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Can You/Should You Put Laminate Over Hardwood/Wood Subfloor?

We all want to be proud of our home so from the floor to the ceiling, we want everything to be just right. Surprisingly, one of the biggest changes you can make to a home that really makes a difference, both in value and beauty is upgrading the floors.

Male measure cut for laminate plank

Perhaps you live in a home with hardwood floors and most people would consider you to be fortunate that you have such beautiful flooring under your feet. There are numerous reasons, however, why you might be thinking of making a switch to laminate flooring. This leads many people to wonder if you can put laminate directly over hardwood floor and even if you should do it.

Can You/Should You Put Laminate Over Hardwood/Wood Subfloor?

Hand giving thumbs up to laminate flooring installation

Not only is it possible to put laminate directly over hardwood or a wood subfloor, but it is also a preferred method of installing laminate flooring. Hardwood floor makes an excellent subfloor for laminate and many other types of flooring. Very little preparation is needed and you can have your new floor down in no time.

Of course, there is a difference between knowing if you can put laminate over hardwood and if you should do it. We will examine both of those factors, helping you to make a decision that will be right for you and your family.

It is also important to discuss some of the benefits and potential problems associated with installing laminate over hardwood or a wood subfloor. There are very few downfalls, although there are some things to consider that will help you to make the best choice.

More than likely, you have already made the decision to use laminate. It is a beautiful, durable, and affordable type of floor that can last for many years under difficult circumstances. There is no reason for you to avoid moving forward with your plans but knowing more about what is under the laminate helps you to know how to install your new floor and live on it once it is down.

Can You Put Laminate Over Hardwood?

Laminate floor planks stacked on top of each other

Hardwood floor makes an excellent subfloor for laminate. In most cases, a hardwood floor is nailed down and provides a solid surface so the laminate can be installed without any further problems. In some cases, the backing for the laminate is attached, making the process even easier.

When you install laminate flooring, having some type of subflooring down is important. Of course, subflooring is important for any type of floor but for laminate, having a good subfloor makes a better finished product.

That being said, if there are any issues with the hardwood floor, these need to be corrected prior to the time that the laminate floor is installed. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to inspecting the hardwood prior to the new installation.

Exposed nails

A hardwood floor is nailed down solid but over time, the nails can begin to loosen and perhaps even lift. An exposed nail would damage the laminate floor from underneath so they need to be secured ahead of time.

Squeaky areas

Most hardwood floors develop a squeak over time. This could be associated with the hardwood floor itself or perhaps the subfloor that is under it. If you don’t repair the squeaky area prior to installing the laminate, you will end up with a squeaky laminate floor and perhaps even other problems.

Is it nailed down?

Most hardwood floors are nailed directly to the subfloor and are solidly in place. If it is an engineered hardwood floor, however, it might also be floating. You should not install a floating laminate floor over a floating engineered hardwood floor as they could work against each other and lead to problems.

Loose boards

If there are any loose boards in the existing hardwood floor it could cause the laminate floor to separate over time. It may also lead to other problems.

Elevation differences

Make sure that the existing hardwood floor is level without any changes in elevation. These could be minor changes from one board to another or a change in elevation from one room to another.

Should You Put Laminate Over Hardwood?

Hand laying down a laminate floor plank

There are many reasons why laminate can be put over hardwood, whether it is a hardwood floor or subfloor. Since laminate is a floating floor, it can even protect the hardwood for future use while giving you a clean, durable, and beautiful surface to live on.

The choice as to whether to put laminate over hardwood is a personal one. Some people may even try to talk you out of it, saying the best option is to refinish the hardwood. Although hardwood is beautiful, there are also benefits to using laminate.

A laminate floor provides a durable surface for an active family to live on. If you have pets or small children that like to use the floor as a play area, a laminate floor will maintain its beauty but a hardwood floor could scratch and become damaged over time.

Can You Put Laminate Over Wood Subfloor?

Laminate floor installation tools

A wood subfloor is one of the best options for installing laminate flooring. As long as the subfloor is sound and in good condition, the laminate can be put directly over it with the proper pad installed between for sound protection, to soften footfall, and to act as a moisture barrier.

If you’re installing laminate flooring as the first floor in the home or if you have removed the old flooring and are now using an existing subfloor, it can provide the ideal surface for the new floor installation. Concrete is also another option, but you can install the laminate directly over existing hardwood floor, ceramic, terrazzo, and many other flooring surfaces.

One of the most important factors to consider is the condition of the subfloor. Any type of exterior grade plywood, OSB or other suitable subfloor will do well. If there are any changes in elevation, popped nails, or damage to the subfloor, it could cause problems with the laminate over time. You should also ensure that there are no squeaks in the subfloor, as they will simply transfer to the laminate flooring.

Should You Put Laminate Over Wood Subfloor?

Floor installation tools

Since laminate can be installed directly over a wood subfloor, it can make the job very easy to do. As long as the floor is structurally sound and does not have any serious issues, such as elevation changes or loose edges, it is the only subfloor that is necessary.

If you have existing flooring, such as hardwood floor, tile, or vinyl, you can put the laminate directly over the existing floor without removing it and getting down to the subfloor. Some people do remove the existing floor because of the potential for adding too much height to the existing floor and possible tripping hazards when going from one room to another.

Make sure that you inspect the wood subfloor carefully and correct any problems that you detect before installing the laminate. Laminate flooring will float over the existing subfloor but any problems are likely to transfer and could even damage the laminate over time.

How to Put Laminate Over Hardwood/Wood Subfloor

Laminate floor plank installation

No special preparation is necessary before you install laminate over hardwood or a wood subfloor. The primary consideration is to inspect the existing floor or subfloor and correct any problems before you continue with the installation process. You can then install the laminate floor according to manufacturer’s direction.

The first step in the process is to acclimate the laminate to the existing room. If you bring laminate floor in from outside or a storage area and immediately put it down, it could separate and damage as it adjusts to the humidity in the existing room. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long the floor must acclimate before it is installed.

If you are not using a laminate flooring that has padding attached, you will need to choose the padding that is right for the installation. This may be different, depending upon what is under the laminate, for the potential of moisture and how much of a sound barrier you are trying to create. For the most part, choose a padding that is as good as you can afford.

Measure carefully to determine how wide the first row of laminate flooring should be. You want to avoid having a row on the edge that is very thin, as it would easily separate from the rest of the floor and will not be visually appealing. If necessary, trim some off of the first row to make the entire process smooth.

Laminate flooring is installed in one direction, as you attach the lead piece to the existing laminate floor that has already been installed, snap it into place and then push down to lock it tightly. It may be necessary to gently tap the edge of the lead piece to ensure that gaps are kept to a minimum.

There are limited numbers of unique boards within any pack of laminate flooring. Pay attention to the pattern on the board you are putting down and make sure that you don’t have two identical pieces one after another. Continue to cut the pieces so that the ends are randomized.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 6, 2021.

Most homeowners can put down a laminate floor over the weekend. As long as you plan things out carefully and follow the instructions included with the flooring, you should have a job that you are proud of.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 6, 2021.

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