Laminates Flooring Should It Be Glued Down?

So, let’s begin. Laminates: Should they be glued down? A reasonable question and one that should be explained, and the answer is NO, Because Laminates are designed to contract and expand (see Floating Floor below) depending on climate etc, glueing or nailing this type of flooring should be avoided. This could also affect your insurance cover should you need it. Laminate floors support themselves via the locking system that is in its design. 

When Laminate flooring is laid, there will be an expansion gap on the edges, allowing for it to expand and contract to allow for changes in humidity, therefore it is important not to glue or nail it down.

Laminates: Should they be glued down?

What Is A Floating Laminate Floor?

Laminates are designed to sit freely on your subfloor, i.e. NO glue or nails, only on stairways.

 Simply put, a floating floor system is an installation method that allows the flooring to “float‘ freely above your subfloor. That means it’s not attached or held down by nails, although glue is sometimes used along the edges of boards.

As long as your subfloor or underlayment is smooth, clean and dry there should be no problem laying your laminate flooring straight onto it. Certain surfaces are better for Laminates to be laid onto than others, for example, Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles – flat and level, no loose or cracked tiles, even grouting, use underlayment

Concrete Slab – 90 days cured/dried floor, use underlayment

Cork – use underlayment

Hardwood – flat and level, no loose or warped boards, use underlayment

Linoleum – flat and level, use underlayment

LVT – flat and level, if loose-lay remove first, use underlayment

Vinyl sheeting – flat and level, use underlayment

Carpeting, Brick, sand, or Bamboo are NOT recommended to lay laminates over as these surfaces are uneven, this will need to be completely removed before laying laminates and only once the floor has been screeded and an underlay has been secured should the flooring be installed. Most laminates come with a built-in underlay.

Ceramic tiles: Yes, provided that the surface of the floor is flat and level (per our laminate subfloor specifications) and the condition of the floor is good. The tiles themselves must be smooth. You must use padding. Check for cracked or loose tiles and grout. could be signs of a poor floor condition caused by settling that could cause problems for your laminate floor.

  • Concrete slab (above grade): Yes. An above-grade concrete floor will most likely be in a commercial building. If that’s the case and you’re not the building owner, you’d better check first with the landloard. If the building has recently been built, the concrete must be completely cured for a minimum of 90 days before installation. We would still recommend a 6-mil vapor barrier and, of course, underlayment padding before installing the laminate flooring.
  • Concrete-slab (below grade): Yes, but be careful. These are usually found in residential basements, and you must be careful about moisture migration from the ground through the concrete. We recommend several ways to test this with steps you can take to control the moisture. And, the concrete must be completely cured for a minimum of 90 days.

    You must use a 6-mil vapor barrier and, of course, underlayment padding. Drains of any kind, French or otherwise, are clear indicators that this concrete floor is not acceptable for laminate flooring installation.

Cork: Yes. But just because it’s a cork floor doesn’t mean you can skip the underlayment. You’ll still need that before installing your laminate floor.

Hardwood flooring: Yes. Keep in mind that in many older homes (40 and older) the planks may be in poor condition, warped, etc. Examine carefully. Inconsistencies in the level of the floor’s surface could create stress points for the locking mechanism used by the laminate flooring joints and that will cause problems later on.

  • Linoleum: Yes, provided the surface is flat and level (per our subfloor specifications) and the condition of the floor is good. You must use padding.

LVT Floor (tiles or planks): Yes. The surface must be level (per our subfloor specifications) ensuring the condition of the floor is good. You must use padding. Some LVT products are floating systems or “loose-lay” and are easy to remove (preferable). If the floor is glued down, be sure you remove all of the adhesives before installing laminate flooring.

  • Plywood: Yes. Plywood is most-often used as a subfloor in construction. As with all subfloors, it must meet laminate installation specifications.

Porcelain tile: Yes. The surface of the floor must be flat and level (per our subfloor specifications) and the condition of the floor is good. The tiles themselves must be smooth. You must use padding. Check for cracked or loose tiles and grout these could be signs of a poor floor condition caused by settling which could cause problems for your laminate floor, too

Sheet-vinyl: Yes, provided that the surface is flat and level (per our subfloor specifications) and the condition of the floor is good. You must use padding when installing laminate flooring over sheet vinyl.

