Hot Topics: Installing Glueless Laminate Flooring Over Carpet

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Original Post: Can I Install Glueless Laminate Flooring Over Carpet?

girlmcguyvr Visiting Guest

I've got very thin (no shag) carpeting throughout the house that some moron glued down. Can I install a glueless laminate wood floor over the top or do I have to lose 10 pounds and a week of sun tanning tearing it up first?

twelvepole Member

Carpet is not a recommended substrate for laminate. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to avoid warranty issues.

Hellrazor Member

Rip the carpet out. If you install over it and drop something heavy, you will shatter the flooring because of the soft carpet underneath.

Idoitmyself Visiting Guest

I want to make it clear that I am a new, inexperienced user in this forum, so I'm not trying to dispute against any of the ideas regarding ripping out carpet before installing laminate. However, I've read from the Lowe's website the statement below:

"SwiftLock laminate flooring is appropriate for any room and can be installed over ceramic tile, concrete, well-bonded vinyl or board/ply underlayments. It can even be installed over short pile carpet that is less than 1/4" high and has no pad underneath."

Can anyone please confirm this?

doomer171 Visiting Guest

Actually, the above statement is correct. I have installed many laminate floors over short pile carpet. If you think about it, when you install a foam under the laminate, it's like short carpet. Can you imagine trying to pull up short pile carpet? Trust me, you will wish you would have left it. Typically, short pile carpet is stapled pretty much everywhere and also glued. I have pulled one up and vowed never to again−that's why I just leave it and install the "white" foam over it.

AzFred Visiting Guest

Idoitmyself and Doomer may cost you a lot of money with their incorrect advice. This kind of info is exactly why I contribute to flooring forums, to warn off bad ideas and help when I can. A floor installed over carpet may not fail, but if it does, the warranty will not help you find a free replacement.

twelvepole Member

Laminate manufacturers tend to have their own very specific instructions. These should be followed to a tee. Any violation of these instructions could void warranty and result in problems associated with improper installation. Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions carefully re: substrate preparation, acclimation of laminate, and installation procedures. If you have specific installation questions, contact your manufacturer. Do not depend upon the advice of well-meaning advisors. Read and follow the advice given by our in-house expert AzFred. AzFred is a long-time noted professional in the field of laminate installation.

doomer171 Visiting Guest

Please don't take this the wrong way, AzFred. I have been in the flooring business for many years. I have installed many laminated flooring products. Let me ask you something: have you ever ripped up a short pile carpet floor? Do you realize the amount of time it takes to remove it and possibly put down a new subfloor? Before making comments about "costing you money," maybe you should look at the whole picture. Myself and others like you are here to give advice. That's it.

It's amazing to me that companies selling laminate are actually the ones who gave me this advice years ago. Now, if companies like Anderson, Quik-Lok, etc. are telling me this, then why wouldn't they warranty it? If doesn't make sense. As a matter of fact, I have probably a handful of warranty repairs, but the majority have been water damage. The companies who actually come out for claims DID NOT care about the carpet.

Twelvepole is as right as anyone here; make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and call them if needed. They are more than happy to help.

AzFred Visiting Guest

Doomer, no problem. If I err it will be on the conservative side or that of caution. That said, every manufacturer has a warranty statement concerning flatness and moisture. How well can you inspect for flatness of a slab that is hidden under a piece of carpet? The laminate is also designed and intended to slip or slide on a slick surface such as flat polyethylene. Next issue: how much moisture from a spill will carpet hold vs. a concrete slab? Worst case: how much toxic mold is growing on the bottom of carpet that has been wet, or how much cat odor, etc. is waiting for a little moisture to set it off? I know that taking the carpet up is not easy, but not taking it up is like playing Russian roulette. As for the installer, who buys the job if the floor wasn't flat within tolerance or the moisture test is questionable when an inspector is hired?

rgillespie Visiting Guest

Sorry Doomer, AzFred is right. There are MANY reasons why installing over carpet is a bad idea. I, too, have been doing this for many years and have spent days and nights scraping up glued carpet. Those of us who have been doing this for any length of time know how tedious and time-consuming it is, but we do what the job calls for and what will keep the customer's warranty intact. Some shortcuts are not to be taken.

DIYDad74 Member

Though it is true that you should follow the manufacturer's instructions to not risk voiding the warranty, it's not true that installing over short-pile carpet will necessarily void the warranty. Check with the specific manufacturer.

That said, I'm installing this over short-pile carpet in a rental property. I'm a stay-at-home dad who does all of the house maintenance myself. I don't have the time to rip up that ridiculous carpet with its millions of staples. Now, I'm only doing two rather small rooms, but I don't care about the warranty. It's not an expensive product, and you can never tell how renters will treat your property. I'm far more worried about the hardwood in the rest of my 1920s home that is original to the house. That's irreplaceable.

So, if the manufacturer doesn't state that this will void the warranty, or if you (like I) do not care about the warranty, do what is best for your specific situation.

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