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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?

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Are the cabinets on top of the first layer? Why remove just the second layer and not the first as well?

To remove both you could use a circular saw with the blade depth carefully set to the combined thickness of the two floors (or just a hair shallow, using a utility knife to finish the cuts).

  • yes, the cabinets are on the first layer. I suppose I could take both out, trying to do the least amount of work and still have the best result. – Justin T. Watts Dec 29 '14 at 4:30
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    @JustinT.Watts - The concepts of "the least amount of work" and "the best result" are in complete opposition and inversely proportional to each other. – Michael Karas Dec 29 '14 at 12:44
  • If you want to leave the cabinets on the first layer I'd still remove it from the rest of the floor. You might need to install a new kickplate or some trim to hide the extra layer beneath the cabinets. Cutting and pulling both floors will likely be less work than trying to peel off the top layer and leave the lower layer suitable for installation of a new floor. – STW Dec 29 '14 at 18:02
  • Sounds logical, now I have found nails in the bottom layer so now I'm glad I waited to take a circular saw to the floor. As far as I can tell they are the nails for the floor that have come up so I'll need to get the first layer up then pound the nails back in past the floor and get filler, correct? – Justin T. Watts Dec 29 '14 at 19:31
  • I wouldn't have expected a laminate floor to be nailed--is it a floating floor that was nailed, or maybe not laminate? You can get circular blades that will handle nails without kickback, but if every piece is nailed then it won't come up in large easy pieces. You might still cut it with the saw but you'll have to do more scraping and prying to get each piece up. – STW Dec 30 '14 at 0:01
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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.

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