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Can You Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on an Uneven Floor?

Any type of flooring planks requires an even floor to be installed over it. Because an uneven floor can damage the flooring planks and can make them wear and tear out quicker than the expected time.

Therefore, if you intend to install vinyl plank flooring in your home after knowing all of these factors, you surely will think about whether you can install vinyl flooring on an uneven floor or not. 

So, this article is about putting an end to all your confusion and queries regarding installing vinyl planks on an uneven floor.

Can You Install Vinyl Plank Flooring On An Uneven Floor?

Vinyl plank flooring can be installed on a slightly uneven floor as the planks are sturdy so they can give full coverage on a slightly uneven floor. But a clean and debris-free flat floor must be ensured. As vinyl plank flooring requires a flat and clean floor surface more than an even floor. 

Should You Install A Vinyl Plank Over An Uneven Floor? 

No one should install vinyl plank over an uneven floor but surprisingly vinyl plank flooring can be installed over slightly uneven flooring.

It’s because vinyl planks are a quite sturdier type of flooring planks. Therefore, even if those are installed on a slightly uneven floor, they can give full coverage on the floor making it look even. 

However, remember one thing that vinyl plank flooring requires a completely flat floor surface that is debris-free more. And these are highly required requirements of vinyl plank flooring. 

So, even if the floor is a little uneven, one must make sure to have a properly cleaned and debris-free floor before deciding to install vinyl plank flooring. 

How Uneven Can The Floor Be For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

When the profoundness of gaps, bumps, and plunges of a floor regardless of concrete or wood has surpassed 3/16 inches per 10 feet radius in either way then the floor is considered as an uneven floor for vinyl plank flooring.

And yes, the measurement for an uneven floor with bumps, gaps, and plunges is the same as the laminate flooring. 

Vinyl flooring only can not tolerate a floor with more than 3/16 inches deep gaps, bumps, and plunges. As such a floor can make the flooring wear out or damage. Therefore, any flooring above 3/16 inches deep voids, dips, bumps are absolutely uneven floor for vinyl plank flooring. 

Do You Need To Level The Floor Before Vinyl Plank Flooring?

You certainly need to level the floor before vinyl plank flooring. Because a flat and even floor makes sure that the vinyl flooring planks have adjoined tightly with each other leaving no voids in between them. 

Also, a level floor lessens the risk of flooring planks being damaged too soon, prevents water from seeping through, also, doesn’t make the flooring creak or squeak.

Therefore, if you are intending to lay vinyl plank flooring on an uneven floor, make sure to level it before installing it to avoid all types of damages.

How Do You Prepare A Floor For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

All types of floorings are installed over either wooden floors or concrete floors. Therefore, for your convenience, here steps for preparing both types of floors have been described below.

Concrete Floor 

Measure The Moisture Of The Floor 

First, you need to measure the moisture of the concrete floor with a moisture meter. If every 24 hours, the moisture of the floor remains 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet then consider the floor as a suitable one. 

Clean The Floor 

Then clean the floor thoroughly so that there is no debris left on the floor. For deep cleaning, use a vacuum cleaner or wipe the floor. 

Look For High And Low Spots 

Now take a carpenter’s leveler and place it onto the floor to find high and low areas on the surface. 

Grind The High Areas 

Take a hand grinder and grind the high area and bumps to make it even with the rest of the surface. 

Fill Up The Lower Areas 

After that, use a floor leveling compound to fill the voids and dips to make the flooring even. Use a putty knife to apply the leveling compound. And let it dry. 

Begin Installing 

Now that you are done preparing the concrete floor, you can start installing vinyl plank floor over the floor. 

Wooden Floor 

Cover The Floor With Plywood

With A 1/4 inch plywood, cover the wooden floor where you will be installing vinyl plank flooring.

Leave A Gap 

While covering the areas, make sure to leave a 1/4  inch extension gap between the wall and flooring plank joints. So that, the planks collide with the joints of the wooden floor.

