Before making any plans, evaluate the existing floor, including the subfloor and the floor covering. It may be that the subfloor needs repairs. On the bright side, you may be able to install the new floor covering on top of the old one. As a result you may shorten the project’s time and save some hard earned money.

Important Tip

If money is not an issue, do not bother with this article, hire a professional and go on vacation. Here you can choose a realy nice vacation destinations and find excellent vacation packages.

For the rest of us which are not realy familiar with how a floor is built, here are the main elements of a typical floor, at least in North America.

  1. joist
  2. 3/4” subfloor, or more for homes build by generous builders or in states with more stringent building codes
  3. 1/2” plywood underlayment
  4. adhesive, mortar or cushioned padding
  5. parquet, vinyl, ceramic, hardwood , laminate, carpet

Evaluate the Existing Floor Before Installing the New Floor Covering

Some preparation work must be done if the existing floor is not smooth or sound. Refasten loose boards, remove bubbled up vinyl, pour a floor leveler, remove and replace the floor underlayment as applicable.

Here is a Comprehensive Planning Checklist for almost any Floor Project

  • measure project area
  • create a floor plan on paper – for the computer geeks out there, you know what to do
  • identify areas where transitions from one material to another will be needed
  • choose a transition material and type
  • estimate the amount of materials needed such as drop sheets, ceramic, vinyl, hardwood, carpet, underpad, adhesive, grout, threshold, strips, screws
  • make a list of tools you need – all our projects come with a comprehensive list of required tools and materials
  • estimate the cost of the project (include tool rentals, delivery charges, demolition and disposal costs)
  • shop around for best prices

Required Tools and Materials

Tips to Consider for Existing Floor Coverings

Vinyl Floors

  • Make sure the vinyl does not have any loose seams, tears, chips, air bubbles and areas with bond failure
  • Repair the loose spots before installing the new floor covering
  • Do not keep the vinyl floor covering for new ceramic floors installations.

Ceramic Tiles

  • If the ceramic surface is more that 15 % damaged, replace the tiles before installing the new floor covering
  • For new vinyl floor covering, apply floor leveler over the old ceramic tiles
  • If ceramic tiles have to be removed, the underlayment must be removed at the same time due to high bond adhesives used to secure the old tiles.

Hardwood Floors

  • If the hardwood floor is floating, namely not secured to the underlayment in any way, remove it before installing any type of floor covering
  • For installing ceramic tile, make sure the hardwood is well secured, all the rotten areas are replaced and a new underlayment is installed on top of the hardwood
  • For installing carpet it is not necessary to install any additional underlayment.


  • Cannot be used for installing any floor covering on top
  • Cut in pieces with an utility knife and remove all carpet and underpad before installing any type of floor coverings
  • Do not be temped to reuse the underpad if you are installing a new carpet

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