How many of us fellow renters have dreamt this very same idea: covering up an ugly rental unit carpet with wood flooring? Is it even possible? Seattle renter, Sumit Basu, covered up his low pile apartment carpet with a snap-in laminate floor, sharing tips of the process with a how-to video documenting the upgrade process...
Bored with the dark, bland, low-pile carpet in my living room, I decided to install a "wood" (laminate) floor to cover part of my living space. The challenge, though, was that this is a rental, so I couldn't damage/remove the existing carpet. This video shows how I did it, from the initial strategy to how to cut and assemble the pieces and finish the boundary between the laminate area and the carpeted area. Note that if you're planning on doing this in your own place, you should check with your landlord first to make sure it's okay.
Sumit's results are admittedly impressive, as there's nearly nothing disheartening to a renter than ugly rental carpet (the gift that keeps on giving). But there would definitely be concern about the long term condition of keeping a floating surface over carpet if humidity (and thus, mold) is an issue, alongside the inevitable warp/flex which would appear due to foot traffic. Also, if and when a liquid is spilled, the possibility of seepage through to the sub-flooring (the once detested carpet underneath) could cause issues.
All these concerns spell out, "proceed with caution", with a special note to ask your landlord first about doing anything flooring related. You might be surprised and discover your landlord agrees it may be time to pull out the 70's orange carpet in your living room and replace it with something new and properly installed.