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Can You/Should You Lay Carpet Over Linoleum?

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Whether you have just moved into a new home or you wish to spruce up your flooring, installing carpet can be an excellent way to add warmth and texture to your house. However, if you are dealing with an old linoleum floor that you don’t want to remove, you might be looking for a way to just install the carpet over it. But should you lay carpet over linoleum?

You can lay carpet over linoleum, but the linoleum needs to be flat, clean, and in good condition. When installing the carpet, you should use tack strips on the room’s perimeter and lay a layer of padding, securing it with staples. You can also glue the carpet down to make it less slippery.

Capet installation tools on the floor

In some cases, laying carpet directly over the linoleum is an excellent option, as your old floor can create a supportive base for the carpet. Read on for everything you need to know before approaching this DIY project.

Can You Lay a Carpet Over Linoleum?

Male installing carpet in a room

Laying carpet over linoleum is possible and, in some cases, even beneficial! Carpet is usually installed over a concrete or hardwood subfloor, but the extra linoleum layer can stop some of the moisture coming from the lower layers and protect the carpet.

Generally, you can lay carpet on various subfloors, including concrete, wood, vinyl, or linoleum. The two most common ways to install carpet over these layers include gluing it down or securing it to tack strips located on the room’s perimeter.

There are two important considerations before installing carpet directly over linoleum:

  • Linoleum is slippery. So, for safety and comfort reasons, the carpet needs to be secured in place.
  • Spillage and moisture can seep through the carpet and stain the linoleum. If you wish to swap the carpet for another type of flooring in the future, you should consider protecting the linoleum with an underlay.

Before installing carpet on your existing floor, check that it is definitely made of linoleum as other kinds of flooring, such as vinyl, laminate, and luxury vinyl, might seem similar.

However, when these are under a carpet, they might act differently from linoleum. Thus, it is recommendable to keep in mind the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring:

Linoleum

Invented over 150 years ago, linoleum is the first resilient flooring we know about. Made of linseed, linoleum is a more natural, resistant, and durable alternative to most flooring types. Today, it is chosen over vinyl because it’s a much more sustainable choice, especially when linseeds are mixed with other renewable materials such as cork.

Vinyl Flooring

Invented in the 1920s, vinyl flooring is an alternative to linoleum that gained momentum during the 1950s. Vinyl flooring is as sturdy and resistant as linoleum, but it’s made of PVC, which is unnatural and harder to recycle.

Linoleum

Invented over 150 years ago, linoleum is the first resilient flooring we know about. Made of linseed, linoleum is a more natural, resistant, and durable alternative to most flooring types. Today, it is chosen over vinyl because it’s a much more sustainable choice, especially when linseeds are mixed with other renewable materials such as cork.

Vinyl Flooring

Invented in the 1920s, vinyl flooring is an alternative to linoleum that gained momentum during the 1950s. Vinyl flooring is as sturdy and resistant as linoleum, but it’s made of PVC, which is unnatural and harder to recycle.

If you’re sure that your flooring is linoleum, you can keep on reading!

Should You Put a Carpet Over Linoleum?

Carpet installation knife

As we have seen, you can install carpet over a linoleum floor. However, this is not the best option in all cases. The first thing to consider is the age of your linoleum floor. If installed before 1978, it can contain asbestos, a highly cancerogenic substance linked to a range of severe diseases.

If you’re unsure about the installation year, speak to an expert before thinking about sealing it under the carpet or ripping it up. Asbestos particles often linger around the house for a long time, posing significant health risks.

Aside from the linoleum’s age, you also need to keep in mind the following:

Check on the Linoleum’s Conditions

Laying carpet directly over linoleum might not always be the best idea, especially if the existing floor is uneven, torn, or excessively worn. You need to consider fixing imperfections, tears, and cuts before laying the carpet.

This is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it is not a good idea to cover a degrading subfloor. Even if you glue down the carpet on a subpar linoleum base, the carpet is not likely to stay fixed, which is not safe.

Additionally, moisture from the underlying layers (e.g., concrete or hardwood) could penetrate a damaged linoleum floor and affect the carpet, causing molding and mildew issues.

So, ensure that the linoleum is intact before proceeding.

Is the Linoleum Floating or Glued Down?

Another consideration is whether the linoleum is floating or glued down. Linoleum usually comes in sheets rolled out and secured to the room’s perimeter or entirely glued to the floor.

If the linoleum on your floor is floating, you should consider removing it. A floating layer will make the carpet not as stable, and it does not supply a secure surface for installation. On the other hand, if the linoleum is secured to the subfloor, you can continue with the carpet installation project.

How To Install Carpet Over Linoleum

Carpet installation tools

Installing carpet over linoleum is straightforward—not so different from laying a carpet directly onto the subfloor!

But if you don’t have much DIY experience, you might consider talking to a professional. Both high-quality carpet and underlay can be expensive, and you would not want to waste it!

If you’re confident in your skills, you can find clear instructions to install carpet in the video below:

Alternatively, read on for more in-depth tips.

Tools and Materials

  • Carpet
  • Padding
  • Cutting tools
  • Cleaning tools and materials
  • Knee pads
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Carpet tack strips

Clean and Prepare the Floor

Start by cleaning the floor. It needs to be spotless, regardless of whether you have opted for a glued-down carpet or not. Any dirt or grime on the linoleum can make the glue less adhesive.

If you have just secured the carpet with tack strips, you don’t want any dirt to be stuck underneath your new floor. Mopping is definitely helpful, but you need a deep scrub to get rid of any dirt, oil, grease, and bust that might have been accumulating on the floor over the years.

Once the floor is clean, let it dry for at least 24 hours to prevent moisture from getting trapped under the carpet.

Once the floor is clean and dry, ensure that it is level and intact. Aside from a visual examination, you could also use a level to ensure that there are no drastic hills and valleys visible once the carpet is installed.

If you find differences in height, you should consider covering the linoleum floor with a self-leveling compound before installing the carpet.

Install and Secure the Padding

Once the subfloor and linoleum are ready, you can install the underlay—the carpet padding. Carpet padding is an essential element of carpet installation, and it ensures that the carpet is padded and protected from moisture.

The carpet padding needs to fit inside the tack strips installed around the room’s perimeter to keep it in place. The padding must not go over the strips but just inside them.

The padding will need to be secured directly onto the linoleum. To do that, use a staple gun rather than glue. Gluing the padding down can cause it to become stiffer and not as soft.

Install the Carpet

Once the tack strips and the padding are in place, you can install the carpet. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially if you’re carpeting a large room or installing carpet tiles.

In any case, it is always a good idea to try out the carpet’s design without fixing it to the straps so that you get a sense of what the room will look like after the installation. Once you’re happy with the arrangement, you can secure the carpet to the tack strips. After a corner is in place, make sure to stretch the carpet to avoid unsightly and uncomfortable lumps. You can do so by hand or with a carpet stretcher.

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