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Top 5 Flooring for Uneven Floors

There are many flooring options that each provide different looks and feels. But before you decide to install one of these options, you might have noticed the starting surface to be uneven. What should you do in this scenario?

For uneven floors you can use a floating floor and have it sit in between the uneven surface and the desired flooring option you want installed. Any holes or divots in the underlying floor surface can be fixed with a filler compound.

Flexible and adaptable flooring like vinyl is often the best choice for uneven floors. Its ability to conform to slight bumps and dips makes it ideal for surfaces that are not perfectly level. Vinyl flooring is also DIY-friendly, durable, and comes in various styles, making it a versatile option for any room.

Tile floor installation

With this in mind, I put together a list of the top 5 flooring options for when you have uneven floors and you are using a floating floor to accommodate the installation.

1. Carpet

2. Hardwood

3. Vinyl

4. Laminate

5. Tiles

Installing Carpet on Uneven Floor

Feet on carpet floor

Carpet is comfortable and is warm in winter. It helps keep the floors warm without needing underfloor heating. The texture of carpet also can mask minor imperfections in the underlying surface. Ideally, the underlying surface should be as flat as possible.

When you use carpet, however, the parts that are a bit uneven will be masked by the cushy top surface. And will mean you won’t be able to feel them underfoot, and you won’t be able to see them.

Surface preparation for carpet

There are three broad steps to installing carpet: preparing the surface, installing the smooth edge around the edges of the room, and installing the underfelt.

The smooth edges are pieces of thin wood with sharp spikes sticking up which grip the underside of the carpet.

The methods below will work if the surface is wood or concrete. Before installing the smooth edge, here’s how to prepare the floor before laying your carpet.

Start by removing any staples, and nails using a screwdriver or the hammer. If there are chunks of concrete sticking out you can break them up using a hammer. And If there are any holes, fill them in with a filler.

After that use a scraper to remove any plaster, tape, or other material that’s sticking to the top of the surface. Give the surface a sweep, or a vacuum, and ensure there isn’t any loose debris on the surface. You’re now ready to install the smooth edges, the underfelt, and finally the carpet.

Installing Hardwood on Uneven Floor

Walking barefoot on hardwood living room floor

Hardwood is durable, easy to clean, and most of all it looks amazing. However, installing hardwood flooring on a surface that isn’t level is virtually impossible. Before, explaining how to prepare the surface for installing it, you first need to know whether you need a floating floor or not.

Do you need a floating floor?

To determine whether you need to install a floating floor, you can inspect the surface using a carpenter’s level. This will show you whether it’s realistic to get it perfectly level with a bit of preparation.

For this, I would recommend getting a flooring expert to take a look at it to see what they recommend. And unless you’re a builder or have a lot of DIY experience, installing a floating floor is best done by a professional.

Also, my recommendation about whether or not you need a floating floor applies to all the other flooring types in this list. With that being said, if the surface is relatively flat, and you think you can get it level with a bit of prep, here’s how to do that.

Surface preparation for hardwood

You’ll want to start by removing any material that’s sticking out above the floor. This includes removing any nails, screws, or staples. Then, you should fill in any holes or divots in the floor using a filler. Installing hardwood over concrete requires the concrete to be dry, free of dust, and debris.

If you’re installing hardwood over a wooden subfloor, then the subfloor needs to be at a certain moisture level. And you need to check it using a moisture gauge. Each type of hardwood flooring material will have recommendations for what moisture content wooden subfloor needs to be.

After, it’s clean, perfectly level, and the right moisture level, you can start to install the hardwood floor.

Installing Vinyl on Uneven Floor

Vinyl floor planks

Vinyl is a relatively inexpensive flooring material, unlike more premium materials such as hardwood or tile. It’s especially well suited to areas that get a lot of foot traffic because it’s extremely durable. As an added bonus, it’s also waterproof.

Surface preparation for vinyl

You should first inspect the surface with a carpenter’s level to make sure it’s perfectly flat and determine whether you need to use a floating floor. The steps for how to do that are covered above, under the section titled “Do you need a floating floor?”.

Once you’ve got a floating floor installed, or are using the surface as is, then you should give the floor a thorough sweep or vacuum. Next you should remove anything sticking out of the surface such as nails or staples.

Next, using your carpenters level, you should inspect the area or any parts that are uneven, and use a filler compound to build it up to make it level. If there are any divots in the surface you should also fill them in with the filler compound. Otherwise, once the vinyl is installed something like a high heeled shoe can push through the vinyl and tear it.

After that, you’re ready to begin laying your vinyl.

Installing Laminate on Uneven Floor

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is made of pressed wood particles similar to plywood but it has a shiny wood surface that looks virtually identical to real wood. However, unlike hardwood it is more resistant to scratches, wear and tear, and moisture. And some flooring experts suggest it’s more durable than vinyl, and carpet.

Here’s how to prepare an uneven surface to use laminate.

Surface preparation for laminate

The general steps are to first clean the surface of any debris, and then make it level. You should first assess whether you should use a floating floor. Refer to the section above that explains how to determine whether you need a floating floor or not.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 19, 2021.

Once you have the surface you’re going to lay the laminate flooring on, vacuum or sweep the area completely. Use a scraper to lightly remove any tape, or plaster that may be sticking to the surface. And use a hammer or pliers to remove any nails or screws that are sticking out.

After that, use some filler to even out any uneven areas so they’re perfectly level, and fill in any divots. Now you’re now ready to lay your laminate flooring.

Installing Tile on Uneven Floor

Tile flooring

Tiles are a premium flooring material that’s easy to clean. You can also make intricate and interesting patterns in the floor by using different colors and shapes. Tiles require a perfectly level surface. Here’s how to prepare an uneven surface to use tiles.

Surface preparation for tiles

To prepare the underlying surface for tiles, you need to first assess whether you’ll need a floating floor. Use the instructions I provided above in the section “Do you need a floating floor?”.

Once you’ve got the surface you’re going to tile, you need to make sure it’s perfectly clean. Vacuum or sweep the surface, and use a scraper to remove anything stuck to the surface.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 19, 2021.

If there are parts that are sticking out that are particularly hard, and can’t be scraped off, use a hammer to break it up, and then remove it. After that, fill in any holes on the surface using a filler, and check the entire surface to see if it is completely flat using a carpenter’s level. You’re not ready to begin laying your tiles until you’ve done this.

Related Articles

Can You Install Laminate on Uneven Concrete?

Can You Install Carpet on Uneven Floor?

Can You Lay Tile on Uneven Floor?

Can You Install Laminate on an Uneven Floor?

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 19, 2021.

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