Choosing a Floor
BY SCOTT LAUBE
In most cases, probably not…
You certainly do not want to attach or glue your new floor right to the existing one, as your new installation will only be as sound as the one before it, and most manufacturers will void their warranty if you do so.
In short, layers can cause problems. The most common one is squeaks. Any movement in any layer can cause this issue, and the more layers, the more potential for this to happen. Another common issue is floor height. Most homes, especially older ones, are not built with a really thick floor covering in mind. When additional layers are added, this can cause doors not to close and trim to look short. You may also have a fridge that will no longer slide under that cabinet, a stove that you can no longer make flush with the countertop, or a dishwasher that is trapped in place (if you needed to replace it in the future, you’d have to tear up your new floor to do so).
And, once again, nailing or gluing your new floor to the existing one makes your new floor only as strong as the old one. If the old one fails, your new one will go with it. The demolition process for removing old flooring can be expensive, but not nearly as costly as replacing that new floor that you just shelled out a bunch of money for!
Situations where you may be able to install over the old floor
- You have plenty of height (see potential issues above)
- The old floor is rock solid and level, with no structural deficiencies.
- If the above are true, and asbestos is present in one of the lower layers and you don’t want to disturb it.
- With the correct selection of a new floor covering
Products that can be installed over existing flooring
- Laminate flooring
- Interlocking LVT (luxury vinyl tile)
- LVT over a paper underlayment (not our preferred method, but may be a good option in certain settings)
- Interlocking wood floors