Can You Put Laminate Flooring Over Carpet? (How-To)

Laminate floors are strong and glossy making the floor finish highly desired but can you put laminate flooring over a floor carpet?

You can put laminate flooring over a carpet. This is because laminate floors stick to different surfaces and will stay on the carpet as long as the carpet is clean and even. But you should know that not all types of carpets can take a laminate floor overlay and not all types of laminate floors too can be applied over a carpet.

Laminate floors work better on thin carpets as such carpets have a stronger base for the laminate floor. This post reveals a lot more about applying laminate floor over carpets including tips to carry out the task. So let’s dive in.

Should You Put Laminate Floor Over Carpet?

Generally, it’s not recommended to put a laminate floor over a carpet. This is because most carpets will not provide a suitable base for the laminate floor to stick to. Also putting a laminate floor over a carpet will not make the laminate floor last long, especially on busy or high-traffic floors.

Putting laminate flooring over a carpet isn’t the best idea. This is because the carpet will not provide the needed conditions for the laminate flooring to stick. Especially, if the carpet is thick or finished with soft materials like wool and fur. These materials are soft and when you walk on the carpet, you can feel your weight pressing into the carpet.

If you put laminate flooring over such carpets, the laminate floor will not dry strongly and when you walk over it, the flooring will give way as the carpet underneath is soft. This will make the glossy laminate floor develop cracks and become uneven.

However, you can put laminate flooring over your carpet if the carpet is thin or has a low pile. In this case, the carpet will provide a strong base for the laminate floor to stick to. You can also put a laminate floor over a carpet if you are ready to install a sub-floor first.

A subfloor is a foundation for the laminate floor to sit on. In both these cases, the laminate floor will stick and dry smoothly but it might not last long, especially on busy floors.

Pros of Putting Laminate Flooring Over Carpet

  1. It’s easier to put laminate flooring over a carpet than on bare wood
  2. The carpet underneath the laminate flooring will provide additional insulation or warmth especially if you live in frosty areas
  3. The laminate flooring will protect the carpet underneath since laminate is usually moisture-resistant
  4. Laminate floor will change the look of the floor to a glossy finish
  5. The carpet will prevent bleed-through and moisture damage to the laminate floor

Cons of Putting Laminate Flooring Over Carpet

  1. Doing this can cause the laminate floor to develop cracks, especially on thick or fluffy carpets
  2. Moisture can become trapped in the carpet making it possible for mildew to grow underneath your laminate floor
  3. Putting laminate floor over carpets can cause lumpy bumps or warps on the laminate
  4. If the carpet is soft, the laminate flooring will become uneven
  5. Carpets hide dust and filth which can prevent proper adhesion between the laminate floor and the carpet
  6. Dust mites and other insects will be attracted to the warm carpet undercoat

What Type Of Carpet Can You Put Laminate Floor Over?

Generally, you are only allowed to put a laminate floor over thin or low-pile carpets. This is because low-pile carpets are hard and flat. Since the carpet is hard and flat, it will provide a sturdy base for the laminate floor to be installed on.

In this case, the laminate floor will not develop cracks or give way when you walk over it since the carpet base is hard. Also, the laminate floor will dry evenly on the floor.

Low-pile carpets are also referred to as floor mats because they are closer to the ground and don’t have any fluff or soft padding. These are the types of carpets that you see on walkways, in offices, elevators, and ground floors. Low-pile carpets are usually made from moisture-resistant and strong materials like rubber, leather, and polyester.

What Type Of Carpet Shouldn’t You Put Laminate Flooring Over?

You shouldn’t put laminate flooring over high-pile carpets. This is because these carpets are not sturdy or flat meaning that they can’t provide a good base for the laminate floor to stick to. Putting laminate flooring over a high-pile carpet will cause the laminate floor to give way and crack open with time.

High-pile carpets include fluffy carpets, multiple-layered carpets, and flush carpets. All these carpets have one thing in common and that is that they are all soft. These carpets are commonly used in bedrooms and living rooms because there are designed to give a comforting feeling to your feet. Walking over a high-pile carpet is like walking on soft cotton or fur.

These carpets are also designed to have a level of “give” meaning that the carpet material is flexible enough to bend, press, or split so it’s not hard or harsh on your feet.

The good news is that these carpets are great for your feet. The bad news is that they are bad for laminate floors. Since these carpets are soft and flexible, putting a laminate floor over any of them means that the floor will become uneven.

Asides from that, high-pile floors attract dust, filth, and even insects all of which will cause the laminate floor to warp. So, whatever you do, never put a laminate floor on a high-pile carpet.

Next, let’s find out how to lay a laminate floor on a carpet easily.

How To Lay Laminate Floor Over a Carpet?

Before we dive into how to do this, you should remember that you can only apply laminate flooring over a low-pile or thin carpet. And, this guide is going to show you how to do that.

If you have a high-pile or fluffy carpet, the best thing to do is to remove the carpet before applying the laminate floor. Putting a laminate floor over a high-pile carpet will damage the carpet and the laminate floor.

