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What Types of Subfloor Are Best?

When it comes to installing new flooring, the subfloor serves an important function but often goes overlooked. A properly prepared and installed subfloor is critical for the longevity and performance of your flooring. This article will explore why it’s important and how it relates to luxury vinyl, laminate, and other flooring options.

What is a Subfloor?

A subfloor is an essential element of a home’s structure that serves as a foundation for the flooring material. It is usually made of wood or concrete and is installed on top of the joists, which are horizontal beams that support the floor’s weight. The purpose of the subfloor is to provide a stable and level surface for the installation of the finished flooring material, such as hardwood, tile, or carpet.

In-home renovation projects, the subfloor is often one of the first things addressed. This is because the condition of the subfloor can greatly impact the success of the renovation project. If the subfloor is in poor condition, it can cause issues with the finished flooring, such as unevenness, squeaking, or even structural damage. It is highly recommended to professionally replace poor subflooring.

Types of Subfloor

Different types of subfloors can be used in home renovations or commercial and residential building. Some of the most common include:

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
Radiant Heat

Plywood is the most common subfloor and is a popular choice because of its strength, durability,and ease of installation. Plywood subfloors are made of layers of wood veneer that are then glued together. Plywood can be used with a variety of flooring materials.

OSB subfloor is an engineered wood made from strands pressed with wax and resin. It is also strong and durable.

Concrete is used frequently in many commercial and industrial situations. It has fire-resistant properties and is often used in basements or on slabs. Concrete is, of course, highly durable and long-lasting. It can be more expensive than plywood and difficult to work with.

Radiant Heat subfloor is designed to be used with radiant heating systems. These unique systems provide warmth through the floor. These subfloors can be made from various materials.

Check the Subfloor

In a remodel the subfloor will be checked for damage, large dips, or unevenness. A poor subfloor should be repaired or replaced by a professional. Ensuring that the finished flooring will be level and stable is essential.

Installing the Subfloor

Once the subfloor is in good condition, the installation process can begin. The installation process will differ depending on the type of subfloor used. If using a plywood subfloor, the first step is to ensure the subfloor is clean and level, and free of debris. Lay down a moisture barrier, protecting the subfloor from moisture and help prevent rot.

Next, plywood sheets are cut to size and attached to the joists using screws or nails. To prevent movement or shifting, the plywood must be properly aligned and secured to the joists.

For concrete subfloors, the installation process is slightly different in that you must prepare the surface by smoothing and leveling the concrete. Once the concrete is smooth and level, you’ll still need a moisture barrier installed, and finally, the flooring material is installed on top of it.

Overall, the subfloor is an essential element of a home renovation project. It provides a stable and level foundation for the finished flooring material, and it is crucial to ensure that it is in good condition before proceeding with the renovation. Whether you are using a plywood or concrete, it is essential to follow proper installation techniques for the sub floor and the actual flooring to ensure a successful and long-lasting renovation project.

What is the Best Subfloor for My Home?

Before installing or considering a new subfloor, it is important to consider factors such as the type of flooring you’ll be installing, the type and amount of traffic, the use of the space, and environmental issues such as humidity or moisture levels. Working with a professional subflooring contractor is important to determine the best subfloor for your home or business.

At Refloor, we’ll provide guidance and help with your flooring material selection, installation requirements, and costs to ensure you have the most beautiful floor for your home. Call us today for a free, noobligation in-home estimate.

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