When considering installing laminate flooring in your home, one of the first things you might wonder about is whether or not you can install it on top of your existing concrete floor.
Installing a laminate floor on top of a concrete subfloor doesn’t always result in a perfect finish. There is moisture in most concrete subfloors, and if it isn’t properly sealed, it can cause problems with your new laminate floor.
When installing a laminate floor on top of a concrete subfloor, you have two options: either overlay the concrete with plywood or level the concrete floor for laminate flooring to protect it from moisture and create a smooth surface for the laminate to rest on.
If you choose to level the concrete floor, read this article to learn how to level a concrete floor for laminate flooring. Hence, it provides the perfect foundation for your new flooring.
Usually, it would be better to hire a professional for this work. Still, if you’re good at DIY, you can level a floor yourself using the directions below. In some cases, however, you may need professional assistance if your home contains very high or low spots or if there is termite damage.
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Prepare the Room for Leveling Before you Begin
Before you begin leveling the concrete floor, you should prepare the room for leveling. There are a few things to accomplish, such as:
- Take out the Furniture and Appliances: If furniture or appliances are in your room, move them out so that you won’t be interrupted in leveling your floors.
- Clean the floor Thoroughly: Before leveling the floor, it is strongly recommended that you thoroughly clean the floor.
- Protect Your Walls From Liquid Concrete: To prevent damage to your walls, ensure you cover your walls with paper or disposable polythene before mixing liquid concrete on your floor.
- Make Use of Safety Measures: Finally, but most importantly, take safety precautions before working. Protect your eyes, face, and hands by wearing masks, gloves, and eyewear.
How to Level a Concrete Floor for Laminate Flooring?
Step 1: Gather All the Supplies Needed
The first step is gathering all the necessary materials and equipment for the job. Below you will find a list of all the required supplies. Don’t neglect these items; you may damage the floor if you don’t have them all on hand.
- Face mask and eye protection
- Concrete grinder
- Metal scraper tool
- Caulk & caulking gun
- 4 to 6-foot long level
- Masking tape
- Five-gallon bucket
- Concrete Mixer
- Concrete Self-Leveling Compound
- Long-handled squeegee
- Floor Roller
- Five-gallon bucket
Step 2: Grind All Bumps Away
The floor may have high spots that make it uneven. You must remove these high spots to make the floor look smooth and even.
You can use a concrete grinder to remove these rough high spots. When grinding or repairing a concrete floor, wear a respirator to protect yourself from concrete dust. A dust mask will not suffice, so you should use a dust collector if possible.
In addition, make sure you check the level of the concrete floor as you grind it.
Step 3: Repair All Cracks and Holes
Besides high spots, cracks and holes contribute to uneven subfloors. Consider using caulk or leveling compound to fill these cracks and holes. Once you have filled in all the holes and cracks with the compound, let it harden.
Don’t forget that it needs to be bone dry before you can proceed. If you proceed to the next steps without giving it enough time to dry, the moisture underneath the lamination can lead to mold and mildew growth.
Step 4: Seal All Openings
You should now check the leveling of the subfloor after grinding the high spots and filling the cracks and holes. If any imperfections remain, you should fix them.
Next, apply masking tape between the floor and walls to prevent leaks of the self-leveling compound. Ensure your wall is protected from being damaged by splashes of the self-leveling compound by placing a long piece of paper on it.
Step 5: Prepare The Primer and Apply It
As soon as you have finished covering your walls and openings, it’s time to apply a primer to ensure the best possible connection of the self-leveling compound to the concrete subfloor.
Mix the primer solution with half a bucket of water and apply it to the subfloor with a long-handled roller. Apply multiple layers of primer to ensure the best possible connection.
Step 6: Apply Self-Leveling Compound
Next, as a final step, add the self-leveling compound and water to a five-gallon bucket, and mix it well with a concrete mixer. Ensure you make the solution thicker and then pour it on the floor. Then, with a long-handled squeegee, spread it all over the floor and leave it to dry for 24 hours.
The next day, apply another layer of primer and repeat the same process, but do not thicken the self-leveling solution this time. Then roll it out with a roller to ensure it is spread across the entire floor even and smooth.
Step 7: Install the Lamination and Underlayment
Once the concrete floor is ready, you can install the beautiful laminate flooring. There is only one thing you need to do. Remove the masking tape and paper from the walls and openings after the floor has dried completely to get a smooth finish.
Do all laminate floors need underlayment?
No, not all laminate floors need underlayment. Only laminate floors installed on a concrete slab with high moisture content should be underlaid.
Also, many believe that laminate floors only need a single layer of underlayment, but this is not true. In reality, most laminate floors need two layers of underlayment to eliminate any possible squeaks or shifting.
The first layer of underlayment should be an adhesive-type material designed to adhere to the subfloor and laminate itself. The second layer should be a non-adhesive felt pad for noise reduction purposes. This type of pad does not have any adhesive properties, and it is used solely for soundproofing.
How do you fix an uneven concrete floor?
To level an uneven concrete floor, grind all bumps, fill cracks, and apply primer and self-leveling compound. To read a brief overview, please refer to the guide mentioned above.
Can you install laminate flooring on uneven concrete?
Installing laminate flooring on uneven concrete is possible, but it is not recommended. Many factors can contribute to uneven concrete. One of them is the level of moisture and the curing process. One way to balance this issue is using a concrete impregnator, which would not work if the slab absorbed too much moisture or dirt.
Bumps and cracks can also cause uneven concrete. You can fix this problem by leveling your floor. To do so, follow the step-by-step instructions above.
Does the floor have to be perfectly level for laminate?
No, the floor does not have to be perfectly level for laminate. The floor needs to be level enough, so there are no visible bumps and cracks or changes in height across the span of the laminate surface.
Read More on Laminate Floors
- Laying Laminate Flooring: 13 Common Mistakes to Avoid!
- Can I Use Laminate Flooring On Walls? (Installation Guide Included)
- Does Laminate Flooring Make your House Colder? (Explained)
- Can You Nail Down Laminate Flooring? (Answered)
- 9 Best Ways to Keep Rugs From Slipping on Laminate Floors (Must-Try!)