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Can I Put a Vinyl Floor Over Laminate Floor?

I have laminate floor, but some of it has buckled from moisture.  If I sand these areas down, will I be able to lay the vinyl flooring over the laminate?

Our Answer

You are setting yourself up for trouble if you take this approach.  Any buckles you see in the laminate floor, even if sanded, will continue to worsen.  Even more, buckling laminate is often the sign of a moisture problem, or improper installation, or both!

Laminate floors are really easy to remove because they're floating - that is, they're not glued down.  I definitely recommend removing it completely and doing your best to control the moisture before considering any new floor.  Plus vinyl needs to be installed on a clean, smooth and completely flat surface or every imperfection of the old floor will show through.

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How to Repair Buckled Laminate Floor

We purchased our home this past winter in Northern NJ. Our den area has a floating laminate floor that looks like it was installed in the past 2-3 years and is in good shape. However, we just noticed that in one area of the den a couple of the boards are buckling upward, and have at least 1.5 inches of separation from the subfloor.  I've searched for solutions for a buckled laminate floor online. The two most common causes appear to be water damage or expansion of flooring improperly installed too tight to the exterior walls.  The floors have not been wet, so I suspect that the latter is the main cause.

What would you recommend to repair the buckled laminate floor? The area is actually closest to our fireplace and there appears to be some chipping at the edge of the floor at the fireplace.

Our Answer

Laminate floors are a durable and beautiful option. But, if improperly installed, buckling can definitely occur. It sounds like that's exactly the case in your home! Repair is difficult because you essentially have to disassemble the floor from the outside all the way in to that buckled section. Then, replace the buckle boards and install the rest of the floor.

If you have some extra material, this could be a possibility. Before you start, I would recommend numbering all the boards you have to take off. This way, you know the exact order and can easily reinstall them after the repair. You could use a whiteboard marker, lumber crayon, or even masking tape with numbers written on top.

Of course, when you rebuild the floor, you want to leave at least 1/4" to 1/2" of space between the laminate floor and the baseboard molding. Cover that gap with shoe molding, which should be just deep enough to do the trick. If that's the only place you're seeing the buckling, I wouldn't bother taking up the flooring in the rest of the room. But, for the flooring that you have to remove and replace, make sure you remove that gap so it won't recur. I hope that helps, and good luck with the rest of the project!

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Replacing Flooded Basement Flooring

We recently replaced carpeting with laminate flooring in one room of the basement. Yesterday the pipe broke on the sump pump and flooded the basement floor.  As a result, we're pulling out the rest of the carpeting in the basement floor and replacing it.

We are wondering if we have to pull out the new laminate flooring? This is the room all the water went through to get to the carpet. I'm worried about mold.

Our Answer

Replacing the carpet in your basement with laminate flooring was a great move.  Even if you hadn't had a flood, carpet is a really bad idea for a basement. Basically carpet in a basement is mold food! 
Mold needs three things to grow:  water, air and organic matter. Carpet holds dust and dirt, which can be very organic.  Plus, the backing material on carpet is also very organic. This plus the allergens carpet holds, like dust mites, make it a very bad idea for basement flooring.
Laminate, on the other hand, has no such limitations.  In fact, it can be submerged for days on end and suffer no deterioration whatsoever.  Since laminate is totally inorganic, you should have no worries about mold on your laminate floor.  Just dry the laminate floor, damp mop it with a 10-20% bleach to water solution, and the laminate floor will be good to go.
Also, you might want to talk to an insurance adjuster about your flood.  With any luck, you could claim enough damage to pay for the rest of that new laminate floor!