How Floor Levelling is Done When Installing Laminate Wooden Flooring

How Floor Levelling is Done When Installing Laminate Wooden Flooring

Installing laminate wooden flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its durability, aesthetic appeal, and relatively easy installation process. However, one critical step in ensuring a successful installation is properly leveling the subfloor. An uneven subfloor can lead to numerous problems, including gaps, squeaks, and premature wear on your flooring. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how floor leveling is done when installing laminate wooden flooring.

Assessing the Subfloor

1. Inspecting the Surface

The first step in floor leveling is to thoroughly inspect the subfloor. This involves removing any existing flooring material and examining the bare surface. Look for any visible high or low spots, cracks, or other imperfections. Use a long straightedge, such as a 6-10 foot level, to check for uneven areas. Place the straightedge on the floor and look for gaps underneath it to identify dips and peaks.

2. Measuring the Variance

To understand the extent of leveling required, measure the variance in height across the subfloor. Ideally, the subfloor should not deviate more than 1/8 inch over a 6-foot span. Use a laser level or a spirit level to take precise measurements. Mark the high and low spots with a pencil or chalk to create a clear plan for leveling.

Preparing the Subfloor

1. Cleaning the Surface

Before leveling, the subfloor must be clean and free of debris. Sweep or vacuum the area to remove dust, dirt, and loose particles. If there are any adhesive residues from previous laminate or engineered wood flooring, use a scraper or solvent to remove them. A clean surface ensures better adhesion of the leveling compound.

2. Repairing Cracks and Holes

Fill any cracks or holes in the subfloor with an appropriate filler. For wooden subfloors, use a wood filler, and for concrete subfloors, use a concrete patching compound. Allow the filler to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Leveling the Subfloor

1. Using a Self-Leveling Compound

Self-leveling compounds are an effective solution for leveling uneven subfloors. These compounds are designed to flow and settle into low spots, creating a smooth and even surface. To apply a self-leveling compound:

Mix the Compound: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the compound with water. Use a mixing paddle attached to a drill for thorough blending.
Apply the Compound: Pour the mixed compound onto the subfloor, starting from the lowest point. Use a gauge rake to spread the compound evenly across the surface. The compound will flow into low areas and level itself.
Smooth the Surface: After spreading the compound, use a smoother or trowel to remove any air bubbles and ensure a flat surface.
Allow to Cure: Let the compound cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes 24-48 hours.

2. Sanding High Spots

For minor high spots, sanding may be sufficient to level the subfloor. Use a belt sander or an orbital sander with coarse-grit sandpaper to grind down high areas. Ensure that you sand evenly to avoid creating new low spots. Vacuum the dust thoroughly after sanding.

Installing the Underlayment

Once the subfloor is level, the next step is to install an underlayment. Underlayment provides a smooth surface for the laminate flooring and adds a layer of cushioning and moisture protection. Roll out the underlayment across the entire floor, making sure the edges butt together without overlapping. Tape the seams together to keep the underlayment in place.

Installing the Laminate Flooring

With the subfloor leveled and the underlayment in place, you can proceed to install the laminate flooring. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for laying the planks, ensuring that you leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. This gap allows for natural expansion and contraction of the flooring.


Proper floor leveling is crucial for the successful installation of laminate wooden flooring. By carefully assessing, preparing, and leveling the subfloor, you can ensure a smooth and durable surface that enhances the longevity and appearance of your laminate flooring. Taking the time to do this step correctly will prevent future issues and provide a beautiful, even floor for years to come.

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