Laminate Flooring over Hardwood Floors

parkplazaJune 4, 2012


I have a condo (early 1950s vintage) with oak hardwood flooring. I want to cover it with laminate. The existing floors are kind of shot. Was looking for the durability factor. I have asked some local flooring stores if I can install laminates over top the wood floors...they say sure. But wanted to check with you guys because I am not sure about the salesmans experience.

Also, there are several spots were the wood floors are not perfectly true (in the corner of the room where an end table would go at the edge of the sofa) in which is slopes down a bit.

Is there a way to handle this? Can I fit the imperfection with some sort of leveler, is such a product exists?

Was considering products at Costco, or a leftover lot of Armstrong the warehouse had for $99 a square foot. It is more than I needed, but the total cost with buying more is still less than buying other products.

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While you could do this my question is why? Why would anyone cover up real hardwood and replace it with hollow sounding clickety clack plastic pixtures of wood? Don't do it. You'll cheapen your property and you won't like the result.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:48PM
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Yuk, I read so many postive comments about their durability.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:56AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Ick factor. Plus, your floor will need to be FLAT. Those areas that have problems will not lay down smooth without proper preparation. That will involve removing the existing wood and figuring out why there is a leveling problem there and fixing the root of the problem, not just a band aid for the symptom.

Call in a professional and have your current floors refinished would probably be your best choice.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:36AM
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We had carpeting in three bedrooms, the hall, and living room and took that out for laminate flooring a month ago. We have been very happy with it. Can't comment on the leveling issues you have. Maybe hardwood is better, but we sure like the laminate where the carpet was (although we have carpet in the basement that is not as old as the upstairs stuff so it will stay).

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:36PM
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I'm with those who find this idea very puzzling. But to compound it with an issue like leveling, why do this? Wood floors are an expensive upgrade when building or remodeling and you're going to cover them up with the low end alternative? Have you considered refinishing and going with a beautiful stain?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 9:18AM
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We did this a few years ago and are very happy we did. Our contractor was unalble to get the floor totally level because the house was built in 1915 and has been added on several times. The kitchen addition was probly put on in the 70s without the origenal house being level and not only is that a addition but another addition was added to that at a later date so if he leveled it at this point it would have caused more problems than it solved. The solution was simple layers of old newspaper brought the floor to level without damaging the floor underneith. When the kids and pets are older we will move out for a few weeks and have the floors refinished for now this has worked great for 8 years and no damage is being done to the floor underneath. And yes I know its not being damaged because a leak in the dishwasher a few months ago caused us to have to remove part of the kitchen floor to replace the damaged laminate. The flooring underneath looked just like it did when we covered it. To reveiw news print was layered on the floor in the low areas to bring them level then the entire floor was covered with some sort of felt made for that purpose then the flooring was laid over that.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Newspaper??? Sheesh. The crappy practices that some low budget contractors will do never ceases to amaze me.

Putting laminate over wood floors is like putting Formica counters on top of granite. The basic idea is completely unsound to start with. I would even go so far as to say "stupid". You're shooting yourself in the foot financially for sure. You'd pay less than even the cost of DIY laminate to have the wood refinished for sure. Paying a pro to do the install is just throwing even more money away on plastic stuff that will end up at the landfill.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:38PM
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What a bunch of DIYS snobs! Did it occur to any of you to be helpful and just answer the question without judgment because perhaps the hardwood in question is beyond restoration or to restore it isn't cost effective?

I moved into a house 5 years ago with hardwood in the family room and tile throughout the rest of the first floor. The previous occupant had several dogs of her own as well as foster dogs coming in and out that damaged the hardwood in numerous places. Of course, I have options: restore the good wood, replace the damaged pieces; replace the floor, cover the bad areas with rugs or maybe do a laminate overlay. I'm exploring them all, but why can't anyone who has absolutely no knowledge of all the issues involved just answer the question that was asked without all the yadda yadda?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:02PM
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There's no technical reason why you can't lay laminate over wood. The low area can be built up with layers of 15lb. roofing felt or almost any other material that won't compress or degrade. When floating wood floors first came out it wasn't uncommon to use sand for leveling. You could use a floor patch like Ardex Feather Finish but I would avoid it in case someone decides to try to refinish the wood floor in the future.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:06PM
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As harsh as Live Wire Oak's response may come across, I have to lean in their favor. And I do believe it is VALUABLE feedback, and that's why we are here.

it baffles me that anyone would want to put cheap over quality. Going the cheap route only leaves future owners scratching their head and asking the question we've had to ask many times - what were they thinking????? Not to mention the fact that you just devalued your home.

