Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice among homeowners for its ease of installation, hence the temptation to take the shorter route and install it over laminate flooring. I understand that whether you can install Vinyl Plank Flooring over laminate flooring is a matter of concern that requires your attention.
So, can you install vinyl plank flooring over laminate flooring? Technically, you can install vinyl plank flooring over laminate flooring. However, this is not advisable given the differences in material properties and installation processes. These differences will affect the final aesthetic of your floor depending on the state of the laminate flooring.
Remodeling your bathroom or kitchen with vinyl flooring is an excellent idea, given its affordability and durability. However, if you already have laminate flooring in your space and do not want to remove it, I will help you understand whether this is prudent or not.
Vinyl plank and laminate flooring feature different materials and installation techniques and putting one over the other will result in an uneven and unprofessional finish. Also, vinyl plank flooring is flexible and should go over solid flooring.
Putting it over uneven underlay like laminate flooring, probably swollen due to water absorption, will reduce its overall span. Thus, as much as possible, remove the laminate first before installing a vinyl plank.
Before I delve into why you should not install vinyl plank flooring over laminate flooring, let us understand vinyl flooring and how it works. Vinyl plank flooring combines PVC and other stabilizers that enhance its durability, enabling it to withstand lots of pressure.
These materials are compressed together into planks, made up of several layers. The bottom features a waterproof backing that protects it against mildew and mold. The next layer is the core, which is strong but flexible.
On top of the core is a digital image that enhances its appearance, making it look like a stone or wood floor. The top features a clear layer, resistant to stains and scratches. This layer protects the plank, enhances durability, and makes it easy to clean. Its finish is also non-slip to enhance safety.
On the other hand, unlike vinyl plank, laminate flooring is less durable. If the place you want to install it is high traffic, it will wear down in the areas with high traffic, creating an uneven surface. This uneven surface will hinder installing new flooring on top, especially vinyl plank flooring, as it will not lie flat above it.
Old laminate can also shift, causing gaps between individual tiles. Also, while most laminate floors are water-resistant, they are not waterproof. If you have this flooring in areas with too much water flow like the kitchen and bathroom, it will absorb moisture, swell and become uneven.
Given the differences between vinyl plank flooring and laminate flooring, installing the former over the latter will result in an uneven floor, as the vinyl planks may not lock properly. Also, there may be gaps, and the planks may not meet the walls uniformly, resulting in an unprofessional look.
Given that laminate is not waterproof, there is a higher risk of mold and mildew growth when installing vinyl planks over laminate, especially in your kitchen or bathroom where there is frequent water flow. Mold can also occur if you accidentally trap moisture between the two floorings or there is a gap in between that allows water to get in.
Finally, you should consider that most laminate floors are floating. This means that they do not directly attach to the subfloor underneath to allow room for expansion and contraction with temperature changes.
To ensure the durability of your vinyl plank flooring, it is advisable to install it over a solid and stable floor. Putting vinyl plank flooring over uneven laminate flooring will move the floating laminate, causing unnecessary wear and reducing its lifespan. Therefore, if you have floating laminate flooring, you will attain better results if you remove it first since it is easy to pull up.
Can Luxury Vinyl Plank Be Installed on Uneven Floors?
Vinyl flooring should be your go-to if you are looking for a durable and budget-friendly flooring option. The good news is that this flooring is easy to install, and you can do it yourself. However, to ensure a clean finish, you should understand the type of floors compatible with this flooring.
Generally, installing vinyl plank flooring over uneven flooring is not advisable. However, installation is possible with a few adjustments if your floor is slightly uneven. This is so since vinyl planks are sturdy and give your floor full coverage, making it appear more even.
Vinyl plank flooring requires an even and debris-free floor, even with the needed allowance. If your floor is slightly uneven, clean it to remove all debris before starting the installation. A floor is uneven if it has bumps, plunges, and gaps surpassing 3/16 inches per ten feet radius. On such a floor, vinyl plank flooring will be impossible, and forcing it will cause faster wear and damage, hence economically imprudent.
Since a level floor is a top requirement for professional vinyl plank flooring, you should level your floor as the first step before installation. Leveling your floor will ensure the planks join tightly with each other leaving no gaps in between. The flooring planks will also last longer as there is no water seepage.
To install vinyl plank flowing over a slightly uneven floor, start by preparing the floor. If your floor is concrete, find the voids and bumps and grind the bumps. You can then use the compounding from the high levels and bumps to fill the voids for an even floor then clean the floor.
If the floor is wooden, use plywood to cover it and leave about ¼ inch between the joints and wall, then secure the plywood. Equally, locate the high and low spots on the floor and, using a hand sander, sand down the higher areas and fill the lower areas using a leveling compound.
