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  • Tim Kraemer

The Importance of Subflooring

Have you ever been shopping for new flooring or planning a new build and been asked “What type of subflooring do you have or want?” Did this leave you feeling confused and wondering—what exactly is subflooring? This is a great question as subflooring plays an important part to the integrity and durability of your floors.

So, let’s dive into what is subflooring and explore the different types of materials commonly used.

There are 3 basic parts that make up the flooring in a home. These parts include: joists, subflooring and finished flooring.

Joists: the structural “ribs” of your floor. These are heavy-duty beams that run under the flooring throughout your home. In an unfinished basement this is what you see when you look up.

Subflooring: this is what covers the joists. Typically subflooring is nailed to the joists and together these two distribute all the weight your floors will take from furniture, people, pets, etc!

Finished Flooring: the flooring you see and walk on.

Subfloor materials:

  • Plywood: the most common type of subflooring. This is constructed from wood veneer sheets which are glued together. This material is affordable and durable. Plywood coated with waterproof material adds strength.

  • Concrete: a common subfloor for basements and occasionally the first floor in homes which don’t have a basement. When using a concrete subfloor it is important to test for moisture prior to installing flooring as moisture can compromise the strength of the concrete.

  • Oriented Strand Board: this functions like plywood bud is made of chunks of wood pressed and glued together, it is like a heavy-duty fiberboard.

So what type of subflooring do we recommend?

A waterproof plywood is our choice! Having a subfloor that withstands water eliminates keeps the subfloor from swelling and avoids having to sand the seams when it comes time to install flooring. Water resistant subfloor also has a better tensile strength and helps eliminate joist deflection so the floor does not bounce.

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