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Blog Banner: Can you lay laminate flooring over old carpets?

Can you Lay Laminate Flooring Over Old Carpet?

When considering installing laminate flooring, homeowners often wonder whether it’s possible to lay it over existing carpeting. We’ll make the blog post short for you – installing laminate over carpet is not best practice, nor is it recommended. We know that us saying no isn’t enough for some people though, so if you’re going to do it, it’s worth doing carefully, in a considered way. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the feasibility of fitting laminate flooring over old carpets, including important considerations, potential challenges, and installation guidelines to ensure a successful outcome.

Feasibility and Things to Consider

1. The Subfloor Condition

Before laying laminate flooring over old carpets, it’s crucial to assess the condition of the subfloor. Ensure the subfloor is flat, level, and free of moisture or damage. Any imperfections in the subfloor can affect the installation and long-term performance of the laminate flooring. Any high points in the floor can lead to snapped laminate planks.

2. Carpet Thickness

The thickness of the old carpeting is a key factor to consider. Thicker carpets may create an uneven surface, causing issues with the stability and appearance of the laminate flooring. It’s generally recommended to remove thick carpets or underlayment before installing laminate flooring for optimal results. If you’re rolling something heavy over the flooring, or you’ve got heavy furniture such as a fish tank with stand, your flooring is likely to break. 

Paying for someone to replace a few laminate boards will be more expensive than just paying someone to remove your old carpets, because laminate is slotted together so a lot of the flooring has to come up just to remove a few planks.

If you’ve got very thin carpets or even carpet tiles, laminate may be do-able, but again we 100% do not recommend it.

3. Moisture and Mould Risks

Installing laminate flooring over old carpets can trap moisture between the layers, leading to mould growth and damage to both the flooring and subfloor. Ensure the old carpeting is thoroughly dry and free of moisture before proceeding with installation. Additionally, consider using a moisture barrier or underlayment to mitigate moisture risks.

How about just sticking with carpets and using our helpful guide to keep them in great condition?

4. Subfloor Material Compatibility

Laminate flooring is compatible with a variety of subfloor materials, including plywood, OSB (oriented strand board), concrete, and existing vinyl or linoleum flooring. However, the suitability of installing laminate over old carpets may vary depending on the type and condition of the subfloor material.

5. Flooring Height and Transition Considerations

Installing laminate flooring over old carpets can increase the overall height of the floor, which may require adjustments to door clearances, transitions, and trim pieces. Plan accordingly to ensure smooth transitions between rooms and compatibility with existing architectural features. 

At this point you have to think about why you’re considering installing laminate over flooring. If it’s to capture the warmth that carpets bring to a home as an insulating material then why not just stick with carpets? Laminate will still feel cold on your toes. 

If you’re doing it to save money on removals, remember that broken laminate can very quickly cost you much more than paying someone to remove the carpet. You also have to shave down every door that’ll open over the laminate. 

If You're Sticking With The Decision, Here's Some Installation Guidelines

  1. Subfloor Preparation: Thoroughly clean and prepare the subfloor, removing any debris, adhesive residue, or protrusions that may affect the laminate flooring installation.
  2. Moisture Barrier: Consider installing a moisture barrier or vapor barrier over the old carpeting to prevent moisture infiltration and protect the laminate flooring.
  3. Underlayment: Install a suitable underlayment over the old carpeting to provide cushioning, sound insulation, and support for the laminate flooring. Choose underlayment specifically designed for laminate flooring installations.
  4. Acclimation: Allow the laminate flooring to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity conditions before installation, following manufacturer guidelines.
  5. Installation Method: Follow manufacturer instructions for the installation method, whether it’s floating, glue-down, or click-lock installation. Ensure proper expansion gaps are maintained around the perimeter of the room and transitions between rooms.
 
If the laminate’s for your living room, why not find out why Carpets are the best Living Room Flooring Option!

Exploring Common Questions

Will installing laminate flooring over old carpets affect the warranty?

Obviously, yes. Installing laminate flooring over old carpets will void the warranty, as it deviates from manufacturer installation guidelines. Check with the laminate flooring manufacturer for specific warranty requirements and limitations.

 

Can I install underlayment directly over old carpets, or should I remove them first?

Underlay for laminate is a waterproof barrier that protects the flooring. If your subfloor has issues with water seepage and you’ve laid waterproofing on top of the carpets, you’re going to have mouldy carpets and a smell you won’t easily be able to get rid of. 

Take up the carpet, take up the carpet underlay, fit the laminate underlay, and then refit everything if you’re sure you want the carpet there. 

Are there any specific tools or equipment required for installing laminate flooring over old carpets?

Installing laminate flooring over old carpets may require additional tools such as moisture meters, floor scrapers, and levelling compounds to prepare the subfloor adequately. Consult with a professional installer or retailer for recommended tools and equipment.

Will installing laminate flooring over old carpets affect the overall height of the floor?

Yes, installing laminate flooring over old carpets can increase the overall height of the floor, which may require adjustments to door clearances, transitions, and trim pieces. Plan accordingly to ensure compatibility with existing architectural features.

Is it recommended to install laminate flooring over old carpets in high-traffic areas like hallways or living rooms?

It’s generally not recommended to install laminate flooring over old carpets in high-traffic areas, as it may compromise the stability and durability of the flooring. Consider removing old carpets and preparing the subfloor properly for optimal performance in high-traffic areas.

In Conclusion

If you’re still sure you want carpets underneath your laminate then fine, you have the knowledge on how to do it, and the huge warnings that it’s a bad idea. When the laminate inevitably breaks as you simply walk across the floor we’re here to help, because we sell flooring. It’ll feel like a big waste (and it is) that you’ve bought flooring that’s now ruined, but to help your financial situation you can get flooring from us for small weekly payments to help spread the cost. We’ll install it correctly too. Or, before you wreck your bank balance and needlessly damage flooring, just tap the button and get your flooring with us!