Are you looking to improve your floor décor by installing beautiful laminate floorboards but are put off by the idea of having to remove your existing concrete flooring? Well, worry not, you can simply lay the laminate flooring over the concrete surface.
You can lay laminate planks over various concrete surfaces, including on a concrete basement, on a concrete subfloor, or concrete stairs/steps.
We discuss the proper process for doing the same in the section below, as well as a guideline on how flat your concrete floor should be before laying laminate flooring over it.
How do I lay laminate flooring on concrete?
The steps detailed below will guide you on how to properly install laminate flooring over concrete:
1. Acclimatize the laminate floorboards to the room
After purchasing your laminate planks, you should store them in the room in which they are to be installed for up to 72-hours before proceeding with installation. This allows enough time for the planks to acclimatise to the room’s humidity and temperature.
2. Prep the sub-floor
Before you lay your laminate floor boards over the existing subfloor, you’ll want to ensure that the concrete surface is clean, dry, cured and level. For instance, we wouldn’t recommend installing laminate flooring over new concrete subfloor that’s less than a month old; as this is the duration it typically takes for concrete to cure properly.
Also, a dry concrete surface helps prevent warping and bubbling of the laminate planks. You can measure how wet/dry your concrete surface is before laminate installation by using a concrete moisture kit.
Meanwhile, you can rid the surface of dirt and debris by sweeping it or vacuuming it. Finally, you need to check how level the concrete surface is using a long level. Any variances higher than 3/16th of an inch for every 10-feet isn’t good for laminate installation and will have to be fixed using a concrete grinder.
The grinder also works to smoothen the concrete surface, as laminate planks don’t install well on rough surfaces. The troughs, meanwhile, can be filled in using levelling compound.
3. Install Underlayment
The main problem with a concrete subfloor is that it’s prone to moisture problems, due to its porous structure. As such, you need to install underlayment material to act as a vapor barrier before laying down your laminate planks. Failure to do so will lead to increased chances of structural issues like warping in the future. Some of the materials that we’d recommend as an underlayment for effective moisture proofing include foam barriers, vinyl-backed underlayment, and cork underlayment.
4. Install the laminate planks
After preparing the concrete subfloor and installing a vapour barrier, it’s now time to lay down your laminate flooring over the surface. Most commercially available floating laminate floor boards boast a click-lock system, whereby the tongues and grooves on the planks are matched during installation.
It’s advisable to start installing from the farthest corner in the room. Also, ensure to leave a ¼-inch gap along all edges of the room as you install the floor boards. The gap is meant to facilitate plank expansion. The other thing you’ll want to consider is staggering the planks as you install them for better structural support. Finally, cut and shape the last plank in each row you lay down to fit the remaining space.
What do I need to lay laminate flooring on concrete?
To properly install laminate flooring over concrete, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:
- Laminate floorboards– this is the main supply for this project and you need to buy 10% more planks than you’d calculated for your room area to cover for wastage.
- Underlayment– you should purchase quality underlayment that will effectively keep off moisture from affecting your flooring.
- Construction accessories– these may include measurement tools and cutting tools like a tape measure, a pencil, a saw, and a rubber mallet.
- Trowel- for applying leveling compound during the subfloor preparation stage.
- Personal protective equipment– a safety helmet, a pair of hand gloves, and safety goggles should always be part of your safety apparel for every DIY construction project you undertake.
Can you put laminate flooring directly on concrete?
While you can install laminate flooring directly on top of your concrete surface- it isn’t advisable. This is because concrete is porous and will soak up moisture, leading to vapor damage on your laminate planks. Instead, we’d recommend installing underlayment to act as a vapor barrier between the concrete subfloor and the laminate floorboards.
Can you install laminate flooring on uneven concrete?
You should totally avoid installing laminate floor boards over a concrete surface that’s not level, as this will trigger structural issues. For instance, the laminate planks may start warping whenever you step on boards above a humped up spot on the concrete subfloor beneath it.
What’s more, you’re bound to hear irritating noises every time you step on laminate flooring that was installed on uneven concrete. This is because the high and low points in the concrete subfloor create air pockets, which then produce the loud ‘pop’ sounds when pressure is applied from above. The best way to go about this- then- is to first off level the concrete surface for fast and quality installation.
How flat does concrete floor need to be for laminate?
There shouldn’t be any variance exceeding 3/16th of an inch for every 10 feet of floor space. If this is the case, you’ll have to level your concrete surface by sanding the high spots and filling in the low spots. The respective tools for doing so are a concrete sander and a cement-based leveling compound.