SB Is a permit needed if you are changing from rug to wood floors?

Permitting Talk values your knowledge and perspective. Everyone who adds a response to at least two (2) Starbucks threads on 6/13 or 6/14 - for example, this thread and one more - will receive a $10 Starbucks digital gift card. Thank you for your contributions!

BobaChewie

Member
Apr 3, 2024
9
7
I am curious if a permit is required if I wish to change my house from rug floors to wood floors? I have heard flooring is not needed for permits? If so, why is that the case?
 
Location
Los Angeles, California, United States
No you would not need a permit to change interior finishes of your residence.
Similarly, you wouldn't need one to paint walls. The permitting process is to

The rationale behind not requiring permits for minor cosmetic changes like flooring is often based on the principle of balancing safety with practicality. Since flooring changes typically don't involve major structural alterations or pose significant safety risks, local authorities may choose not to require permits for them to streamline the renovation process for homeowners and reduce bureaucratic burden.

Per the LADBS website - A permit is not required where the work regulated by the City’s building code is valued at $500 or less, unless it affects the structural stability of a building, or public safety, or is done to make a building conform to the requirements of this code for change in use or occupancy. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=1500...JTIwaW4lMjB1c2UlMjBvciUyMG9jY3VwYW5jeS4&ntb=1
 
Typically you don't need a permit unless you are things that involve the structure of the building. Except things like siding, this doesn't involve the structure per se, but where I work, we require a permit for this.
 
No you would not need a permit to change interior finishes of your residence.
Similarly, you wouldn't need one to paint walls. The permitting process is to

The rationale behind not requiring permits for minor cosmetic changes like flooring is often based on the principle of balancing safety with practicality. Since flooring changes typically don't involve major structural alterations or pose significant safety risks, local authorities may choose not to require permits for them to streamline the renovation process for homeowners and reduce bureaucratic burden.

Per the LADBS website - A permit is not required where the work regulated by the City’s building code is valued at $500 or less, unless it affects the structural stability of a building, or public safety, or is done to make a building conform to the requirements of this code for change in use or occupancy. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=1500...JTIwaW4lMjB1c2UlMjBvciUyMG9jY3VwYW5jeS4&ntb=1
Thank you for the in depth reply!
 
If it's mostly a cosmetic change then there really is no requirement to obtain a permit to do so. I think the only reason you'd need a permit is if you tore the floor up and replaced it. Putting in carpet or new flooring above an already established floor shouldn't require a permit. But, it couldn't hurt to check with your local permitting office to make sure.
 
You should be free in most places to change from rug to wood flooring without the need for a permit. I still suggest checking up on local regulations and with your local building department just to be on the safe side. Regulations can vary by area, so keep that in mind.

It's mostly viewed as a cosmetic change as it doesn't require a lot of construction, if any at all.
 
Generally speaking, you need permit when you are making structural change, you do not need permit if it is cosmetic change. When you are changing from rug to wood floors, it is a cosmetic change that does not affect the structure or systems of the home, so you do not need a permit.
 
I am curious if a permit is required if I wish to change my house from rug floors to wood floors? I have heard flooring is not needed for permits? If so, why is that the case?
In most cases, changing your flooring from rugs to wood floors in Los Angeles won't require a permit. This is because it's considered a cosmetic change. The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety clarifies that permits are generally not required for installing new floor coverings like hardwood (https://www.ladbs.org/services/core-services/plan-check-permit).

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
  • Subfloor work: If installing the wood flooring involves modifying the subfloor (the layer beneath the existing floor covering), a permit might be necessary. This could include situations like leveling an uneven subfloor or replacing damaged subflooring.
  • Weight considerations: In some cases, particularly for upper floors in older buildings, installing heavier flooring materials like solid wood planks might require a permit to ensure the structure can support the additional weight.
It's always best to check with the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (https://www.ladbs.org/) to confirm whether your specific project requires a permit.
 
In most cases, changing your flooring from rugs to wood floors in Los Angeles won't require a permit. This is because it's considered a cosmetic change. The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety clarifies that permits are generally not required for installing new floor coverings like hardwood (https://www.ladbs.org/services/core-services/plan-check-permit).

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
  • Subfloor work: If installing the wood flooring involves modifying the subfloor (the layer beneath the existing floor covering), a permit might be necessary. This could include situations like leveling an uneven subfloor or replacing damaged subflooring.
  • Weight considerations: In some cases, particularly for upper floors in older buildings, installing heavier flooring materials like solid wood planks might require a permit to ensure the structure can support the additional weight.
It's always best to check with the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (https://www.ladbs.org/) to confirm whether your specific project requires a permit.
A family friend of mine did subfloor work on his house. He thought he was free to do it, but when they came in to check on the work, they found that it would have required a permit. He got the required permit, but it was a burden to be stuck waiting.

Which is always why it's imperative that people check with their local building department as to what the rules and regulations are in their area. Some areas may have more leeway, but just to be safe, it doesn't take much time to verify the rules. Better that than being fined or dealing with work setbacks because of it.
 
Everyone above is correct. In the City of LA you do not need a permit for cosmetic changes. Flooring falls under that category.

Agreed, I think this is pretty standard across building codes. However, I once had to replace flooring in my wife's grandfather's house in Santa Monica and it turned out there was asbestos in the vinyl flooring materials. We had to hire a remediation company to remove all the asbestos and I'm pretty sure there were permits involved. Bottom line is flooring work may not require a building permit but if the house is old (my wife's grandfather's house was built in 1928), you'll need to be on the lookout for asbestos/lead issues and permitting related to those.

I remember living in Santa Monica and driving by old bungalows in various states of disrepair, similar to the house we lived in and remediated. I think asbestos is still fairly prevalent in LA housing, with lots of it encapsulated/undisturbed in building materials like flooring. If you're dealing with an older house, I wouldn't get too cavalier replacing flooring without making sure all boxes are checked on the environmental health front.
 
Changing from rug floors to wood floors typically does not require a permit. As it might be considered a cosmetic alteration rather than a structural change, and it doesn't impact the safety or structural integrity of the building. Regardless, it's always a good idea to check with your local building department to confirm specific regulations and building codes or ordinances.
 
Back
Top