To put a laminate floor over a low-pile carpet, you need the following tools and supplies:

  • Floor vacuum
  • Clean rags
  • A scrubbing brush
  • Detergent
  • A bucket of water
  • Tapes
  • Knives
  • Laminate flooring or boards
  • A circular saw or table saw
  • A rubber mallet or hammer
  • A measuring tape
  • Pencils

Here is a 6-step guide to putting laminate floor over a carpet

1. Remove Furniture and Objects in The Room

Remove Furniture and Objects in The Room

The first step is to take out all objects in the room. This includes your furniture, electronics, and the likes. Everything on the carpet should be moved out. After doing that, you need to remove the baseboards and trims around the floor.

Also, all fittings and pads around the corners of the room should be removed. If you don’t remove baseboards and trims, you will not get an accurate measurement of the floor and this will make it difficult to get an even finish.

2. Clean The Carpet

Clean The Carpet

The next step is to clean the carpet. You should start by vacuuming the carpet to get rid of loose materials and dust.

If the carpet is filthy, you’ll need to wash it with a scrubbing brush and some detergent. Ensure to rinse thoroughly and leave the carpet to dry for a few hours or days before moving on with the task.

3. Get Your Measurements

Get Your Measurements

Using a tape rule or measuring tape, you need to get an accurate measurement of your floor in length and width. This will ensure that your calculations are correct when cutting the laminate floor.

You can also get an idea of the needed laminate floor by arranging the planks on the floor. You can place the laminate planks side-by-side to see how the laminate floor will fit on the floor.

Be cautious while doing this so you don’t lock the laminate planks in place. If you do so, it will be difficult to unlock the planks.

4. Install a Subfloor (Optional)

Install a Subfloor (Optional)

When the carpet is dry and you have an idea of the needed laminate boards, you can go ahead to install a subfloor. You should know that this step is not compulsory. But, if you are working on a high-pile carpet or if the carpet is damaged or uneven, then this step becomes compulsory.

The subfloor will help the laminate floor stick and stay strong on the carpet. For the subfloor, you can use thin plywood planks.

Asides from helping the laminate floor to stick well, the subfloor or underlayment also acts as a sound barrier to prevent knocking sounds every time you walk on the floor.

If you can’t install a subfloor, there are laminate floor pads or underlayment that you can use. The underlay comes in ready-to-use sheets that you can just spread over the carpet.

5. Install The Laminate Flooring

Install The Laminate Flooring

This next step is like arranging a puzzle. The laminate boards should be installed on the carpet or subfloor in a way that there will be no space between each plank. The laminate planks are usually designed with locks that can be fixed together to make a sturdy floor.

You should start laying the boards from the longest part of the floor and ensure that the end joints of the planks are tightly fixed.

After setting the boards, you should tap them lightly with a rubber mallet or hammer so the boards sit tightly on the floor. You usually don’t need any glue for this.

6. Trim and Finish The Laminate Board

Trim and Finish The Laminate Board

After applying the laminate flooring, you’ll need to trim edges, especially those around the corners. If you don’t do this, then the doors and wall fittings might not stay as they were.

When the floor is completely covered and everything fits in place, you have completed the task. You can then choose if to polish the laminate floor or not.

What Should I Put Between Carpet and Laminate?

You should put an underlay or subfloor between the carpet and the laminate flooring. The subfloor can be made using thin sheets of plywood or regular boards.

You can also purchase ready-to-use laminate floor underlay, sheets, or padding. These are roll-on sheets that are usually sold in yards. You can lay the laminate underlay directly on the carpet before applying the laminate floor.

The purpose of the underlay between the carpet and the laminate floor is to provide proper adhesion for the laminate planks to the floor.

The underlay also serves as a barrier to stop moisture and filth from the carpet from affecting the laminate floor. If you are working on an old, damaged, or high-pile carpet, you have to use an underlay or subfloor. Thin carpets can do without it.

How Long Does Laminate Flooring Last Over Carpet?

Laminate floors last about 10 years on carpets. But, you should know that how long the laminate floor will last depends on the type of carpet and the way the laminate floor was applied.

On low-pile and thin carpets, laminate floors can last up to 15 years if properly applied. On thick and high-pile carpets, laminate floors generally don’t last more than 5 years as the floor will begin to develop cracks and spaces quickly.

You should also know that the condition of the carpet matters. If you apply a laminate floor on an old carpet, the floor will not last long regardless of how well you apply it. This is because the carpet will get ruined quickly underneath the floor and this can cause bumps in the laminate floor.

Final Words

In summary, laminate floors can be applied over a carpet but the possibility and success of the task depend largely on the type of carpet.

Laminate floors will work on thin and low-pile carpets because these carpets are sturdy enough to provide a suitable base for the laminate floor. High-pile carpets on the other hand are too flexible and soft to be an underlay for laminate floor.

You should also remember that an underlay or subfloor will help the laminate floor perform better on the carpet.

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