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Can You/Should You Put Vinyl Planks Over Your Carpet?

Hardwood floors are the dream of many homeowners. However, since they are rather pricey and high-maintenance, some people settle for the next best thing, which is vinyl planks. Vinyl planks resemble wood in various textures, and they are quick and easy to install, but it is a different story when you still have a carpet-covered floor.  

You can lay your vinyl planks over your carpet if you cannot strip it off your floor for one reason or another. Depending on what type of carpet you have on your floor, you can lay your vinyl planks directly on top of it, or you can put a wooden board over the carpet first before laying the planks.

This article will talk more about what makes vinyl planks a good choice for flooring and the different reasons why some people don’t just tear their outdated carpets off their floors first before installing vinyl planks. It will also teach you how to lay the planks on top of your carpet by yourself.

Why Vinyl Planks?

Vinyl plank being positioned for installation

Like any other temporary flooring solution, vinyl planks were created to breathe new life into your room or living space and make it look more elegant and classy without you having to break an arm and a leg. This budget-friendly flooring option features a simple interlocking method of installation called floating floors. You just connect them like a couple of puzzle pieces.

Vinyl planks are designed to look like hardwood, and they are available in several wood textures and wood stains. They are known for the top-notch durability, and they can last for years with their multiple layers of strong material. But compared to real hardwood, vinyl planks are way cheaper.

What’s more, vinyl flooring is very simple and easy to maintain and clean since most of them are water-resistant and fully waterproof. This means all you need is a regular vacuum and a damp mop, and your vinyl floors are good to go. When it comes to spills, you can just wipe them away with a dry rag. With vinyl, there’s no need to wax and polish as you would real hardwood floors.

Selecting Your Vinyl Planks

There are some things you need to be mindful if you choose to go with vinyl flooring for your house or apartment. Note that not all vinyl planks are created equal. 

There are different brands to choose from, and these may vary in terms of: 

  • Size
  • Finish
  • Wear layer
  • Rating
  • Resilience
  • Warranty
  • Compliance
  • Quality

A plank’s thickness includes the top polyurethane surface, the wear layer under it, followed by the core, and then the backing.

Vinyl planks come in narrow and wide formats in various lengths, depending on the brand.

Vinyl planks have different measures of wear layer. This wear layer, which is measured in millimeters, is an indicator to the durability of your floor. The standard thickness choices for this layer are 6 mm (0.24 inch), 12 mm (0.47 inch), 20 mm (0.79 inch), and even higher.

Typical floors have a 12-mm (0.47 inch) wear layer. For spaces that are more trafficked, consider a plank that has a 20-mm or higher wear layer is the recommended thickness. When it comes to business and industrial settings, vinyl planks should have a wear layer of at least 28 mm.

Removing Your Carpet: Is It Necessary?

Carpet removal tool

Ideally, carpeting needs to be removed, along with its padding and the adhesive that was used to glue it down to the floor. Whether it is tufted carpet, commercial or needle-bond carpet, or carpet tiles, it is always best to remove them entirely before you install your vinyl flooring mainly for hygienic reasons.

This is especially true if the carpet had been installed by previous tenants or homeowners, and you have no idea what the carpeting has been through and how often it has been cleaned through the years.

Moreover, most vinyl planks use the floating floor installation method, so to make sure they don’t come undone when you step on them, they need to be laid on a solid flat, level, and hard surface. Taking out the carpet gives you the most solid foundation for your flooring.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 9, 2020.

However, removing and disposing of old, outdated carpet can be costly and time-consuming. As such, some people just decide to install their new vinyl flooring over their carpets. Provided that the surface of the carpet is flat and level and the condition of the carpet and floor is good, keeping the carpet can be done. After all, the carpets won’t be visible underneath the vinyl planks.

It may also make sense to leave your carpet on if you are merely renting the space or if you just want to keep your options open for future flooring plans. Vinyl floorings, as you may already know, are temporary.

Installing Vinyl Planks Over Your Carpet

Floor planks and rolls of carpet on floor

Putting vinyl flooring in your home is a fairly straightforward project that most people can do on their own. There are different kinds of planks that you can get. You’ll find glue-down planks, peel-and-stick planks, and tongue-and-groove planks.

If you install the planks on top of a carpet, make sure that it has no rot, and there are no damp portions anywhere. You wouldn’t want molds, bacteria, and other contaminants lurking underneath your flooring.

Low-Pile vs. High-Pile Carpets

Before you install your vinyl planks over your carpet, you need to know that the steps might be a little different between low-pile or thin carpets and high-pile or thick ones.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 9, 2020.

  • If you have a thin, low-pile carpet with very little or no padding, you don’t have to worry about the stability of your vinyl flooring. For this type of carpet, you can use a thinner vinyl plank. But for the best results, you should use a thicker plank with less flexibility.
  • If you have a high-pile carpet with plush and thick carpet padding, there’s more squish beneath your steps. Placing your vinyl planks directly on top of your carpet will give you moving floorboards, and this can shift and unlock your floating floor very easily. For high-traffic areas, your planks.
  • So, for high-pile carpets, a little more preparation is required to combat the squish. You will first need to create a more stable surface for your planks to rest on. For this, you can use at least a 1/4-inch-thick (0.64 cm) sheet of plywood to create a subfloor on top of your carpet.

Here’s a tutorial video on how to lay vinyl planks over a carpet: 

How to Install Vinyl Planks Over Your Carpet

House floor installation tools

The tools you will need for installing your vinyl planks are:

  • Tape measure
  • Pen
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spacers
  • Tapping block
  • Tile cutter
  • Sheets of plywood for high-pile carpet

Once you have gathered your tools, follow these steps:

  1. Start by removing all furniture and other items from the room. Vacuum your carpet to make sure you have a clean starting surface. You should also remove the baseboards to get a more finished look.
  2. If you are using plywood on top of your carpet, make sure to lay them in the opposite direction your planks will go. You’re most likely going to need more than one sheet, so tape them together at the seam.
  3. Place spacers between the planks and the wall. These spacers help ensure that there is a quarter of an inch expansion gap from the wall.
  4. Position the first plank in the corner and work from left to right until you complete the first row. You must interlock the tongue and groove connectors of the planks, then align the seams.
  5. If there is a space between the wall and the last plank on a row that can no longer fit one entire plank, you need to measure the length of this gap. Mark and cut the next plank accordingly so it would fit in the remaining space of the row. You can use a table saw, circular saw, miter saw, or hand saw to cut the vinyl planks.
  6. If the leftover cut ends are at least six inches long, you can use them to begin your next row. This allows you to stagger the planks and give your floor a more natural hardwood look.
  7. Continue to move down the room while making sure that the planks are interlocked, and all their seams have a tight fit. Use the rubber mallet and tapping block to tap the planks and lock them in place.
  8. Don’t forget to add spacers every few feet around your floor’s edges. Remove these spacers when you are done installing all the planks.

Final Thoughts

You can install a temporary flooring of vinyl planks over your existing carpet if you don’t want to go through the hassle of removing it and scraping off the glue. If you have a low-pile carpet, you can install your vinyl planks directly over it, but if you have a plush and thick carpet, you would need to add a much more solid base before laying the planks.

However, if you are thinking of a more permanent or longer-term flooring arrangement, removing the carpet and scraping off the glue first is the more ideal and sanitary thing to do. Carpets are a catch-all for dirt, dust, dead skin cells, pet hair and urine, bacteria, mold, and other organic compounds and allergens that may not be easily removed by vacuuming.

Check out our Vinyl Plank Flooring Cost Estimator to estimate your project.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 9, 2020.

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