I'm hoping to install vinyl plank flooring. The floor is partially bare concrete and old linoleum - it's also not level at all. Can I pour a primer and self-leveling compound over a floor that's partially bare concrete and partially older linoleum? Or maybe more pertinent, is a self-leveling compound the best solution to level out a floor with split substrates?

Images show the split between concrete/linoleum. The two smaller holes in the concrete are now patched.

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  • How smooth do you want it to be? I've used rubber tiles in my utility room, which conform to the floor. Also, you do want it to slope down to the drain. Commented May 24, 2023 at 18:48
  • Are you planning to float the new floor? You have some additional options if that is your plan.
    – KMJ
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 20:20
  • "Level" isn't as important as "flat." Which one is the problem for you?
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:15
  • @KMJ I should've put that - I am hoping to float the floor. Commented May 25, 2023 at 13:02
  • @Huesmann I guess I don't need perfectly level, but absolutely better than what it is now. The issue may be more flat than level. Commented May 25, 2023 at 13:02

2 Answers 2


Self-leveling compound is only suitable for contained areas or areas within a known level perimeter. You probably want to use some vinyl patch or other skimming compound, applied with a long (16" or longer) trowel. "Embossing leveler" might be ok. Read labels to find something for the thickness you need and for the substrates you have.

Work it in thin applications to just apply enough to flatten out the troublesome areas. Seek to round over any angles very gradually, and fill any depressions to the surrounding level. Consider a belt sander for high areas in the vinyl.

  • Couldn’t find info in a search, would some skimming compounds be ok across the linoleum to concrete divide? Also, am I right in assuming an underlayment like quietwalk for LVP might help some in keeping it smooth? Commented May 26, 2023 at 3:45
  • As I said, read labels. I'm not a product catalog. :) Embossing leveler may be most likely to be compatible with both. Then, follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for your flooring. It'll say in no uncertain terms whether you can use an underlayment or not. I have no idea what you're installing.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 12:43

I've had success a couple of times in the past using fine sand to level a floated floor. Spread it out, approximately level it as you set the floor over it. The sand has to be very fine and dry. For very minor unevenness it worked well, and didn't have any problems in the six years I owned the house after that.

  • Interesting idea, but I wouldn't be surprised if this were to nullify any product warranty. Vinyl should typically be supported by a solid surface. I'd also be worried about it working up through seams.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 19:48
  • 1
    @isherwood Yeah, that's why I asked the clarifying question. I would only consider it under the underlayment. It's not a strong answer, just a 'maybe' that I've had decent luck with before.
    – KMJ
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 22:49

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