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5 Steps You'll Need to Prep Your Subfloor for Installation

It’s time for another Floor Tip Thursday!

Today we’re going to be helping you learn how to prep a subfloor for new floor installation. For those of you who are new to the flooring scene, a subfloor is simply the foundation that you’ll be laying your beautiful new floor on top of. It insures a level, protected surface so that your floor will be a part of your home for as long as possible.

So, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Step 1: Clean your subfloor

Once you’ve removed the old flooring and baseboards, you’ll want to make sure that the underlying subfloor is squeaky clean. Not doing so could end up harming your new top floor down the road. Be careful though! If you live in an older home there’s a chance that asbestos is hiding under the original floor. It’s better to be safe than sorry later, so if you think this is a possibility in your home, have a professional come help you.

To clean your subfloor, put your vacuum to work. This will be plenty if you are installing floating boards, flooring that locks together, or nail-down wood. However, if you plan on gluing your top floor down you will need to use an electric sander to even out the base before running your vacuum over it. Here us when we say that you cannot be too picky with the cleanliness of the subfloor! It is extremely important to get every speck of dirt out of there to protect your investment, so go forth and make the clean-freak in your family proud!

Step 2: Level it out

Nobody likes a floor that squeaks or sags, so now it’s up to you to make sure that your subfloor is exceptionally level to prevent these problems. Use a leveler on multiple parts of your subfloor to check if they are equal. When you come across an area that is higher than the others, use an electric or floor sander to even it out. For low areas, use a leveling compound to fill the extra space. Note that the type of compound you use may vary depending on the type of flooring you’re planning to install, so ask for help before you purchase anything.

Step 3: Check for moisture

What happens to your skin when you sit too long in a bathtub? How about when you visit a dry area for long periods of time and neglect to apply lotion? Not too pretty, right? There’s a similar effect that happens if you don’t take care of the moisture level in your subfloor. Too much moisture can cause it to warp, while too little will lead to cracks or creaking.

To avoid these issues, head over to your local hardware store and grab yourself a moisture meter kit. Find out what moisture level is right for the subfloor you’re working with. From there, simply follow the instructions for your shiny new gadget to learn where your subfloor is at. If the meter indicates moisture levels that are too high or too low, consult a professional to figure out the course of action you should take to rectify the problem.

Step 4: Lock it down

You will need to assess the structural integrity of the subfloor before moving on to the final steps of the flooring installation process. Walk around the subfloor (or dance if you’re feeling your oats today) and check for any squeaking or loose boards. If any of the subfloor sheets prove to be a problem, just screw them securely into the floor joists below. Not too bad, eh?

Step 5: Finish it up!

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! It’s time to start installing your brand new flooring! Go pick out a nice moisture barrier to start, and get yourself a celebratory glass of lemonade while you’re at it. Once that’s down, you’re ready to make your room look like new! Plus, you can now rest assured that it will stay looking new and squeak-free because of the steps you diligently took to prep your subfloor. Great work!

We’d love to hear how it turns out. And as always, if you have any questions feel free to give our team a call.

Happy flooring!

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