Secure The Plywood

With 1-inch decking nails, secure the plywood in place and the nails under the plywood floor surface to make the area even. 

Fill The Low Spots And Sand Down High Spots 

If there are still any high and low areas over the nails heads then even out them. For high spots, sand down the areas with a hand sander and fill the voids in low areas with leveling compound. 

Clean The Floor 

Lastly, clean the floor thoroughly leaving no dirt and residues. 

Install The Flooring Planks 

Now that the floor is prepared, you can start installing the vinyl plank flooring over the wooden floor. 

How To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring On Uneven Floors?

The step-by-step guidelines to install vinyl plank flooring on an uneven floor have been explained below. 

Prepare The Floor 

If you have a concrete floor, start by finding the high and low spots. Then grind the high spots and use level compounding to fill up the lower spots to make the floor even. And then clean the floor thoroughly. 

And if you have a wooden floor, then first place plywood to cover the floor. Leave 1/4 inch gaps between the wall and joints and secure the plywood.

Then find the high and low spots, sand down the spots, and fill the gaps in low spots with leveling compounds. And then clean the floor. 

Remove Baseboards 

After preparing the floor, remove all baseboards, doorcase moldings, and base shoe molds. 

Clean The Floor Again 

Make sure to clean the floor again so that no dust, dirt, debris is left behind. 

Take Measurements 

According to your planned flooring direction and the width of the room, take measurement of the vinyl planks by dividing the width of the room with vinyl plank width.  And that’s how you will know how many planks can fit in your room.

Cut The Planks 

Then cut the planks with a circular saw according to the measurement you took.

Install The Planks 

Starting from the left corner of your room, place the first row of vinyl planks. And keep a 3/8 inch extension gap between the flooring planks and the wall by placing a spacer in between them. 

While installing the flooring planks, make sure that the tongue is facing the wall and the groove is facing outside. It’s because when you’ll be installing the second row, the tongue planks will go into the grooves of the first row. So that planks lock with each it’s tightly.

And now, finish installing the vinyl planks following the same steps.

Remember not to start a row with leftover cut planks that are more than 6 inches tall. And remove the spacer after finishing installing.  

Reinstall Baseboards 

After completing the installation, reinstall the baseboards with help of a brad nailer. 

Does Underlayment Help With Uneven Floors?

Underlayment is considered as a vital element while installing any type of flooring over an uneven floor. Because underlayment provides an even and flat surface to flooring planks. Also, reduces the risk of getting damaged too soon.

Underlayment underneath the uneven floor also supports the planks to sit properly and to have a tight interlocking system. It prevents creaking and squeaking as well. 

How Do You Fix An Uneven Floor Under Vinyl Planks?

The fixing process depends on the type of uneven floor you have. 

  • If you have a wooden uneven floor then first install plywood. Then find any high or low areas. Use a hand sander to sand down higher areas and replenish the lower areas with leveling compound. And then clean the floor nicely. 
  • For concrete uneven floor. You need to start fixing by finding bumps and voids. Then grind the bumpy areas with a hand grinder and fill the voids with leveling compound. And clean the floor, remove all dust and debris. 

What Happens If You Put Vinyl On An Uneven Floor?

Installing vinyl plank flooring on an uneven floor can cause clasping between planks. Also can release the boards after installing over uneven flooring.

As there are dips, gaps, and collisions, therefore, the floor will not settle down properly to the ground, neither will it have a strong interlocking system.  

Also, water oozing to the floor can occur as an uneven floor has gaps. 

What Is The Best Flooring For An Uneven Floor?

Laminate flooring planks or tiles is the best flooring option for an uneven floor. Because laminate flooring is more flexible and durable that can be adjusted with an uneven floor. 

Apart from laminate flooring, vinyl planks, vinyl sheets, linoleum, and carpet are the other best flooring options. 

A slightly uneven floor is acceptable for vinyl plank flooring to be installed over it but you should never install vinyl plank flooring over an excessively uneven floor.