Installing Laminate Flooring over Uneven Hardwood Floors
LESLIE: Steve in Alabama has a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?
STEVE: I’ve got a 50-year-old house that’s the original part of the house. And I want to put down a laminate floor, but in taking up the carpet realized the floor is very unlevel.
TOM: What’s the subfloor made out of, Steve?
STEVE: I’m on a slab …
STEVE: … and then there’s a – I call it hardwood squares.
STEVE: It’s not the little parquet. It’s kind of 12-inch squares.
STEVE: I call it the poor man’s hardwood floor.
TOM and LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
STEVE: And that’s what’s down. But now, because of taking out a closet and taking out a wall, you know there were some vacant spots that I filled in with a vinyl cement patch.
STEVE: But then, because of settling – it’s on prairie mud –
STEVE: – and maybe just general construction of the house, over one corner, from the middle of the room, probably drops as much as an inch.
STEVE: Alright. Well, first of all, laminate floor is fairly forgiving when the underfloor is a bit off level. Dropping an inch – if it drops an inch evenly over …
LESLIE: Is not terrible.
STEVE: Is not terrible if it drops it pretty evenly. If you want to try to level the whole thing out, there’s a material called floor leveling compound, which is sort of like a lightweight concrete; sort of a slurry mix that finds it’s own level and that could be added on top of that concrete slab.
LESLIE: We used one at my house called AboCrete.
LESLIE: I mean it worked nicely.
STEVE: I actually was planning to just put the laminate over the wood.
TOM: OK. Yeah, and you can do that. Yeah.
STEVE: So the self-leveler can go over the wood as well?
LESLIE: No, what I would do in the wood situation is you’re going to have to use some sort of underlayment with the laminate flooring of your choice. Some of the laminate floorings have the underlayment directly to the backside; others, you’re going to need a roll of this foam-type substance that will serve as the underlayment. And I think in the areas where you see it sort of tapering off, you might just want to add a couple of extra pieces of the underlayment to sort of build it up in that area. But it’s really not going to be a big deal.
STEVE: (chuckling) You make it sound so easy. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, well it’s easy for us. We don’t have to do it. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It really is easy. Laminate flooring is the easiest technology.
TOM: It really is.
LESLIE: It comes together so beautifully. It snaps and locks together. You don’t even need to glue it. I mean it really works great.
STEVE: Well, listen. Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.