How to Install Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab

I’m installing a floating laminate floor on a concrete slab. Do I need to be concerned about moisture? -Gerald

Hi Gerald,

Excessive moisture is definitely a concern with laminate flooring on any subfloor, but particularly when installing it on a concrete slab. Before installing laminate flooring on a concrete slab, test the concrete first to be sure it’s dry enough:

  • A new concrete slab should have cured for a minimum of 30 days before installing any type of flooring, including laminate.
  • Before installing laminate flooring on a new or existing concrete slab, test the slab with a moisture meter to be sure it has no more than a 4.5% moisture reading.
  • Another (less accurate) way to test the moisture in a concrete slab is by taping an 18” x 18” piece of plastic to the concrete on all four sides, then allow the plastic to remain in place for 48 to 72 hours. If there is moisture under the plastic or it feels damp underneath, the slab has too high a moisture content to install a laminate floor.

If the concrete slab is dry enough to install laminate flooring:

  • Read and follow all instructions that came with your laminate flooring.
  • Fill in any low spots in the slab with floor patch compound and allow the compound to set.
  • Cover the concrete floor with a sheet of 6 mil plastic to act as a vapor barrier.
  • Lay foam sheeting on top of the plastic, if recommended by the maker of your laminate flooring.
  • Place the laminate flooring cartons in the room and allow the flooring to acclimate to the humidity in the room for 2-4 days before installing.
  • When installing the flooring, leave a 1/4” gap on all sides of the laminate floor to allow for expansion.

Good luck with your project,


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19 Comments on “How to Install Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab”

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    February 2nd, 2018 at 5:05 pm


  • Bobby Germani Says:
    January 31st, 2018 at 7:56 am

    I just purchased laminate flooring people are telling me that I need heat in the room we are talking about 200 sq foot this is a breeze way from the house to the garage it’s going to be a floating floor over concrete the breeze way is going to be closed in from all elements we are turning the breeze way into a room they have also said that it needs to be heated or cooless between 60 to 80 degrees at all times help never heard of anything like this they are making me nervous

  • Ronald Finnerty Says:
    November 24th, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Ihope this helps afew of you out now and future folk with similar questions.
    1. Concrete will always “wick” water through it.
    2. Purpose of Vapor barrier is to limit the concrete “wicked” moisture from getting to the next layer.
    3. Vapor barriers can be done by etching the concrete surfac with muric acid then applying a sealing coat of poly-urethane or epoxy type coating and letting that dry thoroughly for 2 days befor putting next flooring material down.
    A vapor barrier of one to two layers or 6mm polyethylene plastic down, most suggest glueing this to the concrete in some manner.
    4. Laminate with FOAM backing: the backing purpose is to cushion the flooring materialso it is a softer feeling to surface to walk on. This is similar to the purpose of carpet padding used with carpet, it makes it feel softer.
    5. Basement concrete is definitely more prone to moisture that ground level and higher. The moisture getting into the concrete comes from rain water seeping into the ground around the homes perimeter and from the relative ground water level. The further you get from those the dryer it should be.
    To sum up:
    Use materials for what they are designed for don’t substitute and hope. If below grade install a good vaper barrier but first make sure water/moisture isn’t coming thru the edges of the wall or create a protective gap a few inches back from your wall edge trench , if you have one. Use padding because you want a softer walking surface not as replacement for moisture barrier. IN ALL CASES WITH CONCRETE USE SOME FORM OF MOISTURE BARRIER.This doesn’t matter if you install wood, carpet, laminate even linoleam, although some better linoleums this may be unnecesssary.
    Tile flooring is also porous, “wicks water”, but I would use polyeurethane coating the concrete just to be safe, and protect from moisture causing tile joint cracks. I’m a belt AND suspenders type guy.
    hope this helps someone.

  • KeithM Says:
    October 31st, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Which direction in relation to traffic should a floor be laid?

  • DALE SHARP Says:
    October 27th, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Do I need to use plastic barrier on a concrete floor if the flooring has foam backing?

  • Baz Phillips Says:
    January 26th, 2017 at 4:10 am

    I purchased 6mm laminate flooring for a room 9 sq m
    I opened the 1st pack to read instructions and the 1st line read furniture not to exceed 115kg so my question is could I spread the weight by standing this item I have (that I know weighs more ) on weight baring board (s) aesthetically it’s not a problem as it will eventually be moved to another location, but not for several months.

