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I have a 1906 farm house with horribly damaged wood floors. I would rather refinish the hardwood floors but in this case it is not worth it. There is water damage that would need to be repaired and there are areas of poorly made repairs over the many years since the original floor was laid - sections of the floor were replaced with plywood, there are gaps around the edges of the room. Plus there was both glue down carpeting and glue down vinyl over the hardwood at different times.

I'm looking to put down floating vinyl planking and want to know three things:

  • If the gaps are filled appropriately, can the planking go directly over the hardwood?
  • OR do I need to lay a plywood or other subfloor first and over the existing floor or by removing the hardwood first?
  • What other prep would you advise? I don't think using a self-leveler is an option given the added weight.

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  • If it's feasible to correct for interference at doors, and the existing floor is physically sound, I'd put a solid subfloor over the existing, thoroughly nailed down. Mar 29 at 18:42
  • The answer lies in the literature for your flooring product. It's not a question for us. I would start by shooting two 2" ring-shank nails through every board into every joist to minimize noise. Please see the help center and take the tour.
    – isherwood
    Mar 29 at 18:42
  • That type of flooring wants flatness, any dips/ridges/waves over 2/16 of an inch is not good. The gaps at the wall edges might be okay, no one really walks there, but if there are old planks/hardwood that has one lifted to the next, that needs fixing. Get a long straight edge to check.
    – crip659
    Mar 29 at 18:43
  • I would not put a floating floor over the floor as it is. It really needs a 1/4" of plywood underlayment over the floor to unify it. The joints in the plywood need to occur only on the strip flooring not letting the joints in the plywood line up with the joints in the original floor. You do not want one piece of plywood nailed to one piece of original floor and the next piece of plywood nailed to the next one. This may cause the joint to move if nailed that way. You may be able to use a straightedge to find and fix some of the problem areas before the 1/4" goes down. That will save work later.
    – Jack
    Mar 30 at 0:01

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Your floor is a good candidate for LVP

As others mentioned, nail down any boards that are loose.

Fill in any big gaps ( larger than 1/4" wide and 1/8" deep) I use Henry feather finish.

Consider putting down an underlayment meant for LVP such as Quietwalk Luxury Vinyl underlayment. It will help with some of the unevenness.

I find that the fear of not having a subfloor that is perfectly flat somewhat unnecessary. A good quality LVP that has a total thickness of at least 5.5mm has a core that is thick enough to stand up well over many years.

Insatal any product according to the manufacturers' instructions and you will be happy with the results.

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