Can You Install Laminate on an Uneven Floor?

Research shows that there are lots of houses, particularly older homes, with uneven floors. Sometimes, you may not realize how much the subfloor beneath your floor is uneven (warped and moved) until you try to install a novel floor cover.

Some individuals may decide to install laminate floors and not first assess the subfloor, which isn’t good enough! So, this post will provide the right answer to the question about the possibility of installing laminate on an uneven floor.

Yes, you can install laminate on an uneven floor. Nevertheless, you may want to expect a degradation in the quality of the new laminate. Yes, you may see the finished product end up warping, leading to a shift in the floor and damage when walked on. So, professional advice will be to level your subfloor before installing the laminate.

Can You Install Laminate on an Uneven Floor

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Is it possible to Install Laminate on an Uneven Floor?

Even though it is not recommended to install laminate on an uneven floor, it remains a feasible process. For the laminate installation process, you can lay interlocking sheets on the floor under (subfloor). You should know that these sheets won’t be attached to this subfloor but merely resting on its top.

Nonetheless, leaving the floor uneven before you lay the laminate can generate several problems, affecting the laminate flooring quality.

What is responsible for most uneven floors? Bumps and dips usually cause these in the subfloor as it warps and moves over time. This explains the reason most older houses are found with and prone to uneven floors.

The floor may sometimes look flat but slopes to a side. This is an issue that may be caused by the structure of the building. Factually, fixing structural issues can be harder. So, for this situation, you may have to hire professionals to handle the work.

You may be at risk of ruining the new laminate floor if installed on an uneven surface unintentionally. And this is why it’s highly important that you do a thorough check of the subfloor levels prior to the installation process. So, try to make the proper adjustment on the uneven areas before covering the top with laminate.

Should You Put Laminate On an Uneven Floor?

It’s unprofessional to put laminate on an uneven floor. As an unideal idea, it will result in the reduction of the quality of the finished product and end up wasting your precious time. Nevertheless, laminate often features underlay for compensating for any minor discrepancies.

It’s advisable not to lay laminate until you level the subfloor in case you see dips or bumps with the size of more than 3/16 inches on it. Installing laminate on an uneven floor will make it settle directly into the uneven surfaces, affecting the quality of the final product.

Having dips in the subfloor will form an air gap under your boards, causing the popping and cracking of laminate floors under your feet. Besides, the interlocking mechanism (joining each laminate board and creating gaps between them) could be damaged.

You may expect the areas of your new laminate to lift due to how an uneven surface can end up warping it. With this, you may see the edges of the boards tripping on or wearing away.

Considering how the poor quality of the finished product due to installing on an uneven floor a new laminate floor can waste your money and time, you may want to think twice before adopting such an approach.

 If you intend to level the uneven floors first, there are several right tools you can use for an easy job. So, going for such an approach should be a great step.

How to Lay Laminate on an Uneven Floor?

Before laying on an uneven floor a laminate, there are right tools you need to get first (each with its unique function). These include the vacuum cleaner, carpenter’s level, self-leveling compound, wide putty knife, sandpaper, hammer, and fishing nails.

How to Prepare to Fix an Uneven Floor

Good preparation influences the result of the final product. Try to observe the following:

  • Remove the old covering: The first step is to get rid of the old floor covering to see the subfloor beneath. The subfloor can be made of chipboard, floorboards, or concrete. Ensure you remove the loose nails or exposed staples.
  • Clean up the dust: Irrespective of what your subfloor is designed with, clean up the accumulated dirt or dust using a vacuum. For using a leveling compound, this is required.
  • Remove the skirting boards: You will find pressing the laminate boards against the wall easier when the skirting boards are not in your way. So, you may consider removing them. Skirting boards could be the wrong height after leveling the subfloor and putting a new floor covering on it.

Fixing /Leveling an Uneven Floor

For laminate, To fix or level an uneven floor, you need to identify the location of the bumps and dips first. Please do this by using the spirit level, running it slowly across the floor to know the parts responsible for shifting the bubble within.

You can also use any of the laminate floorboards by holding it on the subfloor on its side then checking to see if the board’s full length is in contact with the floor. In case it’s not, you won’t see the raised parts and areas with dips.

To level or fix an uneven floor, there are different processes for each type of subfloor. Check out below the fixing processes for concrete, floorboards, and chipboard.

How to Fix Uneven Concrete

Check the steps below:

  • Step 1: Use the concrete self-leveling compound, featuring a pre-mix. Add enough water and pour it on the subfloor. Ensure you cover every part of the subfloor with this compound to make sure the floor is level. But if the dip is small in the concrete, just fill in that part and leave the remaining areas uncovered.
  • Step 2: Smooth the mixture after pouring it over the dip using a wide putty knife.
  • Step 3: Wait for about 24 hours to see the leveling compound cure. Afterward, recheck the levels to see if it’s properly done.

How to Fix Uneven Floorboards/Chipboard

Check the steps below:

  • Step 1: Before leveling the floor, check for any loose boards. To do this, walk over every floor area to feel any shifting or hear groans and creaks.
  • Step 2: Replace the boards if the uneven area is due to the lifting of the floorboards. But you may have to waterproof the whole floor if you’re leveling the entire area.

Note: For the liquid leveling compound not to seep down into the joists, seal the joints between the floorboards with caulk and seal the room perimeter with a sill seal with the caulk.

  • Step 3: Seeing that the floor is watertight, cover the entire area with the leveling compound and wait for a cure (about 24 hours).

Note: You can start to lay your new laminate floor after leveling your concrete or wooden subfloor.

Final Notes

There are cogent reasons why it’s important to fix your uneven subfloor before installing laminate. Although you can install on an uneven floor a laminate, it’s never an advisable option. Professionally, you are advised to fix or level your subfloor first, then proceed with the installation process to have a flawless finish.

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