Preparing a wood subfloor can increase the longevity of your floor especially when it comes to laminate and hardwood floors.

Step 1. Pull up the existing floor and remove the baseboards (a pry bar usually does the trick).

Step 2. Leave a ¼” gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for expansion from heat and moisture. Chalk lines are great to use for identifying that ¼’’ gap and helping with measuring those end pieces. For floating floors, it’s at this point you need to check to see that the width of all materials being used fits under doors or anything else.

Step 3. For glue-down floors, use a sander on your wood subfloor to remove paint, adhesives, oil, wax, or other materials that can compromise the glue being used.

Step 4. Check the moisture level of your wood subfloor to determine whether you need a high-moisture glue or a standard glue that are easier to trowel (if you have plywood over concrete, it’s a good idea to check the moisture level of the concrete as well).

Step 5. The last thing to do is check for any loose boards that need to be secured by screwing down into the floor joists.

Once your wood subfloor is prepared, it’s time for underlayment and moisture barriers. For underlayment and moisture barriers, unroll them on top of your wood subfloor and make sure they don’t overlap each other when taping down so that there isn’t a height difference. Lay the floor planks perpendicular with the floor joists, unless your wood subfloor has been reinforced with an additional layer of plywood. It will be structurally sound to lay the planks either direction in that case. It’s recommended that you let your new floors acclimate to your home’s temperature and humidity level for at least 72 hours before installation. Some flooring materials (other than hardwood and laminate) won’t need to acclimate as long, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics.

If you have additional questions about preparing your subfloor, feel free to give us a call at 1-844-334-2877.


Photo Credit: Photo by Wendy Diedrich