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Installing vinyl or laminate floor on unlevel subfloor.

handscribe's picture

The floor is not level or square, built in the 70's. The plywood subfloor is in good condition. The floor may roll a marble and looks to slope now that the carpet has been removed. We've been told that laminate flooring requires the floor to be level but that vinyl flooring is more forgiving. How forgiving is vinyl in regard to an unlevel subfloor? Is it a visual and light reflective concern or will the vinyl crack over use in a period of 3-5 years? What is the best way, techniques and products, for the DIY to level the floor to acommodate either laminate or vinyl flooring?

Level doesn't mean a thing to (post #184406, reply #1 of 11)

Level doesn't mean a thing to flooring.
Flat is important. More important to Laminate flooring than vinyl. You don't want any bumps and dips.

Poor edges of underlay will show a crack over time, good joints and fasteners = no problem.

Square doesn't make a difference either. A pattern vinyl that shows the out of square might not be appealing. Same goes with a tapered rip on laminates. However, cheating the angles by laying out properly or evenly will mask it.

So, you don't need to level it unless you want to.

Things to consider-if in a kitchen, will the Dishwasher fit if I raise the floor? if so should I tear out all the old underlay/flooring before I proceed.

Door swings? Will I have to reposition thresholds on entry doors for the door to clear and seal?

Finish height in relation to other rooms.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Yeah, like Calvin said, just (post #184406, reply #2 of 11)

Yeah, like Calvin said, just needs to be (reasonably) flat, not level. So long as you don't need pitons to climb it, it's OK.

One point to check for, though: Make sure the subfloor/underlayment is solidly attached and there's no motion between edges of the sheets, especially with vinyl. And use some sort of filler in any wide gaps or other depressions, as otherwise these defects will "telegraph" through vinyl.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Like Cal said, level means (post #184406, reply #3 of 11)

Like Cal said, level means nothing for the material, only having a flat plane within about 1/8" in four feet. If up and down, you can shim with a floor leveling compound or filler Durham's rock hard wood putty is good for smaller areas.

Install instructions that come with the product you are considering tell the specific requirements for that product.

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

Thanks for your advice. I (post #184406, reply #4 of 11)

Thanks for your advice. I understand the distinction between level and flat. Also, good reminders regarding making sure the dishwasher or door will still fit.

We are considering Allure (2'x2' vinyl) and Pergo. We advised that there may be a liquid product (rapid drying) that could be poured on the subfloor and permitted to seek it's own level. Do you have any information regarding the name of this product or its use?

Thanks again for the help.

Gyp-Crete (post #184406, reply #5 of 11)

Gyp-Crete

"If all else fails, read the directions"

Be forewarned. The (post #184406, reply #6 of 11)

Be forewarned. The SELF-leveling compounds are very liguid. The seek LEVEL. In other words, if your floor isn't, the compound will try to. Holes, gaps, cracks in the floor-all will allow the stuff to go go go.

The allure will I'm almost sure require and underlayment. Filling in low spots before that underlay or before the Pergo can be accomplished with a leveling compound (NOTE: I didn't say self-leveling) like Dependable. You mix small amounts and know where it's going. Can be troweled or feathered with a drywall knife. You don't have much time to work with it.

Take a 4 ft level and find the high spots. You want to fill the dips. Use a pencil to outline where those dips are. Do not put compound on the high spots. I mix on the floor. I put a small pile of dry on the floor, form a well in the middle-pour just enough water in there and mix the dry in. Should be drywall mud consistancy. Work fast.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Allure specs don't call for (post #184406, reply #8 of 11)

Allure specs don't call for an underlayment, and is much more forgiving of unevenness than is laminate

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

I am putting down laminate (post #184406, reply #7 of 11)

I am putting down laminate flooring in the second floor of our house built in 1983. The subfloor is 3/8 to 1/2 inch plywood and there is give in almost every joint of the subfloor not on a joist.

Can I install another layer of plywood on top of the subfloor to eliminate this give? My concern is that if I do not address this flexing of the subfloor, the laminate will crack over time.

Thanks for any advise you can give.

In the 70's when we framed we (post #184406, reply #9 of 11)

In the 70's when we framed we put down 4 ply 1/2''. It was pretty much the case that there would be 1/2" underlay put down on top of that. In many cases.............1/2" particle board.........oh boy.

So yes, and I'd maybe break it on a joist-not the same as the subfloor- and stagger the long edge from the subfloor too. Not necessary but it should stiffen it up better than falling on the same joint. It'll help elimininate a hump on the joist break. You could glue the two together and I would screw all down. If you screw your sub down prior, you could use narrow crown staple on the underlay.

That being said, I would think with your cushion under the laminate and the lam. itself would probably be ok w'o doing anything. It floats, but likes flat. Unless it's the cheapest crap known to man, it should be alright. If concerned, call the manufacturer-they might have a guarantee requirement.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Vinyl on ramp/slope? (post #184406, reply #10 of 11)

I'm interested in using the same Allure vinyl product in a commercial space (I understand the warranty implications).

 

In my case, the uneven floor has to do with ramps right as you enter the space. I'm assuming I can't use the vinyl up the slope of these ramps, does anyone have any finishing suggestions?

I'm thinking of doing the floor with the vinyl, and possible copying what they did with the carpet. See attached picture.

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You might be able to do (post #184406, reply #11 of 11)

You might be able to do triangular "pie pieces" on the conical ramps, and stick them down with an adhesive - pattern of the allure would affect the look, of course....

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================