Vinyl and laminate floors are similar in terms of their installation but can you install a vinyl floor over an existing laminate floor?
You can install vinyl flooring over a laminate floor as long as the existing laminate floor is strong, clean, and moisture-free. If the laminate floor is dented or has suffered water damage, it’s best not to install a vinyl floor over such a laminate floor as the planks would be weak.
However, you should know that it’s generally not advised to lay vinyl flooring over a laminate floor because laminate is a floating floor. This means that the laminate floor isn’t usually nailed to the subfloor and as such can’t provide a strong enough base for the vinyl flooring to sit on.
There is more to know about putting a vinyl floor over a laminate floor and this post reveals all. So, let’s dive in.
Does Vinyl Flooring Stick To Laminate?
Vinyl flooring sticks well to a laminate floor because vinyl floors are also floating floors. This means that vinyl flooring will stick and stay on any surface including a laminate floor as long as the surface is strong and even. So, vinyl flooring will stick to a laminate floor.
Like laminate floors, vinyl floors are also floating floors. A vinyl floor is an arrangement of vinyl planks using the tongue and groove locking mechanism on the sides and end of the vinyl planks.
These vinyl planks can be arranged on any flat and strong surface including subfloors, countertops, and laminate floors. As long as your laminate floor is even and strong, the vinyl planks can be arranged and locked on it to form a vinyl floor.
However, the fact that you can put a laminate floor over a laminate floor doesn’t mean that you should. So, should you install vinyl over laminate? Let’s find out.
Should You Lay Vinyl on Laminate?
It’s generally recommended not to put vinyl flooring over a laminate floor except you are working with sheet vinyl.
This is because laminate floors are often uneven and laying vinyl planks over an uneven base will cause the vinyl planks to separate and lift from the base over time. Vinyl sheets however are lighter and can be laid on the laminate planks as a carpet.
Also, laminate floors are usually installed on an underlayment or foam padding. This underlayment is usually not strong enough to support the weight of a laminate floor and a plank vinyl floor.
Putting vinyl flooring over a laminate floor is possible but not recommended. The main reason behind this is the fear that the laminate floor might not be strong enough to support the weight of a vinyl floor. Most people are usually deceived by the weight of vinyl planks and feel that the laminate floor will support the weight.
Ordinarily, the laminate floor is strong and will carry a vinyl floor. But when you add the extra weight of the household furniture, the weight of residents, stomping, and foot traffic, that’s so much weight for the laminate floor to support and the floor can give way causing the vinyl floor to crash with it.
Also, laminate floors are often uneven with raised planks and buckled spots. Putting a vinyl floor over an uneven laminate floor will cause the vinyl planks to also be uneven.
You should never install a vinyl floor on a damaged, weak, or waterlogged laminate floor or laminate floor with an underlayment. In such cases, it’s better to remove the laminate floor, prep the subfloor, and install the vinyl planks directly on the subfloor.
Pros of Laying Vinyl on a Laminate Floor
Here are the perks you’ll enjoy from putting vinyl flooring over a laminate floor:
- Putting vinyl over laminate is easier than removing the laminate planks first
- Vinyl floors are easy to clean and maintain
- The vinyl material will give the floor a new look
- This method of installing vinyl floors is cheaper as you don’t need much prep work on the subfloor
- Vinyl planks can be easily removed if you ever wish to go back to your laminate floor.
Cons of Laying Vinyl on a Laminate Floor
Here are some disadvantages you should consider before putting vinyl flooring over a laminate floor:
- Uneven laminate planks can cause problems in the vinyl floor
- Laminate planks with underlayment are usually not strong enough to support a vinyl floor
- Laminate floors are usually prone to water damage and a wet laminate floor will give way when made to support a vinyl floor
- Putting vinyl over laminate flooring might cause gaps in the vinyl floor, especially on old laminate floors
- If you put a vinyl floor over the laminate, damages, and spots on the laminate floor will be hidden.
You should also know that installing a vinyl floor over a laminate floor will increase your floor height by a few inches. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the height of residents and the current height of the floor.
Types of Laminate Floor To Not Put Vinyl Flooring On
You should never put a vinyl floor over the following types of laminate floors:
- The laminate floor outside – Never put a vinyl floor over outdoor laminate floor as the planks would have been weakened by exposure to rainfall and UV rays
- The Laminate floor beside the refrigerator or washing machine – such laminate floors would have experienced water damage
- High laminate floors – Putting a vinyl floor over a laminate floor will increase your floor height. If the laminate floor is already high, don’t put a vinyl floor over it.
Next, let’s check out the pros and cons of putting a vinyl floor over a laminate floor.
How To Lay Vinyl Flooring Over Laminate?
To install a vinyl floor over an existing laminate floor, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:
- A measuring tape
- A power saw
- Prying bar
- A pair of work gloves
- A floor vacuum
- A mop
- Chisel and a rubber mallet
Here is a 5-step guide to installing vinyl flooring over a laminate floor:
1. Remove All Items and Furniture on The Laminate Floor
The first step is to remove all the items and furniture on the laminate floor. This allows you to get unrestricted access to the laminate floor.
