Vinyl and laminate are similar in terms of their installation and appearance. But, can you install vinyl flooring over laminate planks?
You can install vinyl flooring over laminate planks if the planks are strong, clean, and moisture-free (dry). However, if the planks are dented or waterlogged, you must replace them before laying the vinyl floor.
Also, since laminate is a floating floor, it’s not recommended to lay vinyl over it. That’s because a floating floor isn’t glued to the subfloor and won’t provide stability or a strong base for the new flooring.
Should You Do it?
Vinyl is a floating floor and will stick (stay) on all strong and even surfaces. Floating floors come with a tongue and groove locking mechanism on the sides. This locking mechanism holds the floor in one place.
However, it’s not recommended to put vinyl over laminate planks. That’s because laminate planks are often uneven and don’t provide a strong and even base for the vinyl. Also, the floor’s underlayment isn’t strong enough to support the weight of two planks. So, you can do it, but it’s not recommended.
But, you can use vinyl sheets instead of planks because they are lighter and can be laid on the floor as a carpet. Also, they won’t add extra weight to the underlayment since they are lighter.
- It’s easier to lay a vinyl sheet over it than to remove the laminate planks.
- The floor becomes easier to clean.
- The floor gets a new look.
- Cheaper alternative.
- You can easily remove the vinyl if you don’t like it.
- An uneven floor can cause problems with the vinyl flooring.
- Floors without an underlayment aren’t strong enough to withstand the extra weight.
- You might get gaps in the floor.
- Damaged spots on the floor will get hidden.
- The floor will get higher (by a few mm).
Types of Flooring To Avoid
The laminate flooring must be perfectly even and have no bumps or raise before you place vinyl flooring over it. If the floor has a bump and isn’t even, it will cause the flooring to lift, and the locking mechanism won’t lock properly.
Here are the floors you must avoid:
- Outdoor laminate floors are weakened by exposure to rainfall and other weather elements, so never put vinyl planks over them.
- Laminate planks near the refrigerator or washing machine are exposed to constant water and aren’t strong enough to support another floor.
- You should avoid installing a new floor over an already high floor. Doing this can make the floor height too high.
You should not put luxury vinyl over a laminate floor because they are heavier and thicker than regular vinyl planks. This means the laminate floor will have to support more weight.
Also, luxury vinyl planks are 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 them to get higher and heavier.
How To Lay Vinyl Flooring Over Laminate?
Installing vinyl flooring on laminate is easy as long as the floor is in good condition.
Here are the tools you need:
- A measuring tape
- A power saw
- Prying bar
- A pair of work gloves
- A floor vacuum
- A mop
- Chisel and a rubber mallet
1. Remove All Furniture
First, remove all the furniture and other objects from the floor. This gives you unrestricted access to the floor and allows you to see damaged and waterlogged planks.
2. Inspect and Prep The Floor
After removing the furniture, clean the floor. Cleaning will remove dust and debris that can prevent the new floor from sticking.
To clean the floor:
- Use a broom or vacuum to remove dust.
- Wipe the floor with a mop.
- For stubborn stains, use a floor cleaning detergent.
- Allow the floor to dry.
Once the floor is dry and clean, inspect it. If you notice cracked or broken planks, use a filling compound to fix them. If the crack is too large or the planks are waterlogged, it’s best to replace them because they can’t support a new floor. Nail holes and splinters must be sanded to be even with the rest of the flooring.
3. Take Your Measurements
Using a tape ruler measure the floor dimensions (width x length). This helps you to know the exact size of the vinyl flooring you need.
You can also lay the vinyl on the floor (without locking it) to know if you have the right size. If it’s longer, you must cut (or trim) it before locking it in place.
If it helps, you can number the 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
If the laminate floor already has a waterproof underlayment underneath, you don’t need to install an extra one. However, if it doesn’t have one, then install it.
Next, install the vinyl planks or sheets. We recommend using sheets instead of planks, but both will work.
To install vinyl planks:
- Start by laying them from the largest parts.
- Cover the corners.
- Ensure the locking mechanism is locked in place.
- Use a rubber mallet to tap the plank into place.
- Leave the floor to acclimate.
You must leave gaps between the planks so the floor can acclimate. If you don’t, the planks will crash into each other and start to lift (rise). It takes the acclimation process 2-3 days to complete. You shouldn’t use the floor until the acclimation is completed.
To install vinyl sheet:
- Put floor glue under the sheet and on the floor.
- Lay the sheet on the floor.
- Ensure there are no bumps and the sheet is laid perfectly even.
- Wait until the glue dries (2-3 days) before placing furniture over the floor.
How Long Will The Floor Last?
On average, vinyl flooring will last 5 years over a laminate floor. However, there isn’t a specific timeframe because it depends on the condition of the subfloor, underlayment, and laminate.
On busy floors, vinyl and laminate flooring won’t last long because it’s exposed to a lot of traffic. On average, it will last 3-5 years. For low-traffic floors, both floors will last more than 5 years. On floors exposed to constant water, such as bathrooms, both floors will last less than 3 years.
Also, if you maintain the floor properly by cleaning and wiping stains off, it will last longer. Here’s how to do it:
- Never leave water or drink spills on the floor. Wipe the spill immediately after it happens.
- Don’t put heavy furniture on the floor.
- Sweep and vacuum it regularly.
- Use a mat or rubber fitting underneath the doors to prevent scratches and dents.
- Don’t use harsh cleaning materials while cleaning it.
- Provide a waterproof carpet on the floor.
In summary, you can install a vinyl floor over strong and even laminate floors. However, if the laminate planks are damaged or not even, you can’t install vinyl over them. You also must repair or replace damaged planks.