Can You Install Vinyl Flooring Over Laminate Flooring: Learn the Truth

You think that you don’t have the time or budget to remove your old laminate flooring. A fast, simple solution is essential for floors. Is there another way to handle it? Well, there are options, but that doesn’t mean they’re good choices. Luckily, I have some tips to help you restore your floor in a way that not only looks nice but lasts. Vinyl flooring is a superb option for a fast, simple fix. Done correctly, it will give the whole room a new feel, plus you have lots of variety and options with vinyl that don’t exist with other materials.

Can you install vinyl flooring over laminate flooring? You can install vinyl flooring over laminate flooring, but you shouldn’t. Sadly laminate flooring is a free-floating style. That means it’s not attached, and you should only place vinyl on a stable, well-attached surface like concrete or wood. 

Why Laminate Is the Wrong Base for Vinyl

Sure, you can lay vinyl over laminate, but you can also lay saran wrap over a puddle. The point is that a thin veneer of shiny waterproof coating won’t stop one of the biggest problems with laminate flooring. Essentially, vinyl is outstanding at being waterproof when laid correctly. Alternately, laminate does very badly with water.

Typically laminate flooring consists of melamine sheet on both sides of an MDF core. In short, it soaks up water. Moreover, laminate can more than double in size when swollen with water. When combined with vinyl, that might seem, on the surface, to be the perfect way to keep your under layer dry, but in reality, it causes two huge problems.

First, vinyl isn’t a perfect seal. It’s waterproof, but there are seams. So not only will water get under it, but it will then be trapped inside. Secondly, if the laminate begins to swell from moisture, even a little, it will warp your vinyl. The combination is pretty much perfect for ruining both layers with one small spill.

Laminate is Not Fixed

Most laminate floors are not glued down. Unlike the solid base you need for vinyl, laminates aren’t even supposed to be attached. Professional companies recommend against it. Instead, the pieces interlock and hold each other in place. Hence laminate flooring is inexpensive, easy, and fast to put together.

Vinyl needs a solid surface to stick onto. The goal is to attach it solidly. Hence laminate is about the worst possible choice to place your new vinyl tiles on top of out of all the flooring surfaces available.

Once you have the right surface, you can consider creative and beautiful vinyl options like the FloorPops FP2484 Sienna from Amazon. These gorgeous, and easy to lay vinyl tiles create a rug like visual effect. You’ll be thrilled with how sleek, yet homey your floor looks using FloorPops. Check prices and availability right here.

How to Remove Laminate Flooring Quickly

Gluing laminate down isn’t advisable, so instead of putting your vinyl on top of it, pull it up. Unfortunately, some people will still use glues to make the boards stick together or to the floor. In this case, I recommend a good glue remover.

You can buy spray bottles of specific flooring glue remover. However, white spirits work just as well in a pinch. Luckily, most of the time, you won’t need to worry about laminate glue. Moreover, you can even save your laminate boards for use elsewhere, or sell them to cover part of the cost of your new vinyl floors.

Prying up the first board is the hardest. First, remove any baseboards that overlap your flooring with a hammer. Work in sections and loosen the baseboard all the way from end to end before pulling it off altogether to avoid cracking. You’ll want those boards for later.

Next, use a crowbar or hammer to loosen the first board. I recommend working from one corner or wall outward. The process is reasonably quick. After that, you merely need to take the boards to the trash, or dump. Similarly, you can bag them up and take pictures for resale. Craigslist or eBay are great places to move old, but still in good condition, laminate flooring fast.

You can keep the wood-look of those troublesome laminate tiles, but upgrade to high quality, waterproof vinyl instead. I suggest CO-Z Odorless Vinyl Floor Planks. Ditch the hassle and enjoy the stunning, warm, textured look of wood. Plus, they’re environmentally friendly, and like all peel and stick vinyl tiles, super easy to apply. To learn more about CO-Z on Amazon, click here

Installing Vinyl Flooring Properly

Installing vinyl flooring, not over your old laminate flooring, isn’t difficult. I’ll walk you through the steps so you can see how simple it is. First, remove any furniture and measure the room to determine how much vinyl tile you need.