This also helps you to spot damaged and waterlogged areas on your laminate floor. Furniture, electronics, and tables should be moved to another room. Ensure to put on a pair of work gloves before doing this.
2. Inspect and Prep The Laminate Floor
After removing the items on the floor, you should prep the laminate floor to be a strong subfloor for the vinyl flooring. Use a broom or floor vacuum to get rid of dust and debris on the floor and then wipe the floor with a mop. Ensure to cover every corner of the floor. When the laminate is dry, inspect it.
Any signs of water damage, cracked or broken laminate should be fixed with compound before installing the vinyl flooring. Nail holes and splinters should be sanded to make them smooth and even with the rest of the laminate floor. If a laminate plank is damaged, replace it with a new one.
3. Take Your Measurements
The next step is to get accurate measurements of the length and width of the laminate floor. This helps you to know the size of vinyl planks or sheets that you’ll need on the laminate floor.
After taking the measurements, try to fit the vinyl on the floor without locking it in place. If the vinyl is longer than the required size, use a power saw to trim it to size. Vinyl sheets can be cut using scissors.
If it helps, you can number the vinyl planks with a pencil to know which order to arrange them. This makes your task easier and faster.
4. Install The Vinyl Planks or Sheet
The next step is to install the vinyl. You usually don’t need an underlayment on the laminate floor before installing the vinyl. You just need the laminate planks to be strong and even.
Start installing the vinyl planks from the large parts of the floor before covering the corners. For vinyl planks, you can use a rubber mallet to tap the planks into place. Also, ensure to fit the tongues and grooves of the vinyl correctly so the floor locks in place.
5. Leave The Vinyl Floor To Acclimate
The final step is to allow the vinyl floor to acclimate or adjust to the laminate floor. This will take 2-3 days. You should wait until the vinyl floor has acclimated before walking over it or moving furniture on it. This allows the vinyl floor to last longer.
Does Laminate Floor Have To Be Perfectly Level For Vinyl Plank Flooring?
The laminate floor has to be perfectly level for vinyl flooring because any bump or raise in the laminate floor will cause a corresponding lift on the vinyl flooring. Also, if the laminate floor isn’t perfectly level, the tongue and groove lock on the vinyl planks will not lock properly.
As explained earlier, you can install a vinyl floor over an existing laminate floor but the laminate floor has to be perfectly level for the vinyl planks to sit. Laminate planks sometimes lift and buckle especially when there is no gap between the laminate planks and the wall or when the laminate is exposed to water.
If the laminate planks are raised or uneven, the vinyl planks will suffer the same fate. Also, if you install a vinyl sheet over a raised laminate floor, the sheet will not be smooth. So always ensure the laminate floor is level before installing vinyl planks or sheets over it.
Next, let’s check out how to lay vinyl on a laminate floor.
How Long Does Vinyl Flooring Last on Laminate?
Vinyl floors last between 3 years and 15 years on a laminate floor. There is no specific time frame for a vinyl floor to last over a laminate floor. How long the vinyl floor will last on a laminate flooring depends on the condition of the laminate floor, the weight put on the vinyl floor, and the maintenance routine of the whole floor.
On busy floors that support heavy furniture like ground floors, a vinyl floor will not last very long on the laminate floor because the weight and foot traffic on the vinyl floor will be too much for the laminate planks to support. Eventually, the laminate floor underneath will separate causing the vinyl floor to crash.
On floors that don’t see much traffic or weight like bedroom floors, the vinyl flooring will last up to 10 years on the laminate floor. This is because the floor wouldn’t be under any intense pressure.
Also, if you maintain the vinyl floor properly by cleaning and wiping stains off of the floor, the vinyl floor will last longer. On a strong laminate floor, a well-maintained vinyl flooring can last well over 10 years.
Tips on Maintaining Vinyl Flooring Over Laminate
- Never leave water or drink spills on the vinyl floor. Wipe the spill immediately it happens
- Don’t put heavy furniture on the vinyl flooring
- Sweep and vacuum the vinyl floor regularly
- Use a mat or rubber fitting on the vinyl planks underneath the doors to prevent scratches and dents
- Don’t use harsh cleaning materials or chemicals on the vinyl flooring
- Provide a waterproof carpet on the vinyl floor.
Can You Put Luxury Vinyl Over Laminate?
You should not put luxury vinyl over a laminate floor because luxury vinyl planks are often heavier and thicker than regular vinyl planks meaning that the laminate floor will have to support more weight.
Also, luxury vinyl planks are usually designed with cork or foam underlayment that make the planks. The floor also has a high level of hardwood, tiles, and other materials in its formula causing the luxury planks to get higher and heavier on an existing laminate floor.
If you’ll like to install a luxury floor in your home, it’s better to install the luxury floor over a prepped subfloor or concrete base. A laminate floor will not be strong enough to support a luxury vinyl floor.
In summary, vinyl flooring can be installed over a laminate floor but the laminate floor has to be perfectly level to allow the vinyl planks to sit properly.
Also, remember not to put heavy furniture over the vinyl floor to prevent the laminate base underneath from separating.
If the laminate floor has an underlay or the planks are damaged, rotten, or cracked, it’s best to remove the planks before laying the vinyl floor.