Best Subfloor for Hardwood

subfloorYou may have big dreams of a solid hardwood floor that runs elegantly from room to room, spreading warmth and beauty throughout your entire home. You’ve chosen your perfect species to compliment your décor, and you’ve started to create a budget. All of these are necessary steps in the process of adding hardwood floors to your home, but have you considered your subfloor? If your home has the wrong subfloor for your project, your dreams could come crashing down as your budget explodes. Some subfloors work well with hardwood floors, while others make it nearly impossible to install the flooring of your dreams.

Concrete Conundrum

So you’ve just learned that your subfloor is a giant concrete slab, and this isn’t great news for your vision of solid hardwood flooring. This is especially common in basements, but you may just be unlucky enough to have concrete subflooring throughout. The problem with concrete is that it is made with water and often retains a great deal of that moisture. As a porous substance, concrete isn’t going to be great at protecting hardwood from water damage. While installing hardwood over concrete subfloors is not impossible, it is definitely not advised.

The safest way to go if you have concrete subflooring is to install plywood first. Plywood is a great base for hardwood, and while this can come with a hefty price tag, it’s your best option. Otherwise, you can opt for engineered hardwood which can be installed over concrete subfloor, and has its own built-in safe guards against extra moisture. It provides the same look, but with greater durability.

Perfect Plywood

If you find out that your subfloors are made of plywood, count your blessings. Plywood has become the standard subfloor over the past several decades and is exactly what you need to make properly anchor your new hardwood floors. You’ll need to check the thickness and have a moisture test, but plywood is definitely the easiest subfloor to work with when you’re installing solid hardwood. If you have to replace your subfloor, the only logical choice is plywood.

Poor Particle Board

Particle board isn’t exactly a subfloor, but it is often found as a layer over other subfloors like plywood. It is commonly used to raise the height of flooring options like carpet. For the purposes of installing hardwood though, it simply must be removed. It’s fragile and mealy texture doesn’t hold up to nailing or gluing, and it is very prone to retaining moisture. Engineered hardwood can be installed over top of it, but in almost every case, it is better to remove it and work with the subfloor underneath.

Call Jim Boyd’s Flooring America

Jim Boyd’s Flooring America, located in Timonium, MD, will provide you will all the best flooring options, even environment-friendly choices.  For all questions, call 410-667-0620 or click here to contact us.


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