Can You Apply New Laminate Over Old Laminate?

Learn whether it will work if you install new laminate over the old one

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Laminate is a great material for your home renovation projects due to its affordability and longevity. However, even the most durable and high-quality laminate will eventually wear and tear, making you consider replacing it. 

This is the very moment when homeowners start asking themselves: can I just put new laminate over old laminate? And while it is easy to understand their desire to skip the laminate-removing fuss, we would like to explain in detail why it is not a good idea in some cases.

In this article, we will tell you whether bonding new laminate to old laminate is acceptable and in what cases it might really be a good idea. Also, you will learn in detail how to install new laminate over the old one if you need to renovate your counters or floors. In addition, we will explain what things you should take into consideration in case you decide to take a risk and laminate over laminate.

A selection of different laminate flooring

Can You Glue New Laminate Over Old Laminate Countertops?

When people ask, "Can you laminate over laminate?" or "Can you put laminate over laminate?", it's essential to know the specifics. Not all laminate installations are equal, and the success of laying laminate over laminate can vary. The compatibility of the new laminate with the old depends on several factors, all crucial to understand for a successful outcome.

The first thing to consider is the condition of the existing laminate. If you have an old, damaged surface with deep cracks or uneven areas, the question "Can you lay laminate over laminate?" would have a negative answer. These deformities can cause issues with the new layer adhering properly or create an uneven surface appearance.

However, if your existing laminate is still in relatively good shape, with only minor wear and tear, the task of placing laminate over laminate is more feasible. After prepping the old laminate by cleaning and sanding it down, the process is straightforward:

  1. Apply the contact cement to both the countertop and the back of the new laminate sheet.
  2. Wait until the adhesive becomes tacky.
  3. Carefully lay the new laminate over the old, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles.

Can you put flooring over laminate? If you're considering laminate flooring, you should know that this process is slightly different than countertop lamination, but it's possible with proper preparation and execution. Always remember that the integrity of your new laminate surface, be it a countertop or floor, heavily relies on the condition and preparation of the existing surface. Proper adherence is key to a long-lasting, beautiful finish.

How to Install New Laminate Over Old Laminate Countertops

The guide from above is a brief one of course. Should you need a step-by-step process, check out the following detailed description. It will allow you do everything right and avoid any mistakes.

Step 1

Using your belt sander, dull the surface of the countertops you will be renovating. Remove all of the existing gloss and shine. Finish by wiping up the dust.

Step 2

Now you need to measure each section of the countertop where you are going to apply the new laminate. When all the measurements are taken, transfer the dimensions to your laminate sheets, adding an inch all around to each section. 

Cut out the marked pieces with a razor knife but note that for the back edge of the top piece of laminate, you should not leave an overhang. The same refers to any other part that will butt against a wall. 

Step 3

Apply contact cement on the back of the laminate pieces with a brush. Coat the countertop surface with contact cement, too. Now you can let the contact cement dry for 15 to 20 minutes before you proceed to the next step.

Step 4

Hold the laminate piece for the vertical front edge in front of the section where it's going to be applied. Make sure it is lining up without letting the surfaces touch! Also, note that there should be an inch of overhang all around. Now you can set the piece of laminate against the countertop. Press it firmly in place with the laminate roller. If there are any overhanging laminate parts, use your router to cut them off.

Step 5

Lay dowel rods on the countertop, facing forward, about a foot apart. Set the large top piece of laminate on the rods and get it correctly positioned, with the factory edge up against the wall and the other sides overhanging the edge. Pull the dowel rods forward and out, and press the laminate down. Set it in place using the laminate roller. Trim off the overhang with the router.

Ok, so now you know how to install new laminate over old one if you need to refresh the appearance of your countertops. But what about the floors? Is it going to be the same easy to apply new laminate if your old flooring needs to be changed? Let’s figure this out.

Can You Install New Laminate Floors Over Old Laminate Floors?

So, to answer the question, "Can you laminate over laminate?" especially when it comes to flooring, there are indeed circumstances that may push you to consider this. But, remember, it is not the most recommended method. Laminate flooring expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes, which means that putting a new layer over an old one might lead to problems down the line.

That being said, if your existing laminate floor is even and in relatively good condition, and you are willing to take the risk, here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. First, clean the old laminate thoroughly. Make sure there's no dust or debris that can interfere with the new laminate flooring's installation.
  2. Inspect the old laminate flooring for any damages. Fix any uneven spots to ensure a flat surface for the new laminate.
  3. Install a foam underlay. This layer helps to even out minor imperfections on the surface and provides a buffer for the laminate to expand and contract.
  4. Install the new laminate flooring as per the manufacturer's instructions.

However, it is crucial to understand that even when taking all precautions, "Can you laminate over laminate?" still has its risks. It might be a quicker solution for the moment, but the longevity and durability of the new laminate floor may be compromised. If you're uncertain, it's always a good idea to consult with a flooring professional to ensure you're making the best decision for your home.

What Factors Can Prevent You From Laminating Over Old Laminate Floors

If you have old laminate floors that you want to refresh, think twice. As you already know, this trick may not work if you have problems with your existing floor, for example, if its’ not even. But except for this issue, there are a few more you need to be aware of!

