Can I Use Carpet as Underlay for Laminate Flooring?


The tough exterior layer and resin coating of laminated floors make them very durable. This type of flooring lasts between 15 and 25 years. Laminated flooring also endures exposure to high heels, cats, dogs, and even kids. They are also easier to clean than carpets and less likely to experience weather damage. These features and their other benefits make them a favorite among homeowners. Have you decided to switch up your carpeted floors for laminated flooring? If so, be careful to install your laminate floors properly to get the most performance and longevity out of your new floors.

Consider the Carpet Pile Thickness

The type of carpet already in use will determine if removal is necessary before installing laminate floors. Carpets are generally categorized as high-pile, medium pile, or low-pile. Low-pile carpets, usually less than a quarter-inch in height, are those commonly utilized in hotel rooms, air and bus aisle ways, and for other commercial applications. If your carpet is low-pile and is generally flat and in good condition, your laminate can be properly installed on top of the existing floors. It is important to remember that a high quality underlayment will still better serve your flooring than low-pile carpet overall.

Medium-pile carpets are usually between a quarter-inch and a half-inch in thickness. High-pile carpets are thicker, from half-inch to ¾ inch in thickness. Medium and high-pile carpets are mostly used as plush flooring in living rooms and bedrooms of residential homes. These types of carpets should not have laminated floors installed over them as they will not provide enough stability to support your floor. Their thickness will affect the locking systems between individual planks, making the floor uneven or can result in damage as well.

Can I lay Laminate Flooring on Carpet Underlay?

Another question you have probably considered is, can you lay laminate flooring on top of carpet underlay? The carpet underlay usually acts as a shock absorber and enables carpets to recover or bounce back when exposed to footfall and heavy wear. The underlay will therefore prevent your pile from becoming flat and help your carpet look presentable for a longer duration.

Although you may try to reduce your expenses by using the carpet underlay for your laminated floors, this is harmful in the long-term. When you are removing the carpet, you must remove everything until you reach the sub-floor. This removal is because the carpet underlay is too thick to properly support the newly installed laminate.

In general, the underlay for laminate flooring is between 1mm and 3mm thick, while most carpet underlays are around 8mm to 10mm thick. This thick padding would not offer proper support to the laminated floors, possibly damaging your floors. The added height will interfere with the interlocking of the individual laminate planks, leading to a poor fit or a short-lived floor finishing.

To ensure that the laminated floors can be correctly installed, both the carpet and carpet underlay should be removed, and the sub-floor should be smooth and free of debris. Removing all of these will give your laminate flooring a smooth and seamless surface.

Can I Use Carpet Under Vinyl Flooring

Installing vinyl floors is also common as this flooring is durable, comfortable, and easy to install and clean. Vinyl floors are also good for homes with heavy foot traffic. The vinyl reduces noises, which can be a great advantage for large families with kids and pets. Nonetheless, the great question is, can you use carpet underlay under vinyl flooring?

As carpet underlays are generally thicker than what is needed, reaching up to 10 mm in thickness, it would not be advisable to install vinyl over it. Having this thick underlay under the vinyl will make the flooring unstable. Reusing your carpet underlay will make the floor too bouncy; hence it will not be stable when placing your vinyl tiles. Luxury Vinyl planks click-lock systems will also be jeopardized with too much cushion.

You can have an underlay used for your vinyl floors. Having the appropriate vinyl underlayment can help eliminate noise, provide a cushion to the floor, add thermal properties, and provide moisture protection to your floors, making them more durable. However, the appropriate thickness for this underlay is 2mm or less. This thickness ensures that the vinyl can properly interlock during installation.

Final Considerations

Instead of trying to save a little money in the short-term and risking all of your hard work installing a new floor, take the time to do it right. Remove the carpet and carpet underlay and install the proper underlay for the type of flooring you are installing. You will appreciate the long-lasting durability and esthetic appeal that your new floors will add to your home or business.

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