All new hardwood floors have to be placed on some kind of subfloor. The subfloor provides the necessary support and foundation for the hardwood to last as a quality floor option. It keeps the floor level and lends strength to the flooring material. There are a number of options in subflooring and some will work better for your home than others. Here’s a brief guide on the different types of subfloor your contractor may discuss with you.
Plywood subfloors are the most common and most popular options in new construction homes. It is generally considered a very strong and stable option as the plywood itself is made up of multiple layers of pine or birch wood. The layers are crossed on top of each other, minimizing the potential for warping and splitting. This gives the hardwood floor a firm base when it is installed. Plywood also works as a subflooring material for carpet and other flooring types.
Older homes often have plank subfloors made up of wide strips of hardwood laid on top of the floor joists. Though this is an older method, you won’t necessarily have to replace the subfloor of your home to place new hardwood on top. As long as the contractor makes sure the planks are secure, the subfloor can provide an adequate base for just about any flooring material. If one plank is compromised, it’s a simple process to replace the single plank, saving your contractor time and saving you money.
Concrete subfloor is typically poured at the time of construction and can only be used in homes without basements. If you’re installing hardwood floors on top of concrete subflooring, it is important to do a moisture test on the concrete prior to installing hardwood. Concrete can hold moisture, causing the hardwood to warm shortly after it is installed. Additionally, concrete subfloors work best for engineered hardwood flooring rather than natural planks.
Particle Board Subfloor
Particle board is commonly used as a subfloor for carpeted rooms. However, it is not suitable for hardwood flooring. This means, your contractor will need to replace the subfloor before they can install your new hardwood flooring. Concerns over structural integrity make it necessary for your contractor to replace the particle board prior to installing new hardwood flooring. If the particle board gets wet, it can fall apart, leaving your floor supported only by the floor joists.
Oriented Strand Board Subfloor
Oriented strand board is made of wood chips that are glued and pressed together. When these subfloors are installed, they are often screwed onto and glued down on the floor joists, making squeaking a nonissue. This subfloor is one of the most stable options and is suitable for all kinds of flooring. Hardwood, engineered hardwood, and laminate can all be installed on top of this subfloor material without any modification.
Knowing what kind of subfloor your home has will help you make the right choice in flooring. At Hardwood Perfect Flooring, we have a full range of hardwood options to suit your home and your subfloor. Contact us today for a free estimate.