particle board floor installation

Particle board is a very inexpensive material that many manufacturers use for the mass production of staple items like inexpensive dressers, drawers, and wardrobes. These may last as they are unlikely to be exposed to direct moisture (don’t forget the humidity that rain brings, though!), but when it comes to your floors, particle board may not be the best option. Continue reading to see if you can, if you should, and how to install particle board over vinyl plank.

Can You Lay Vinyl Plank Over Particle Board?

Particle boards stacked on top of each other

Particle board is an engineered wood product that is manufactured from wood chips or jute-stick chips which is combined with a type of synthetic resin to be pressed and then distributed. This material is one that comes at a very inexpensive price, but it is also one that may not be the best option when it comes to the subfloor beneath your vinyl planking. Can you lay vinyl plank over particle board?

Yes, you can lay vinyl plank over particle board, but just because you can does not mean that you absolutely should. Particle board is a material that is incredibly sensitive to moisture, whether that be moisture that comes into direct contact with the board, or moisture that is drawn from the air. This can cause the particle board to easily warp and change, which can cause damage to your vinyl flooring.

If you have no other options when it comes to installing vinyl plank besides putting it in over particle board, it can be done. However, before installing, be sure that you seriously weigh the long-term gains versus the short term gains. If you find that, although you may save time now, later down the road you don’t want to have to make any major fixes to your vinyl flooring, it may be wise to avoid installing the floor over particle board altogether.

Should You Put Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Particle Board?

Particle board installed on staircase

This question is really what is important when it comes to laying down a vinyl floor: Should you put vinyl plank flooring over particle board? Just as with about any other project, there is going to be a question of if you can, but also, if you should proceed with the idea that was initially presented. Can and should are two completely separate beats, therefore, just because you can, does not mean that you should install vinyl plank over particle board.

Although you can install vinyl planking over particle board, this is not something that you should do, if it can be avoided. Particle board is incredibly absorptive when it comes to liquids, therefore, using it as your subfloor can lead to immediate damage or damage over a long period of time. Any moisture that is able to reach through to the particle board can cause it to swell.

When swelling occurs, another problem can then transfer to your vinyl plank flooring which is called telegraphing. Telegraphing is what occurs when there is a problem beneath the top layer of your floor which resides within the subfloor (aka, the particle board). If the particle board encounters any type of warping, this will quickly (or sometimes slowly) telegraph to your vinyl planking and become very apparent on the top layer, making it uneven.

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Particle Board?

Tools for floor installation

If you find that there is no way around installing vinyl plank flooring over particle board, then you certainly need to have the steps that are going to ensure the sustainability of your floor for longer than a few months or years. To ensure this is possible, take a look below to find out the best way to install vinyl plank flooring over particle board. However, always keep in mind that particle board should be your last option when it comes to using it as a subfloor.

You will first need to ensure that the particle board has been thoroughly cleaned of any debris so that the sealer you use will stick well to its surface. Vacuum it with either a shop vac or a reliable household vacuum and be sure to remove as much debris as possible before continuing on. Once this has been done, be sure to remove any baseboards to prepare for installation.

Once the particle board has been cleaned, you will need to seal its surface with a shellac sealer that can be applied with a paint roller. Every single inch of the particle board should be covered with this sealant, but be sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to how long you should allow it to dry. Once the seal has dried, you can move on to the next step.

With the shellac sealer dry, you will then need to install another layer of subfloor over top of the particle board. The options for this range, but a material as simply as plywood or OSB will work just fine. The biggest points to consider here is that you need to overlap the seams in the particle board, but you also need to account for how the added material is going to raise up your floors.

Once you have the subfloors down, you will be able to install the vinyl plank flooring with the help of a few different tools and a little elbow grease. You will need to score and remove the tongue of the first row of vinyl planks and set the first plank in place on the starting line with the cut side facing the wall while also allowing room for the expansion gap. Stagger the joints of your flooring at least 6 inches and then insert the tongue into the grove of the first piece.

Once you have this initial step completed, you will be able to proceed with the installation of the rest of your floor with ease. If you find it difficult to install pieces under door jabs, simply use a pull bar or a tapping block to lock the joint in. Once the floor has been completed, you can reinstall the baseboards along the room and secure any other pieces for a finished project.


When it comes to installing vinyl plank flooring, there are a few tools that you are going to need to ensure that the process goes smoothly and with as few interruptions as possible. Although you may not need as many tools as a natural wood floor may require, there are a few items that will make your experience much more enjoyable and much more efficient. Read below to see what you need to install a vinyl plank floor over particle board.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 2, 2021.

First and foremost, one of the most important tools that you can have on hand is your safety equipment. Although there is usually not a ton of cutting when it comes to installing vinyl plank floors, there is typically plenty of ripping and pulling, especially when you are in the midst of taking up any old subfloors or even pulling off baseboards. Because of this, always make sure that you are wearing safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands.

Once you have your safety gear on and ready, it is then time to check that you have every other tool you could possibly need for this process. You will need a utility knife, a jigsaw for small cutting projects on oddly sized pieces, a mallet, a carpenter’s square, and a pry bar. These tools are very simplistic and many of you already have them within your garage, so be sure to have them right on hand to make the installation process quick and seamless.


You know how to install a vinyl plank floor and what tools you need in order to install it above particle board, but when it comes to preparation, you may need to know just a bit more to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible for you. Although particle board is not recommended as the subfloor beneath vinyl plank flooring, there are a few things you can do to prepare the subfloor for an outcome that will help your floors last.

The most important aspect of preparation is to ensure that the particle board has been properly cleaned. This means that there should be as little dust and debris as possible on the surface. Once the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, you will then need to ensure that the floor is level. If the space is not level, it can cause problems with the initial installation or problems later on for your vinyl plank flooring.

To see if the floor is level, place a level directly on the floor and pay attention to the position of the bubble within it. The bubble should be right in the center of the level, which will be the indicator that the floors are level. If you see that the floors are not level, you will need to fix low spots with a self-leveling product or grind down high spots.

Check out our Vinyl Plank Flooring Project Estimate Calculator to estimate your project.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 2, 2021.

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