Can You Put Laminate Flooring Over Old Hardwood Floors?

We all love watching interior designers pull up the flooring to reveal the original hardwood material underneath. However, what if you've moved into a home with unappealing hardwood that you just want to get rid of? The process of removing hardwood flooring is known as one of the most laborious and difficult home projects. There are multiple steps to follow as well as a variety of tools you'll need to get the job done. Not to mention that it can also be a costly endeavor, with some homeowners paying as much as $865 for removal, plus the cost of new flooring.

But, is it possible to cover up your old hardwood with laminate flooring? It's durable, affordable, comes in a variety of styles, and is easy to install. This material has become a popular choice across the home design industry, and we'll reveal whether or not it's the solution you've been searching for.

When you can cover hardwood

The quick answer is yes — you can install laminate flooring over your hardwood floors. It's typically an easy project, but that also depends on what you're dealing with. Usually, homeowners can lay laminate flooring right over their hardwood if there is a built-in underlayer. If not, you'll first have to put down and tape an underlayment to the hardwood before installing your choice of laminate material. 

However, if your hardwood flooring is a bit dinged up, you'll have to ensure there are no nails or fasteners poking out, and you'll need to sand down any boards that are bending or uneven. Additionally, if you decide to move and have potential buyers who prefer hardwood, the laminate flooring can easily be removed without damaging the surface underneath. If you need a quick, affordable, and stylish method to elevate your home, laying down a fresh layer of laminate flooring may just do the trick.

Reasons not to add laminate flooring to hardwood

Although laying down laminate flooring over old hardwood can be an easy fix, sometimes it's impossible depending on the state of the material. If your hardwood has been damaged by water or has mold growing on it, it's recommended to strip out the old boards and replace them with something new. Everything needs a strong foundation, and it wouldn't be ideal to secure laminate materials over moldy hardwood.

Additionally, there are a plethora of other issues to look out for, such as uneven flooring. If this is something you've noticed, your hardwood will have to be removed in order to investigate any issues with the sub-flooring and joists. It's important to take a look at this issue before installing new materials, as it could indicate a more serious problem or structural issues, which can happen if a residence has sunken into the ground over time. When this occurs, it's important to call a professional to inspect the severity of the damage.