Subfloors for Dummies: Common Mistakes Most People Make

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Jun 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

squeaky floorsHave you ever been in a house where the floor squeaks or isn’t quite straight? The cause is almost always improper subfloor installation. The subfloor serves as the foundation for any flooring project. Even though it is unseen in the final product, it is the key to setting the stage for a successful installation and giving the homeowner a squeak-free floor to enjoy for many years. Proper subfloor installation is the key to providing a sturdy foundation for your flooring project.Here are the top 5 subfloor installation mistakes and how to avoid them: 

  1. Improper spacing – Many people who are installing a subfloor for the first time forget to leave proper spacing between the subfloor panels, leaving no room for the panels to expand. This can often lead to a floor that buckles or bubbles. A minimum of a 1/8 inch gap on all sides is recommended.
  1. Improper nailing – Nails that pop, pull out, or barely hit the joist can all cause squeaky floors. It is important to use the right nail size, spacing and placement. The innovative Subloc® Pro SCRAIL® available from FASCO America® features specially designed threads and superior holding strength that ensures squeaky subfloors are a thing of the past.
  1. Not using glue, not applying it properly, or letting it dry – A combination of glue and nails is the best way to ensure a flat and stable floor. It is recommended to take the time to do both to get the best final product. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the glue, including how much to apply and where. Manufacturers will also specify proper setting times.
  1. Using a hammer on the edges – A hammer can cause damage to the panels by crushing the wood fibers. It may also force the recommended gaps closed, creating spacing issues that you worked hard to avoid. Instead of a hammer, you can tap a block of wood gently against the groove edge while making sure to keep the 1/8-inch gap between panels.
  1. Not checking the subfloor – After the subfloor is installed, check your work. Pay attention to any squeaks, areas that are not flat, and loose or missing nails. It is much easier to make adjustments now versus after the final floor is installed.

Avoiding these five simple mistakes when installing a subfloor can help ensure a final floor system that is flat, sturdy and squeak-free! If you are looking for more guidance, be sure to download the whitepaper: 3 Steps to Ensure a Squeakless Floor.

 Download the Whitepaper: 3 Steps to Ensure a Squeakless Floor

Topics: subfloors

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