Once your floor is ready, remove the baseboards, base shoe, and doorcase moldings, then clean the floor again. This second cleaning is to remove dust, debris, and dirt. Depending on your flooring plan, measure the length and width of the room to know how many planks will fit the room, and cut your planks according to these measurements. Next, install your planks, leaving the recommended spaces between the wall and joints, and reinstall the baseboards once done.
If your floor is very uneven, you should not install vinyl plank flooring, as it will only last a short while. Instead, consider laminate flooring planks or tiles. Laminate flooring is ideal for its flexibility and is adjustable with an uneven floor.
Other options you can explore are vinyl planks, vinyl sheets, carpet, and linoleum. A carpet is ideal for uneven flooring as you can bend, fold, or buckle it the way you want. This material will conform to your ground, with plush carpets creating an even look by hiding the unevenness on your floor.
Linoleum is similar to vinyl but more difficult to cut. This material is available in sheets and tiles and will work best with uneven floors. Despite its vulnerability to water, it is water-resistant as long as you install it correctly.
Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Go Under Cabinets?
The decision to install vinyl plank flooring under cabinets varies among individuals, with some having it under and others around their cabinets. Each of these options has its pros and cons, thus I will explore each of them to enable you to make a decision.
Installing vinyl plank flooring cabinets under your cabinets is possible, but this depends on the installation method. There are two methods of installation, click and glue-down installation. Your vinyl planks will be floating on the subfloor in the click installation and require space to expand and contract with temperature changes.
Installing heavy cabinets on top will inhibit this process, damaging the locking systems. With the glue-down method, you can install it under cabinets as the planks are glued on the floor and will not vary its size with temperature changes.
While the method of vinyl plank flooring installation dictates whether or not it can go under cabinets, individuals may want to install their floor under cabinets for other personal benefits. First, installing this flooring under cabinets has an aesthetic appeal with the floor extension.
For instance, you will not need to hide the transition strips junctions. However, the aesthetic of either option is a personal choice and weighing what works best for you vis a vis its limitations is ideal.
Another benefit is that you need to measure the correct height for the appliances you intend to fit in the cabinets. Installing the cabinets before the floor covering may cause the appliances not to fit in the allocated spaces due to the high floor.
This is common in DIY projects due to poor estimations. However, this is not an issue if you have the right measurements, including the appliance height, vinyl thickness, underlayment thickness, and gap size.
It will be easy to install the cabinets to accommodate them with these measurements. However, you are likely to have some challenges if you replace one of your appliances in the future. Installing the floor after the cabinets may also damage the cabinets, but this does not dismiss the fact that cabinets too can damage the floor. Hence, you should be careful in both cases to avoid unnecessary losses.
On the other hand, there are certain limitations to installing the floor under cabinets. First, vinyl flooring will last up to fifteen years. This means that the cabinets will outlive your floors, forcing you to change the floor to renovate your room. This renovation will be challenging, forcing you to dig under the cabinets to remove the floor.
The other challenge with installing vinyl flooring under cabinets is the risk of water leakage. Despite being waterproof, vinyl planks are made of synthetic material, and water seepage around the floor edges can seep underneath, causing mold to grow.
As I stated earlier, the installation method is one of the limitations when installing vinyl plank flooring under cabinets. Floating floors need room to move, explaining the ¼- ½ inch between the vinyl and wall.
The planks will also contract and expand, and the above gap will provide room for expansion, preventing pressure against the wall. Failure to install the planks correctly and denying them room to move will cause buckling and lift the entire floor.
The result will be permanent damage to the vinyl plank flooring. Thus, while a gap between the wall and edge will work, installing this flooring under cabinets still has its limitations where the floor part is pinned and lacks movement space. This scenario does not occur with furniture, as they are free-standing, allowing some movement.
With the above information in mind, it is advisable not to install vinyl plank flooring around rather than under kitchen cabinets, as it could damage your new floor. Thus, if you plan to extend your flooring under cabinets, consider installation through the locked system than click or floating.
Fixing the planks on the floor will curb the expansion and contraction issues, and your planks will not buckle with temperature changes. Even then, you should note that water damage is a possibility if water seeps and accumulates beneath the planks. Floor replacement will also be challenging with the cabinets in place.
Renovating your floor with vinyl flooring is ideal given its ease of use, durability, and affordability. However, while you may strive to save on costs, installing these planks over your existing laminate floor is a bad idea.
The two flooring options have different materials and installation techniques and removing the laminate floor beforehand is advisable. If your floor is uneven, level it beforehand since vinyl plank flooring requires an even floor for installation. For very uneven floors, consider alternatives such as carpets or laminate.
Finally, consider the installation technique if you want to install your vinyl flooring under your cabinets. Putting heavy cabinets under floating vinyl planks flooring is unwise, as it will deny the planks space to expand and contract, resulting in buckling and damage. However, if you glue down your planks, then they can go under your cabinets but brace yourself for the renovation challenges when the time comes.