The subfloor doesn’t get any of the glory in your new floor reveal, but it should. Your subfloor plays a crucial role in the long-term health of your laminate. It protects supports it so that your room can transform from a slab of concrete (or wood) into something more decorative and attractive.
Before you lay a single plank, you need to make sure that your subfloor is up to the task of providing your new laminate flooring a good home.
Standard Subfloor Requirements
No matter what type of subfloor you have, it must meet a certain set of standard requirements. Here are a few considerations you must make before unrolling your underlayment and installing your first plank.
Is it flat?
Subfloors must be flat in order to properly support your flooring. As a rule, the biggest difference you can have between two adjacent high points is 3/16 of an inch. That’s not a lot of separation in a 10-foot radius.
If your subfloor has excessive voids or bends, you will need to level your floor before you begin installation. Fill holes or low areas with a cement and latex compound. Let it dry thoroughly before your flooring is installed.
Does it slope?
Your subfloor cannot slope either. If the slope is larger than an inch per six feet it must be fixed.
Is it clean?
Dirt and debris can damage your floors over time. Always clean and dry your subfloor before beginning any type of laminate flooring installation.
Is it the right material?
Laminate flooring cannot ever be installed on a subfloor made of carpet or padding. Wood and concrete are the idea subfloors. In some instances, you might be able to install your flooring over an existing floor, but it is important to check prior to installation if it is a suitable material.
Materials Not Suitable for a Laminate Installation:
- Residential Carpet
- Glued vinyl
If you have one of these types of flooring, you must remove it before installing your laminate.
The appropriate types of subfloors for laminate flooring include:
- Exterior grade plywood
- 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
Subfloors deserve as much attention during your installation as underlayment and the actual flooring itself. Give it this attention and you’ll have a better end result when your flooring project is complete.