Add about three inches to each measurement before doing the math, so you have enough. Extra is fine, but not enough is always a problem. You don’t want your home improvement store or vinyl seller to run out of the color you need.

Next, remove any baseboards, and make sure your subfloor surface is level. Once you know you have a smooth, flat surface to work on, the process is easy. You can use glue, but I’d recommend peel and stick tiles instead. They are much easier to work with for a DIYer, and since they don’t require any drying time, your floor will be done as soon as you lay the last tile and replace the baseboards.

Lay Vinyl Tiles

Pick up your tiles of choice. Lay them out beginning in the center, or on one wall. Doing this will allow you to mark any pieces that need cutting to fit. Then you cut your tiles with heavy shears or a utility knife. I suggest doing this part on a heavy-duty cutting board or outdoors, so you don’t slice into your floor.

Finally, peel the backing off of each tile as you place it. Do not peel in advance since the adhesive will stick wherever you set the tiles down. Hence, this won’t make the process faster and may cause damage or lost materials. You can save the extra pieces for another project, resell them or dispose of them.

It’s so simple to get a classy stone tile look with DIY vinyl flooring. I love the Achim Imports FTVGM32745 Tivoli Marble Blocks I got from Amazon. They’re high gloss, with no wax, which is a bonus. Plus, they gave my floor an earthy yet perfectly finished look that is so easy to clean. You can get these Tivoli Marble Blocks for your floor right here

Rolls of Vinyl Flooring

If you prefer to work with a solid sheet of vinyl flooring, the process is a little more complicated. I don’t suggest this for first-timers. However, if you have some experience with vinyl floor laying, then you should have no trouble placing vinyl flooring as a solid sheet.

Patient and determined DIYers can pull off this method, even without experience. The first few steps are the same. You need to measure and acquire the flooring of your choice. Removing your baseboards and leveling the floor is next.

For those who have never leveled a floor, you’ll need a level to check the evenness. You will also need a patching compound and a trowel. Depending on your subfloor, you may need cement or other patching material. The trick is to make sure every part of your floor is smooth and flat.

Take your time and be patient. Follow all the directions for mixing your patch material, and don’t skip any cracks. Typically this compound will need about a day to dry. I do not recommend laying flooring over the wet mixture. Additionally, it’s a terrible idea to start this project when the weather is unusually damp. This will interfere with proper drying

Roll Out Your Vinyl

The process for rolls of vinyl flooring is very similar to using individual tiles. You lay it out and mark your areas to cut. Then you make your cuts. You can use craft paper as a template to get the cuts exact. Unlike peel-and-stick, you’ll need adhesive for this method.

Use a trowel to create a six to eight-inch layer of your adhesive along the wall. You don’t need to glue the whole floor down. You can wrap a piece of wood in some soft cloth and use it to knock your edges into place without scratching or denting the vinyl.

Follow the directions on your adhesive to get the appropriate thickness. Also, check the drying time on your glue and stay off the floor until it’s completely ready.

Final Thoughts

Although it’s possible, and not at all hard to place vinyl flooring over laminate flooring, the problems are many. Unfortunately, making things look nice isn’t the same as building to last. Covering up a problem is a cheap, dirty trick. Plus, it only causes a different issue that will cost you more in the long run.

Skip the cheater solutions, and do the job right.  Removing laminate is much faster and simpler than most people think. Plus, anyone who knows what to look for will see when the vinyl isn’t set on an adequately affixed surface. Selling a home with poorly done floors, when you knew they were a problem, can come back to bite you. Moreover, living in a house with improper flooring is potentially hazardous.

Rather than cheating yourself out of a good floor, take the extra time. You’ll love laying your new vinyl floors, and they’ll last much longer when you do it right.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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