Newspaper under flooring to level it? Did that contractor consider what happens when moisture hits it? Among many other issues that can crop up. *** blink *** blink *** scratching head.

Refinish the floors. That's the logical option.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 3:15PM
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It may be baffling to you, but sometimes there are very good reasons to look at all of your options.

I've been considering this too. I live in a 600 sq foot, 1 bedroom house. When I purchased the home, it had carpeting over hardwood floors. I have 2 large, shedding dogs and burned out 2 vacuums before deciding to rip out the carpet in the bedroom, living room, and dining room. The wood floors underneath were in pretty rough shape. Paint splatters, stains, serious warping, gaps, chunks missing, etc. My home is so small, there is nowhere to put the furniture in order to take a weekend to sand (it's the only way the stains are coming out), stain, and refinish the floors properly. I'd have to rent a U-Haul or something along those lines and hope no one steals it while I'm refinishing the floors. You may laugh, but that happens quite a bit around here. I'd also have to board my dogs and live elsewhere for the weekend since there is no way to get to the bathroom, kitchen, or get out of the house without stepping on the areas that need to be done. So I am looking at all flooring options. Would prefer not to do carpeting with the dogs (and my allergies), not to mention I prefer the look of hardwood or laminate. Have considered putting wood laminate over my hardwood floors and wondered if it were possible or if I'd have to rip out the current hardwood. Also wondered if I'd be able to install one side of the room at a time and simply move around the furniture based on where I'm working that day.

Anyway, just looking at all options, trying to decide what will be easiest, most cost effective, and most convenient.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:17PM
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I love this question! Why would you cover flooring? I can give you 3 big reasons why. Maybe 4.

So, here is my dilemma. I want to noise proof my condo. I am on the third floor and no one is over me. The problem with wood from the 1920s is that it was never made from quiet wood. The result is I can hear my neighbor below me getting it on with porn or his girlfriend. I can hear sneezing. I can hear every little thing. Snoring, yawning.

So who am I to tell me neighbor not to make normal noises. It's wonderful refinished hardwood flooring but there was not any soundproofing in mind when this condo was built. The walls are solid plaster or exposed brick so I don'e hear the neighbors to the left or right. I have pets and their pet dander is all over the place. If I can hear my neighbor then guess what, I am sure he can hear me.

My compromise is to cover one or both of the bedrooms with some sound deadening foam underlay then either put laminate or carpet over it. It' my bedroom. My feet get cold. I want carpet or laminate where it matters. Rugs and carpet really do help with the pet hair too. I can vacuum that up in 15 minutes as opposed to sweeping and sweeping for 45-60 minutes. Dust and dander flying all over the place. etc.

My bathroom has wonderful tiles so I am forced to ask the same question. Do I cover it with something and put a rubber or foam dB reducing underlay? It would be 170 ft max sq footage. Investment is 1 mortgage payment at best. I can always rip it up if I sell the place. The question is how do I go about this? Thanks for your post.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:13PM
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I am facing this dilemma now. We have very nice hardwood floors (white oak) but we also have three heavy dogs--each over 60lbs who have scratched and indented these floors to the point of embarrassment. Parts of it actually look dirty when it is freshly cleaned. I was so embarrassed about this that I had to cancel a neighborhood meeting at my house. I hate coming home to this every day and seeing this mess.
I did have a few contractors come to the house and for a significant amount of money they would sand and refinish my 600 sq ft area. They all said that even with the bona traffic product I would be facing the same issues in a fairly short period of time. So do I pay the 3 to 4 grand to have this done, only to risk being in this exact situation again, or do I cover my hardwood with laminate that I love the look of, the color I want, the width I want, for half the cost until my dogs are no longer with us....I am not looking forward to this day we do not have kids, so these dogs are our babies--I am trying to figure out a viable solution that makes sense for all. So please do not judge me or chastise me for considering this option. I need a solution, not ridicule. What issues may i incur if I decided to go this wise....

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 8:34PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Trim your dog's nails, keep them trimmed, and refinish. If they click, they are too long.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Laminate flooring can be installed almost anywhere in your home, as long as you have a structurally sound, clean, dry, and flat subfloor. You can also install laminate over existing floors made of wood.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2014 at 7:42AM
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