Laminate Flooring & Stairs

When it comes to stairs, laminates can be fixed into place by glueing them down to keep them in place. Below are some basic steps on how to lay Laminates on a staircase.

  • The size of each step may be slightly wider than the width of the laminate so ordering a few more will be beneficial so that you can cut two planks to cover the width.
  • When you choose your laminates be sure to get a textured finish rather than a smooth finish as this will minimize any slipping, especially if you have children or using it in commercial space 
  • Before you lay the laminate flooring make sure the stairs are clean, dry and smooth.  Remove any patches of glue or rough spots before gluing planks in place.
  • Give the glued laminates on your stairs between 12 and 24 hours to set, so try and avoid any traffic on the stairs during this time.

A trained fitter will be able to install the Laminates as well as finish with stair nosing, riser pieces and nose strips making your stairs look perfect.

Choose Your Laminate Flooring.

Laminate flooring can be installed on stairs, or anywhere else that you would install hardwood flooring. The major issue with installing laminate flooring on stairs is durability, stairs tend to get more wear and tear than most other surfaces in your home. For this reason, it is advisable to ask the supplier or manufacturer for the most hard-wearing laminate they have.

  • In addition, laminate flooring can be high-gloss and very slippery – which may be a concern if you have young children in the house. To minimize the risk of slipperiness, go for laminate flooring with a textured, matte finish.
  • You should also specify that you want matching nose stripping when choosing your laminate, as many manufacturers do not have matching nose stripping for all of their flooring.
  • In terms of quantity, you should order about 10% more flooring than you actually need in order to cover the square footage of stairs. This is necessary as you may need to cut a number of boards to fill in extra spaces. It will also allow you a comfortable margin for potential errors.

You should avoid using the stairs (as far as possible) for 12-24 hours after you finish the flooring. This will give the glue adequate time to set and allow the new flooring to settle.

Can You Nail Down Laminate Flooring?

Laminate is designed as a floating floor, and as such, should not be fixed to the sub-floor. It will naturally contract and expand to changes in humidity and nailing it down will disrupt this. This can damage the integrity of the floor and generate problems, such as floor peaking, in the future.

How About Gluing Laminate Down? Can You Glue Laminate Flooring? 

Glueing down laminate to the subfloor is not advisable. Since laminate is designed as a floating floor and is meant to contract and expand naturally, glueing it down will disrupt this process. The only exception is when you’re installing it on stairs wherein the laminate should be fixed to the steps.

With the exception of stairs installation, there is only one way to put down and install laminate flooring to any room and that is to just lay it flat, over an underlayment, without any adhesives or nails, onto the sub-floor. There are of course some preparations that should still be done and requirements that should also be met during the installation process.

As mentioned above, laminate flooring is designed as a floating floor, and as such, should be allowed to move freely. Laminates are made with a fiberboard core that gives the planks their stability and support.

Laminate planks thickness typically ranges between 6 and 12mm but some manufacturers have thicker options. Although its core is not as strong as hardwood floors, this is one of the reasons why they can keep the costs down.

Having a fiberboard core, laminate flooring is sensitive to moisture and will react if excessively wet. It will naturally expand and contract as it adjusts to the humidity and moisture levels of the room.

This is why it is important to acclimate laminate before installation so that it normalizes to the normal conditions of a room. You can read more about acclimating laminate flooring in this article.

The natural expansion and contraction of laminate flooring is also the reason why an expansion gap is provided at its edges. This allows the laminate enough room to move freely as it adjusts to the changes in humidity.

If you nail down or glue down laminate flooring to the subfloor, you will disrupt its natural process of expansion and contraction. Fixing it to the sub-floor will eventually lead it to accumulate damages and it will not last as long as it should be. Nailing, screwing, or gluing it down will also void the warranty of the product.

What About The Quality Of Your Laminates?


Just because your choice to install laminate flooring is better on the pocket does not mean you’re not getting quality, but make sure you choose a reputable retailer who knows their product.

Genuine Laminate flooring is graded for quality purposes so if you can find out what grade it is then you’re on the right track. The sales assistant can give you these grades and the higher the grade the better quality your laminate will be.

