Many people would never consider building a wall over an existing floor. Some people may even say you can’t. As it turns out, you absolutely can.
The biggest consideration for putting a wall over laminate flooring is that most laminate flooring nowadays is considered a floating floor. This means that the flooring is not glued or nailed down, merely fitted together and laid down.
Floating flooring has advantages and disadvantages. One benefit of floating floors is that they have room to move and shift with humidity. As the house expands and contracts, the floor moves freely enough to avoid buckling or creating gaps.
Unfortunately, floating flooring can also be noisy if the right subflooring is not in place. However, it is easier to replace sections of a floating floor than glued-down flooring. As floating flooring is easier to install and often the cheaper option, many houses use it now.
When it comes to building a wall over laminate, the fact that it is a floating floor can be a problem.
There are two options for installing a wall over the laminate floor: leave it as is, or cut it out.
Option 1 – Leave It As Is
If you choose to leave the laminate as it is, putting a wall over it may impede its ability to shift and expand. You should also consider if you plan to install new flooring anytime soon. While working around flooring trapped beneath a wall is not impossible, it is a royal pain.
If you want to leave the existing floor in place, then go ahead and put the wall in. You can use regular wood for all sides. Start by screwing the floor plate to the floor. You will probably need concrete screws unless you only plan to screw the plate into the existing floor.
As this is not a load-bearing wall, it technically doesn’t need to attach to the floor so long as the sides and top are secure and the fit is perfect. The pressure will keep it in place.
Option 2 – Cut It Out
Alternatively, should you choose to cut out the existing floor, start by measuring it with respect to the size of your floor plate. You will need plastic-wrapped or pressure-treated wood to act as your floor plate if you are placing it on concrete. Regular wood will rot.
Using a circular saw, set the blade to the depth of the flooring and cut out the section where the wall will go. Remove the subfloor as well.
Place the floor plate in the groove and screw it in using concrete screws. Keep in mind that if you are cutting the floor, you will want to take out a few extra millimeters on both sides to allow the floor to expand and shift. That’s pretty important!
Once you have chosen one of the methods above and you have your floor plate in place, now attach the ceiling plate. Add vertical studs at both ends of the wall.
Screw them into the ceiling plate, floor plate, and existing walls.
After the frame is in, screw in vertical studs every 16 inches. If one or both of the ends is free-standing, add a second vertical stud on the inside of the end ones.
Mark the horizontal line through the middle of each stud and start adding the horizontal studs. Also incorporate any wiring you want at this point.
Next, attach the drywall to one side of the new wall. Add any insulation or soundproofing you want, then add on the other side’s drywall. Finish up with plaster and painting.
For even more detailed instructions, check out this helpful video:
One of the benefits of building a wall over laminate flooring is that you don’t need to worry about fancy footings. As it will not be a load-bearing wall, you are free to simply install the wall.
If you put the new wall between two other walls and up to the ceiling, you don’t even have to screw the floor plate down. The pressure fit is enough to hold it, and it won’t damage the floor. You may need reinforcement if you plan to add a door, however.
While it may seem that adding a wall over the existing floor would cause it to become a floating wall, this is not the case. A floating wall still has a floor plate. However, the bottom of the wall only connects to it via a few steel spikes.
The wall is being held up by the ceiling and the other walls to which it is connected. You can build a floating wall over laminate flooring, but you do not have to. If you plan to make a partial or half wall, you should not build it as a floating wall.
If you want to build a wall over laminate flooring, you can either go straight over the floor or cut out a channel. Both methods work, and both have their pros and cons.
Just remember, no matter which you choose, you need to consider that laminate is a floating floor. The size of your room, humidity level, and your preferences should determine whether you cut or cover the floor.