My floor has two layers of laminate flooring and the first layer is partially removed around the edges of the kitchen cabinets and walls. The top layer is glued down very well and I'm wondering if I could install engineered hardwood over it even though the surface will not be level. I've heard you can install engineered hardwood over laminate but what about 1 and a partial layer? If I need to get the top layer off what is the best way to get the bottom layer clean and level?
The subfloor needs to be level or you will not be satisfied with the result. It is possible that gaps might telegraph through the flooring if it isn't thick enough.
Can you remove the toe kicks from the cabinets or some of the baseboard (or shoe mould?) to enable you to remove the first layer. Try to cut as close to the cabinets as you can using a utility knife or other tool - perhaps protect the cabinet using a putty knife or framing square if you have one (knife scars in the side of a cabinet can be hard to repair).
If you have a small gap, you can cover it with a shoe mould, or quarter round.