If possible, try and take away some samples of the laminate you are interested in, so that you can visualise what it will look like in the space you’re planning. Texture, colour and style are important when choosing laminates, and there are many to choose from, so getting the correct one will enhance the aesthetics of your room.

An important factor to consider is the environmental aspect of the company you are choosing to buy your laminate from. They need to have a green code of ethics.

When it comes to the grade or ratings, we don’t recommend grades lower than 3. For closets and areas that have very low traffic these lower grades are suitable, but for bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms etc, grade 3 and up are best. 

Remembering that if you have pets and children this will depend on how long your laminates last, so choosing a higher, more expensive grade will lead to a longer lifespan of your flooring.

The higher the grade or rating, the longer the warranty, so careful maintenance of your floor will give you many years of wear. Unlike hardwood flooring, laminates cannot be sanded once damaged.

Laminates: Should they be glued down?

AC Ratings

Abrasion Class (AC) Ratings are broken down into five levels, labelled AC1 through AC5. Levels AC4 and AC5 are appropriate for commercial use, while AC1 through AC3 are residential. The AC Ratings are as follows: AC1 is for home use with minimal traffic, like bedrooms or closets. AC2 is suitable for moderate-traffic home use like living rooms and dining rooms. AC3 is best for higher traffic and heavy-use residential areas like kitchens or laundry rooms and can be used in light commercial applications like small offices or hotel rooms. AC4 is designed for light commercial use like small shops, and AC5 is the heaviest rating, used in larger commercial settings.

Lower AC ratings may be less expensive, but it’s a good idea to look at lifetime use. How long a floor will last depends on many factors, including level and type of traffic and how it’s maintained.

In a household with pets or small children, a higher AC rating will provide longer floor life. While a room that gets little use would be fine with a lower rating.

Manufacturer’s warranties start at 10 to 15 years, and many go as high as 25 or 30 years for higher wear ratings. When choosing the right-wear rating, look at the budget as well as lifestyle and budget for repairs and replacement down the road before deciding what’s right for you.

Laminate flooring does not last as long as hardwood flooring, which can have a lifespan of around 75 years if properly maintained. It also cannot be sanded and refinished like wood. Once the top layer wears away, it must be replaced.

FloorTrader recommends you always ask about and look closely at these three factors:

  1. The grade: Laminate is graded for quality. Some of the higher grades will be pricier, but bear in mind that the quality will be exceptional. A professional sales person can take you through the various grades of the laminates, how the quality contributes to the laminate installation, and the overall look and feel of the installation. There are companies of ill repute out there, and the last thing you want is buyer’s remorse – stick with a company that knows laminates and laminate installations.
  2. Ask to look at samples: A professional flooring company, such as FloorTrader, will readily have samples on hand, and will even invite you to view sites where the same laminate has been installed, to give you a holistic view of the end result. This is particularly helpful for larger installations, such as at business premises or retail stores. A good installation will not show any unevenness. There should be no gaps and the floorboards should be locked together seamlessly to create a beautiful surface.
  3. Green is good: Ask about the flooring’s environmental footprint, and make sure the company you are dealing with follows a good green code of ethics in its own business and with its suppliers.

Be assured of quality, from start to finish, when you choose FloorTrader for your laminate flooring installation. Contact us today.

Laminate floors are graded for quality on a three-level scale: good, better and best. Products with higher grades are likely to be more expensive, so you might not be able to make your decision on this factor alone.

What About Noise?

The great thing about good quality laminate flooring is that most have a pre-installed underlay which helps with noise issues.  If your laminate has no attached underlay, then you will need to put underlay onto your sub-floor.

When a laminate floor is installed, the subfloor must be prepared before the laminate tiles can be put down. Some laminate materials come with pre-installed underlayment, while others require an underlayment to be put down on the subfloor prior to installation.

If no underlayment is installed, and none is attached to the laminate, you may have issues with noise. The only remedy for this problem is to pull up the floor and lay foam underlayment down between the laminate and the subfloor.

In summary,

Laminates are convenient, have great appeal, can be easily installed because of the click-lock system, so no glueing is necessary unless on a staircase, are supplied in a variety of colours and styles and give a fresh, clean appearance to any living space.

For more information on where to buy laminates in either plank or tile form you can find them by following the links below:

Select your Vinyl
Select your Laminates
Select your Engineered Timber