Can laminate be installed on top of an existing floor?

Can laminate be installed on top of an existing floor?

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The short answer to this question is ‘yes’.

But, there are a few things you need to consider before you go ahead and install laminate over your existing flooring.

The type of flooring you are laying laminate over is very important, as not every surface is made equal. As a rule of thumb, if your existing flooring is level and smooth, laminate can easily be laid over top. This rules out brick, carpet and natural stone floors.

More uniform flooring like concrete, vinyl, tile and plywood, are all easy to lay laminate over, but you will need to make sure an underlay has gone down before laying your new floor.

What is a laminate underlay?

A laminate underlay is basically a thin, flexible and soft layer of cushioning that is laid between the sub-floor/existing flooring and the laminate. The most common types of underlay are foam, rubber or felt.


Read: Everything you need to know about laminate underlays


Why do I need to use a laminate underlay?

Underlays are essential when installing laminate flooring over a sub-floor, or existing floor like tiles. Not only does an underlay improve the look and quality of the finished laminate, but it acts as a barrier between the laminate and the flooring, creating a perfectly level surface and protecting the laminate from any damage. Most importantly, it protects from any moisture that might come through from the sub-floor, particularly from a concrete slab.

Underlays also absorb sound when you walk on the laminate and act as insulation, all making for a great under-foot feel.

Which laminate underlay is best?

There are a few major factors to consider when choosing the right underlay.

  • What is your existing flooring made of?
  • Does your laminate come with inbuilt underlay or does it need to be purchased separately?
  • What sort of noise reduction and insulation do you want?
  • What is your budget?

It is all important when making the decision on what underlay to choose.

Rubber underlays are the most popular and universal. They are hardy, breathable and have a bit of bounce to them, making your floor a lot softer under your feet. But, rubber can tend to be a bit more on the wallet.

For a cheaper alternative, consider a foam underlay. These days, the quality of foam underlays is very comparable to rubber.

If you require more noise reduction and insulation, opt for the thick and heavy felt. Although it is the most expensive option and is most often used for commercial buildings, it is the best option for anyone looking for a high level of comfort, quiet and warmth.

If you are still unsure of what laminate flooring and underlay suits your needs best, head in to Parry’s to speak with one of our consultants.

Further reading about laminate flooring:

2020-08-05T01:37:33+08:00

About the Author:

Ian is a renowned floor covering expert in product knowledge and installation. He is specialized in all types of floor coverings for many years and his knowledge in the industry is exceptional. Feel free to ask Ian any floor covering question you may have.

10 Comments

  1. Anne Meadows July 21, 2020 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    my laminate flooring is under my skirtings boards. and i need to lay my new laminate can i lay it over the existing laminate as i cannot take them off

    • Ian Minotti August 19, 2020 at 12:12 am - Reply

      Hi Anne …
      You will only need a starting point to remove your existing laminate. Removing only one skirting is all that is needed and then you can start removing the old laminate board by board from there. There is no need to remove all skirting.
      The new laminate can slide under existing skirting making sure you leave around a 10mm gap between the boards and the wall.

  2. Anne Meadows July 21, 2020 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    can i lay my laminate over my existing laminate.

    • Ian Minotti August 19, 2020 at 12:10 am - Reply

      Hi Anne … basically – No!
      The old laminate must be taken apart and removed and start afresh with the new.

      • Ron Watt October 18, 2020 at 2:19 pm - Reply

        Is that a hard and fast rule?
        My old laminate is 15+ years old, perfectly installed, with no gaps or joints, and level…
        My new laminate and new baseboards, , on top on the old laminate would be ~flush with the adjoining tile.
        The current reducers are significant, and were a challenge to get right.

        If I proceed, should I use a premium underlay on top?

        • Ian Minotti October 21, 2020 at 2:59 pm - Reply

          Hi Ron, personally I would NOT lay a floating floor over the top of another floating floor. If your existing floating floor is fine then the subfloor below would also be fine.
          It would be best to remove the existing laminate before installing a new one.

  3. Nicola October 29, 2020 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian,

    We want to lay new laminate ourselves throughout our whole downstairs, pretty confident in our DIY to this extent. However, in our hall and entryway there are tiles, and laminate through the rest of the downstairs.
    We are happy to take up the existing laminate but really don’t want to take up the tiles as this will be a much bigger job! So our idea was to lay laminate (with underlay etc) on top of the tiles. However, we don’t want to be left with a little ‘step’ between the tile covered laminate, and the ‘straight on the ground laminate.
    Do you have any tips on how to avoid having this? Would putting down a few layers of underlay help/work?

    • Ian Minotti October 30, 2020 at 9:35 am - Reply

      Hi Nicola … unfortunately the height difference does cause a problem where the tiles meet the subfloor after you have taken up the laminate.
      Just remember you are adding the height of laminate and underlay on top of your tiles (approx 10mm +) if you leave the tiles down.
      If you do lay them on top of the tiles you will have to have a transition trim between the height difference.
      By having more underlay underneath the laminate to raise the height sometimes does not work because it becomes too spongy … but you can give it a go. Rubber underlay would work better than foam.
      Regards

  4. Ming November 6, 2020 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Hello Ian,
    Poor me, I have slate on concrete floor so is it possible at all to have laminate on it ? I hear that it is not possible without jackhammering them out! I hope this isn’t true!

    Regards

    • Ian Minotti November 9, 2020 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Hi Ming
      Unfortunately slate is not a smooth surface to install new flooring on top. You have to either take it all up or have a flooring installer screed across the top of the slate surface to smooth it out.

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