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If you are involved in DIY home improvement projects or you are moving personal houses, you may find yourself wanting to replace a floor. An important step when installing a new floor is making sure it’s level.
If you are wondering how to level a floor for laminate, you have come to the right place.
How to Level a Floor for Laminate
In this article, you will learn how to level a wooden subfloor as well as a concrete subfloor before you can get them ready for lamination.
How to Level a Wooden Subfloor
Step 1 — Fixing loose floorboards
As the first step, you need to figure out if there are any loose floorboards. Floorboards tend to loosen up over time, as a result of people constantly walking around and activity such as heavy furniture being moved over the floor.
This could give your floor an overall uneven appearance and can become an impediment to lamination.
So the first step is to inspect the floor and hold down these boards with screws and secure the floor in place before laminate installation.
Step 2 — Sanding rough spots
There could be rough spots on the floor that make it uneven. These high rough spots or projections need to be removed in order to give the floor a smooth, even appearance. For this, you may use a floor edger or belt sander to sand these rough, high spots.
These equipment are available for rent in most home improvement stores and are also available online if you are up for purchasing them.
Step 3 — Filling grooves with leveling compound
The next important step to consider when you are looking at how to level a floor for laminate is the usage of wood putty or leveling compound.
Just like high spots, there could be valleys or cracks that contribute to the uneven surface of the wood floor. You would have to fill this up with a wood leveling compound that’s specially designed for wood subfloors. These are great for treating small gouges and cracks.
Fill these holes and grooves with the compound and leave it on to dry. Remember, it should 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 give rise to the growth of mold and mildew.
Step 4 — Installing lamination
Once you have sanded rough high spots, filled grooves, and cracks, you are almost ready to install the laminate. Once the leveling compound has dried up enough make sure you inspect the floor again with a level.
Based on the result, repeat any of the steps again as needed and once you are convinced you to have a dry, even, smooth surface, you are ready to laminate the floor.
How to Level a Concrete Subfloor
Step 1 — Inspect the floor for highs and lows with a level
Use a standard level to inspect the concrete floor for high spots and any cracks or grooves.
This will give an overall picture of the problems behind the uneven floor and help you with the correct solutions on how to level a floor for laminate.
Step 2 — Prep work
Before you get to work, make sure you cover the gaps between the walls and the subfloor with a foam sealer. You would also need to protect the lower part of the walls near the floor as well from the splash of the concrete and other dust, so run a wall tape over the area that needs to be protected.
If you have rough high spots on the concrete floor, you could get rid of them with a concrete grinder. This will give your floor a smooth finish. Clean up the dirt and debris afterward. Note that using the concrete grinder is optional.
If you do not have one or cannot rent one, the self-leveling compound can be used to get the job done either way. What you are essentially saving by using a concrete grinder is additional applications of the self-leveling compounds.
Step 3 — Apply the primer
Once you have a clean floor, you need to apply the primer before you can use the concrete slurry. The primer has an adhesive base that will ensure that the self-leveling compound firmly adheres to the floor.
Mix the primer with water, as per the instructions on your product, and apply it evenly with a roller on the concrete floor.
Step 4 — Apply leveling compound
Once the primer has dried, you are ready to apply the leveling compound. Mix it with water, as instructed in the product you have chosen, and pour the slurry over the floor. Spread it evenly on the floor using a straight edge of the desired size.
As you keep pouring the slurry from the barrel, immediately use the straight edge to keep the mixture from splashing randomly and to spread it thinly across the floor.
Once you have spread the leveling compound, leave it on to dry, preferably overnight. If you think you need another layer of the compound, apply the primer again and repeat the application of the concrete slurry. If not, you can proceed with lamination.
Using the leveling compound is an important step in filling gouges and grooves and building a thick, even layer for the concrete subfloor before lamination.
Step 5 — Install the underlayment and lamination
After the leveling compound has dried, you are ready to laminate the concrete floor. You must use the underlayment that comes in the form of rollable sheets before you laminate the floor.
The underlayment is important because it makes the installation of the wooden planks easier, and gives the flooring a smooth, cushiony, softer feeling under the foot. Some laminate flooring comes with underlayment already attached to it.
If not this needs to be installed by the user separately. Once you have added the underlayment, you are ready to laminate the newly leveled concrete subfloor.
That’s a wrap. These are some quick methods on how to level a floor for laminate. Get started right away.
FAQs on How to Level a Floor for Laminate
How do you level a floor before laminate?
Inspect the floor for high rough spots and low spots or valleys. Sand the rough edges and spots and fill the valleys and grooves with leveling compound designed for the floor type. This will give you a smooth, even flooring before the installation of floor lamination.
Do all laminate floors need underlayment?
Some laminate floors come with underlayment attached. This is an essential part of laminate floors. Underlayment makes the installation of the wooden planks easier and gives the flooring a softer, smoother feel under the foot. Underlayment is not a choice.
If you do not see that it’s attached with laminate floors, you can purchase it separately and install them before you laminate the floor.
Whether it’s a wooden subfloor or concrete subfloor, when it comes to how to level a floor for laminate, the key factors to remember are getting rid of the high rough spots by sanding the floor and filling the low spots and valleys with leveling compound that’s designed for the floor type.
Once this is done right, you can proceed with the installation of underlayment and laminate the floor.