Take Moisture Into Consideration

If you layer laminate floors on top of each other, it will increase the risk of higher moisture levels. See, when you do like this, moisture gets trapped between the layers of laminate flooring. And as you all know, moisture retention can lead to severe issues, such as the growth of mold and rot! And these problems can lead to not only your floor damage, but they can also lead to uneven floors.

Remember About the Plank Movement

You already heard that laminate floors are considered floating floors. This means that laminate planks aren’t attached with glue but are tightly fit together side by side during the installation process. On the one hand, this makes installation easier, but on the other hand, it also means that these planks will expand and contract whenever the weather changes!

If you add a new layer of laminate planks over the existing layer, it will create tension in your flooring. This tension happens because the two layers expand and contract against one another, which, in turn, creates friction.

And in case of constant friction, the joints in your laminate floors will be stressed out, causing significant wear and tear. Sometimes, laminate floors may even track and become damaged! 

Consider the Changes In Your Floors Height

By adding an extra flooring layer, you will make your floors taller than they were before. This often leads to the doors in the room getting stuck against the planks. As a result, you will be forced to trim them to a more reasonable height, which will take you more time and money.

To avoid these issues, you can cover the existing laminate floor with adhesive and a thin laminate sheet instead of installing an entirely new floor. A laminate sheet is also the more durable of the two options, not to mention more affordable.

So, as you can see now, installing a new laminate floor over the old one is quite a bothersome task! So perhaps, it will be wiser to consider less invasive and time-consuming options should you decide to refresh the appearance of your floors.

What to Consider If You Decide to Install Laminate Over Laminate

Should you still want to install a new layer of laminate over the old laminate surface, grab a few handy tips regarding the process? With their help, things will become much easier for you, especially if you are doing this for the first time. 

Pay Attention to Evenness

Check the existing laminate flooring to make sure that it’s completely even. If there are any distortions in the existing subfloor, the new laminate layer will have them as well. These issues, if left unattended, can cause the connection between the joints of the new laminate to fail.  As a result, you will end up with a damaged floor.

And even if you use a thick layer of underlayment, the structural problem will still exist. While there may be some masking of the distortions, you will sooner or later still face the same problem. 

Take the Trim Into Consideration

If the edges of the old laminate are under the floor trims and molding, you will first have to remove the trim. After that, you will need to install the new laminate on top of the existing floor. Finally, you need to repeatedly trim everything. 

How to Install New Laminate Floors Over Old Laminate Floors

For those who still want to try and install new laminate floors over the old ones without removing the old laminate, we have prepared step-by-step instructions. With its help, you will go through the process smoothly. But first, make sure you get all the tools ready:

  1. Knife
  2. Hammer
  3. Circular saw
  4. Jigsaw
  5. Table saw
  6. Handsaw
  7. Tape measure
  8. Speed square
  9. Spacers (you can use scrap wood for this)

Install the Underlayment

Foam is usually the best choice for laminate, this is why opting for an underlayment with an attached vapor barrier is a good idea. This is because the vapor barrier works as an additional layer of protection against moisture collection. Only make sure to trim the underlayment to make it fit against the walls and secure the seams.

Lay Out the First Row of Planks

Make sure the planks are securely locked side-by-side. Also, don’t forget to trim off the tongues of the planks that will edge against the wall! For this purpose, use a table saw or circular saw. And remember to leave about 1/4 – 3/8 inch of space from the wall to allow room for expansion and contraction.

Cut the Last Plank of the Row

In most situations, the last plank in a row will be too big. This is why you will have to trim it. To do it right, measure the length precisely and cut the last plank using a circular saw or jigsaw. But if you want to discard the cut-off pieces, don’t do this! They will work as the first planks in the next rows.

Finish Laying Out the Rest of the Floor

Once you have completed the first row, you can now continue and finish the other rows of laminate planks. Insert the tongue of these planks into the grooves on the planks in the previous row. This will lock the joints together and create a sturdy connection.

Install the Last Row Of Planks

You will likely need to rip the planks using a table saw or circular saw to ensure they fit. Remember to leave a 1/4 inch expansion gap between the floors and the walls. Remove the spacers, and install the molding.

Let's expand a bit on the query "Can I put laminate over laminate?" This question often arises when people are thinking of "adding to existing laminate flooring". When going for this option, you should bear in mind that the quality of the base layer significantly influences the outcome.

Now you know not only whether it’s possible to install new laminate over the old layer of it. In addition, you got a detailed guide on how to do it should you decide to renew your older laminate countertops or even flooring. In addition, we told you why using this reinstallation option is not the best idea for the floors. But if you still want to try, at least you have a detailed guide on how to do it correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Reinstall Laminate Floors Myself?

Yes, you can do it even if you’ve never done this before. The process is quite easy.

Can I Use Different Laminate Brands One On Top Of Another?

With that, you should ask a store assistant since laminate of different brands may have different features e.g. thickness, etc.

How Long Does A Laminate Floor Last?

If properly maintained, it can serve you for at least 10-15 years. High-quality material will last longer.

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