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Flooring & Tiles

The Best Type Of Subflooring

By on May 7, 2014
The Best Type Of Subflooring

The best type of subflooring to install depends on what type of finished floor you plan to have on top of it. Most subflooring in wood frame construction today is either oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood. Older homes may have boards laid diagonally across the floor joists. The subfloor thickness depends on the construction design, namely the distance between the floor joists, specified in the plans. Plywood is less affected by rain during construction and holds nails and screws better than OSB, but OSB is usually less expensive. 

Wood and carpet can be installed directly on the subfloor. Any irregularity in a subfloor will be visible through vinyl flooring, so it is normally installed over particleboard that has the cracks and nail holes smoothed with spackle. Ceramic tile, marble, and other stone floors must be laid over a rigid floor that will not flex and crack the tile or grout. Preferred subfloors in these cases are a mortar bed or cement board. 

Certain types of subflooring, known as resilient flooring, are good for rooms that will not be exposed to a lot of moisture, like living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. It’s in these rooms where people will likely install tiles, hardwood flooring or laminate. These types of flooring include hardboard, particleboard, OSB and plywood. Sometimes these are already laid in a home but might need to be replaced in case of inclement or mold.

Carpeting, in particular, requires certain types of subflooring to thrive. The wrong padding could result in a faulty warranty or the carpet getting messed up after being walked on for too long without the proper basis. Be sure that if you install carpet, it’s being installed over padding types like rebond, frothed foam, foam, waffle rubber, slab rubber, fiber or moisture barriers, to avoid any kind of problems.

Wood and laminate floors also require special padding to avoid a faulty warranty or problems in the material from moisture or mold. Think to lay down standard foam, combo of film and combustion foam, upgraded foam, or cork underlayment to protect the wood or laminate from damages and make it last longer.

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