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I'm considering to install an engineered laminate floor on the plywood subfloor, the planks vary in thickness. How do people normally pick the right thickness of the planks? I understand that there will be underlay installed as well, which has its thickness, and the laminate planks on top. However I want to make sure that new floor in room will level with the hallway which already has hardwood floor installed. So, I'm assuming the underlay will "settle down", so I should pick slightly thicker planks?

Thanks.

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Underlayment doesn't settle or compress appreciably, and you usually won't find varying thicknesses of your particular choice of flooring. You'd have to change brands to change thickness.

Unless you have some specific height need, purchase what suits your fancy. The transition between the new and old floors should accommodate, and a difference in height of 1/8" or 1/4" doesn't cause a problem.

If you're aiming for perfect level, you may need to install additional subfloor material before the flooring underlayment.

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You will have to have some sort of "T" transition piece between your two types of flooring to support expansion fluctuations. If you meticulously install it you can even go inverted "T" even with a floating floor that can be pretty unnoticeable - this is dependent on how long of a meeting point you have too between the two floors.

The thickness does matter in that if the two floors are at different levels (1/4" will be fairly noticeable), then your T transition will slope. The thickness also matters in that you are installing on plywood. There is just no way in the world I would recommend something as thin as 5/16" on plywood. These types of laminate/engineered flooring are meant for commercial or apartment buildings or at the very least a very flat concrete slab. The thinner the flooring material the greater the chance that you feel "air" from the bounce you get on plywood which could lead to issues down the road.

Please refer to my answer here on the specifics of cheaper/thinner flooring - Low-cost hardwood flooring... what's the catch?

So the only issue I see is if the wood flooring that you are meeting with is pretty low. Too high is fine and you can deal with that with some shingles or felt paper. But if there is a requirement that you need to meet at 3/8", that is going to be hard to deal with. Underlayment will add on at least 1/16" and likely closer to 1/8". Also there is the "air" factor since it is floating floor. You can easily test a small area of flooring and see if you put a heavy box on a floating floor it will go down 1/16" to even 1/4".

To answer your question though, generally thicker is better. You want the thickness to be from rubber/plywood backing not MDF. You want the thickness (don't worry about settling) to be equal to the floor it is meeting.

  • Engineered laminate does not imply a floating floor. OP doesn't mention a floating floor either. – BillWeckel Nov 29 '18 at 18:09
  • @BillWeckel - yes made that assumption. I don't know any manufacturers that allow a glue down on a plywood substrate. – DMoore Nov 29 '18 at 18:12
  • Depending on the type of engineered flooring, it can either be stapled or glued down. I've glued countless square feet to plywood subfloors, per manufacturer recommendation. I've been out of the flooring business for quite a few years tho. Practices may have changed. – BillWeckel Nov 29 '18 at 18:17
  • @BillWeckel - yea there are a lot of variables - what type of plywood, how thick it is, beam range, all that stuff. You can staple some down (which in my opinion is a joke - because you will inevitably have some lose grip and wavy areas) and I have never seen engineered glued to plywood unless it was completely climate controlled. – DMoore Nov 29 '18 at 18:28
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You're actually limited to thickness choices on laminate and engineered flooring products. Most of them range from 5/16" to 1/2" thick.

In most cases, from all the flooring I've installed, flushing out a new floor to an existing floor isn't brought up. Thats only if installing flooring that's of a different type than what's already there. They make mini reducers to transition down from a higher floor to one that's lower. For a flush floor, there's also what's called T-molding which is used to cover the expansion joint, usually 3/4", between the 2 types of flooring.

If flushing out the new floor to the existing flooring just has to be done, then see @isherwood's answer.

  • Your answer is to not think ahead about the major issue - the transition piece - and deal with it after you pick out what you want? – DMoore Nov 29 '18 at 18:29
  • That's not what I said or am saying... I've personally installed several million square feet of flooring in the 12 years I did hardwood floors. What I stated was that the question of flushing out 2 different types of floors isn't usually asked about or a concern... It comes up occasionally but not often. I'll edit my answer. – BillWeckel Nov 29 '18 at 18:41

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