The best flooring for uneven surfaces

Written by john landers
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The best flooring for uneven surfaces
Installing new flooring over an uneven surface may cost more money in the long run. (Getty Images)

Most floor manufacturers recommend repairing or replacing uneven floor surfaces. Installation of a new floor on top of an uneven surface results in the new floor covering appearing uneven. Failure to fix the defect may cause the new floor to squeak or buckle and void any warranty on the covering. The uneven floor may also present a tripping hazard. Usually, flooring coverings placed over uneven surfaces experience excess wear where the floor dips or bulges. This will result in replacing the floor covering sooner than expected.

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Vinyl tile

Vinyl tile provides durability and easy maintenance. Its numerous colours and style choices make it a common choice for floor coverings. The material comes in two types: vinyl composite tile (VCT) and solid vinyl. VCT provides an excellent high shine. However, its porous nature requires sealants to protect the material and yield a better shine. Vinyl composite tile contains asbestos fibres wood flour, vinyl resins and colour pigments. Solid vinyl has many of the same attributes as VCT. The floor can absorb sound waves, which makes it quieter. However, its composition, which consists of plastic material, will show imperfections in the subfloor. Cover an uneven floor with an underlay before installing this type of vinyl tile.


When a bedroom, family room or other living space has an uneven floor, and moisture is not a concern, carpeting represents the best flooring option. Installing a carpet pad as an underlayment evens out slight flaws in the floor. However, the carpet pad offers only a temporary solution to the uneven surface. The pad will have a shorter lifespan as it wears out in the uneven area.

Laminate flooring

In recent years, laminated flooring has become a popular choice for many homeowners. Its durability, trendy appearance and low maintenance requirements make it an affordable alternative to hardwood. Laminated flooring has a composite wood base covered with a layer of resin. The resin receives an imprint during processing that gives it a hardwood finish. Before installation, the installer should install a thin 3 mm (1/8-inch) foam underlay, which will cover minor imperfections in the subfloor.

Ceramic tile

Many homeowners choose ceramic tile or similar material for kitchens and bathrooms. The most important component of a successful tile project is a solid, even subfloor. Spread a floor leveller compound to even out slight dips or waves in the subfloor. Available in liquid or powder form, floor leveller products generally have a Portland cement composition and adhere to wood or concrete. The leveller will have to dry for 24 hours before you proceed with the tile installation.

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