Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

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randomGuy
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by randomGuy »

Hello everyone!

I am about (in the next few weeks/months) to install laminate flooring in my living room (the "floating" one, with the click system). I have tongue&groove floorboards at the moment.

I read posts and watched videos, and almost everyone suggests to screw some plywood (suggestions about its thickness vary) to have an even subfloor to work with. That makes sense to me, but in my case the floorboard are in good conditions (apart minor scratches that don't really make any difference) and the floor is already level.

Do you think I would still need to put plywood on top of the floorboards? What would the benefit from doing so?

Thanks!
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Chop
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by Chop »

If they are sound level and don't have cupping then I wouldn't bother with ply. I would just lay the new floor at 90° to the existing.

Noise can be kept down using the fibre tiles underlay which I quite like https://www.screwfix.com/p/wood-fibre-u ... lsrc=aw.ds
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by woody8086 »

Make sure all nails are punched down completely and any loose boards screwed down, aesthetically you may not wish the boards to be at right angles to existing boards so it is important to purchase a decent quality underlay.

Do not use those scotia beads, they just never look right, where possible, remove skirting and using a multi tool cut under architrave and door frame, a lot of work but much better.
A piece of underlay, an upside down board (or offcut) will be the correct spacing for architrave's and door frames.

Also, never have two boards with the same line, the best way to install is to start with a full board (for this example, I am using left to right) use the off cut at the r/h end to start the second row.
Continue to the end and set aside that offcut for later use.

For the third row, take a full board and cut around 200mm off it, set aside that offcut for use at the r/h end later in the project, continue as above and always keep an eye for any boards that look as though they are in line as it spoils the job in my opinion, You probably end up using an extra few boards this way but the finish is worth it.
randomGuy
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by randomGuy »

Thank you, guys!
Chop wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:24 am
If they are sound level and don't have cupping then I wouldn't bother with ply. I would just lay the new floor at 90° to the existing.

Noise can be kept down using the fibre tiles underlay which I quite like
One of the pictures for that fibre tiles underlay seems to suggest it would go on top of the normal underlay you would put under your laminate. That would be: floorboard -> underlay sheets -> fibre tiles underlay -> laminate. Is that correct?

woody8086 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:30 am
Make sure all nails are punched down completely and any loose boards screwed down, aesthetically you may not wish the boards to be at right angles to existing boards so it is important to purchase a decent quality underlay.

Do not use those scotia beads, they just never look right, where possible, remove skirting and using a multi tool cut under architrave and door frame, a lot of work but much better.
A piece of underlay, an upside down board (or offcut) will be the correct spacing for architrave's and door frames.

Also, never have two boards with the same line, the best way to install is to start with a full board (for this example, I am using left to right) use the off cut at the r/h end to start the second row.
Continue to the end and set aside that offcut for later use.

For the third row, take a full board and cut around 200mm off it, set aside that offcut for use at the r/h end later in the project, continue as above and always keep an eye for any boards that look as though they are in line as it spoils the job in my opinion, You probably end up using an extra few boards this way but the finish is worth it.
Do you think an underlay (a good quality one, as you said, but still) would be enough? I just assumed I had to put the laminate down at 90 degree angle with respect to the current boards. There is a gap (it's variable, about 2-3mm on average, I would say) between floorboards, and I fear that the laminate would tend to flex if some of those gaps were to align with the click system of the laminate.

And...yes, I don't like scotia beads either! I understand why they are used, but...I am redecorating the whole room anyway, so I removed the skirting already :)

Thanks for the suggestions regarding the layout, I really want to avoid the "brickwork" layout, it's ugly on a floor!
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by woody8086 »

It will be fine in any direction as long as you use a good quality underlay.

An old trick I use with floorboards is to get old newspapers, flour & water and a household bucket.
Fill half full with cold water and slowly add flour to make a thin runny paste, add strips of newspaper and make paper mache, add this to the gaps using your paint scraper, pushing level or just below the surface,
let it dry and you are good to go

I used the sonic gold on a very expensive parquet style floor last year, around 5mm thick, which might be overkill in this instance.

As suggested by CHOP earlier in the thread, the wickes fibre board one is also ok, this is a "floating floor" after all and as long as you leave your 10mm spacings everything should be fine.
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by randomGuy »

Thanks, woody!

Is your "old trick" better than just some sort of ready-made filler for any particular reason (apart from cost, possibly)?

Do you think the fibre boards Chop suggested need something under them or they can go directly on top of the existing floorboards? Again, there is a picture on the product's page where there seems to be an additional layer :scratch:
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by Chop »

I personally dont think its necessary as they are both underlays and as such serve the same function, just one accepts greater deviations in the subfloor. That's just my opinion, there's no reason you couldn't use both but it seems an unnecessary expense unless you get the thin underlay stuff free with the flooring.

Edited to add: it might be a damp proof membrane in the pic, if you were laying on a concrete floor you'd want a membrane. It wont be an issue over floorboards
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by woody8086 »

Paper mache is fine, used it loads of times

Nothing usually needed under the fibreboards, as long as you have dealt with any nails, large gaps etc
randomGuy wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:43 pm
Thanks, woody!

Is your "old trick" better than just some sort of ready-made filler for any particular reason (apart from cost, possibly)?

Do you think the fibre boards Chop suggested need something under them or they can go directly on top of the existing floorboards? Again, there is a picture on the product's page where there seems to be an additional layer :scratch:
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by dewaltdisney »

I used this https://www.screwfix.com/p/extruded-pol ... y-5m/1583r under a laminated floor I did at my son's. It was laid on floorboards. Never had any issues that I heard of.

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randomGuy
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Installing laminate on floorboards: plywood necessary?

Post by randomGuy »

Thank you all guys, you have been very helpful :-) I'll be back with more questions if something comes up!

By the way, I didn't know underlays could be this thick! 5mm is quite a lot :thumbleft: No wonder you are suggesting to go ahead without plywood!
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