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I recently installed luxury vinyl plank in our kitchen. Prior to the installation, there was a section of hardwood and a section of carpet. I took out the hardwood so that I would be able to have a level surface for all of the LVP to be installed on.

The hardware was glued down to sheets of particleboard and pulling up the hardwood did a lot of damage to the particleboard. I did what I could to fill in the bumps, but after installing it, there are sections where it just feels uneven to walk on, with slight divots in different places. If I could go back, I would have cut out the particleboard under the hardwood and replace it with new particleboard.

I’m concerned that these divots might cause damage to the LVP over time, and of course I would like it to feel a bit better to walk on. Has anyone been in a similar situation to me? Did you leave it as is and was it fine over time? (I feel like I might be extra sensitive about walking on it, because it was just installed). Would it be worth dismantling the LVP and putting new particleboard underneath the uneven section?

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  • I don't have any long term experience with LVP (I've had in in one room for 4 years now; a kitchen for 3 months), but my experience with sheet vinyl & vinyl tiles is that, over time, any little imperfection or bump in the underlayment will eventually work its way to the surface and become visible,
    – SteveSh
    Nov 13, 2022 at 19:09
  • LVP and LVT have a dense solid core that does not flex or allow transfer of imperfections like vinyl would.
    – RMDman
    Nov 14, 2022 at 14:35
  • you can "mudjack" the low spots by drilling a small hole and injecting meted wax, hotglue, sprayfoam, etc. On large areas, drill a 2nd vent hole and inject until material surfaces. Put some bricks on there until it dries, but don't walk on it wet.
    – dandavis
    Nov 14, 2022 at 20:16

3 Answers 3

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If the divots and unevenness occur in frequently walked areas, you risk damaging the tight connection and seal between the planks. The planks will start to separate with unsightly kitchen grime collecting in the tiny gaps. Further, spills might seep into these cracks, causing permanent water damage or becoming the source of foul odour.

You might also experience cracking of the planks. Replacing a plank is laborious if not impossible, and hopefully you have extras set aside.

In less walked portions of the kitchen small unevenness would not be a problem, even if noticeable.

So assess the location of the imperfection, and lean towards re-laying if in doubt.

You don't have to replace the subfloor, and instead lay 1/4in or 3/8in plywood over it. Filling with self levelling cement is another option, but you'll need a special highly-flexible formulation for applicaiton on a wood subfloor.

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How serious this issue is and what needs to be done depends on how high the bumps were and how deep and wide the divots were. If the divots were about the diameter of a quarter and if the bumps no greater than 1/8 inch, I think you will be ok after the flooring has had some time to "relax" to the subfloor. I have had new LVT and LVP floors that felt a bit uneven when first put down, but then "relaxed" to the slight contours and were fine. A LVT floor In my master bath had similar issues to what you describe after laying over old tile, but a month or so of used made it feel fine. I find there is not the seam separation or splitting as there is with laminate flooring.

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The manufacturer of my LVP has the following requirements for subfloor flatness:

flatness: no more than ¼" in 10ft., Slope not more than 1" per 6 ft. (6mm in 3m, Slope not more than 25mm per 1.8m) No abrupt height differences. High spots should be sanded or ground down and low areas should be filled

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