Preparing Subfloor for Laminate Flooring Installation
Your subfloor is the base layer to your project. Without the proper subfloor preparation, you risk damaging your new laminate flooring. To avoid creating more difficulty for yourself during your laminate flooring installation, you need to ensure your subfloor is up to the task of supporting your laminate flooring for the long haul.
What is a Subfloor?
A subfloor is the foundation flooring in a building. Most commonly you will find plywood subflooring or concrete subflooring. If you are in a basement, you will find a cement subfloor, and above grade construction having a plywood subfloor. You may have both in your home or commercial space.
Your subfloor may also be flooring that is already installed depending on the type of flooring.
Type of Subfloor
There are certain materials that are not proper laminate flooring subfloors. The subfloor materials NOT suitable for laminate flooring:
- Residential Carpet & Carpet Underlayment
- Any Cushioned Flooring
- Glued vinyl
If you have one of these types of flooring, you must remove it before installing your laminate. The appropriate types of laminate flooring subfloor include:
- Exterior grade plywood subflooring
- OSB board
- Concrete (that is at least one month old)
- Existing wood that is not adhered to concrete
- Vinyl that is not glued down to another subfloor
- Particle board
Check out our subfloor requirements for details about each type of subfloor of these before you begin your installation.
Preparing for a Laminate Flooring Installation
Once you’ve confirmed that you have a suitable laminate flooring subfloor, you will need to prepare your subfloor for installation. Whether you have a plywood subfloor or a concrete subfloor, there are a few steps that are universal in preparing the subfloor.
The most important step in this process is checking for any damages. Your subfloor must be:
- Level within 3/16 inch for every 10 feet
- Grout lines must be filled in if using tile as a subfloor
- Plywood subfloors must be sanded or repaired with cement compound to be level
- Underlayment will cover minor irregularities, but should not be used as a fix
- All dust and debris should be swept
- Structurally sound
- Clear of any nails, loose screws that squeak or are damaged, or any parts that were damaged by moisture
- Your moisture meter must read less than 12%