  • Barb Says:
    May 10th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    We want to install a 14mm laminate floor on our hydronic heated concrete basement (on grade) floor. There is a plastic vapor barrier under the concrete. Do we need to put down another vapor barrier over the concrete before we install the laminate flooring?
    We are concerned that moisture may then become sandwiched between the two layers of plastic and have no chance to evaporate once trapped.
    Thank you for your reply.

  • Aaron Says:
    March 2nd, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I am installing Pergo laminate on a concrete slab and will have a 12′ carpet transition to secure. If I take up the existing metal carpet transition how will the carpet be secured to the floor using the pergo transition pieces?

  • saurabh pare Says:
    September 29th, 2015 at 8:46 am

    hi i am Saurabh Pare from India..
    i was thinking about why not to laminate the floor with the molten polythene (plastic)…
    it will also help to get rid of (plastic) and it would not be noisy too… and if it could be transparent,,, the color of the floor will also not get affected.

  • Henry Says:
    July 7th, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    should I install laminate flooring on my basement concrete floor with foam backing with a vapour barrier or without a vapour barrier?

  • joseph dorsett Says:
    July 5th, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Good Day,
    I believe a “concrete slab” does not react the same as a basement concrete floor when it comes to moisture. I would like to install my wood laminate over a basement concrete floor using plastic vapor barrier then the wood laminate with no backing. None of the comments refer to a basement concrete floor.
    Thank You

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Hi Bert,
    The comment section under each of our posts is for visitors to leave a comment, it is not intended as a question and answer forum. If you have a home improvement question you would like answered, you can call our radio show hotline at (800) 946-4420 or submit it online at If your question is answered on the show, you will receive an email directing you to the show online so you can listen to the answer. Thank you for your interest!

  • Bert Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Does anyone ever get an answer on here?

  • Debra Hogan Says:
    February 14th, 2015 at 4:35 am

    “Creaking Laminate”? We purchased 10mm laminate and had it professionally installed by a Home Improvement Store contractor. They tested the floor for moisture and said we did not need the barrier. We purchased the best pad for sound and were told it had a moisture barrier on the bottom. Laminate was acclimated to room, space left around perimeter,leveling done with concrete in low areas. It has been a month and the floor is creaky almost everywhere. The product was rated Medium Commercial traffic. We had the installer and an independent inspector come and they said it was the product. It has high ratings online and no complaints of noise. They put the laminate on top of our tile and it produced the same noise. We have it in all living areas and they will move furniture and repeat the process. I am fearful to get another laminate. It is extremely stressful to think of repeating this process. What do you think is the cause?

  • Charles Oldendorf Says:
    February 11th, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Concrete is very picky , as a roofer and water proofer for 52 years concrete can be dry in one season and damp or wet in another , concrete seeps some water , enough to damage wood , Seal floors with concrete primer and a more durable coating over the top if theres a moisture problem ( only when concrete is dry ) this will take care of most moisture problems after that follow manufactures recommendations as to applying product , glue down , use there compatible glue , the wrong glue could be very costly , solid hard wood ( use lath strips ) it allows a space for moisture vapors to escapes and leaving a 1/2 , 3/4 in gap around outside edge ! Moisture will wreck any wood in time !

  • Miles Says:
    December 7th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I have a concrete floor that does have too much moisture content. I have installed a dehumidifier to help with it. If I put down thick plastic, can I install laminate or the vinyl floating floor?

  • William Aguirre Says:
    November 10th, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I removed tile from a concrete slab. the surface is not smooth, but is leveled. big holes were patched, small holes were left untouched. Do I still need to use a self leveling mix to make a very smooth surface before installing laminate floor??, or, can I use it as-is??

  • Ann Tillman Says:
    August 10th, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    We have a home that is built on a concrete slab and we have vinyl laminate flooring. Our builder didn’t put down a vapor barrier, only the rolled out foam sheeting. We have buckling on our floors now. The builder says it’s because of my husbands wheelchair. I think it’s because of the underlayment. Who’s correct?

  • david murphy Says:
    December 27th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    concrete slab is in the livingroom and dinningroom in the dinning area at one side of the wall you can see that the slab floor has drop down from the molding 1/2 inch //some one told me that would get a contracter to drill holes and they pump concrete in the holes to rise the floor ????? why dont i just put some quick dry down my self

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How to Install Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab