Consult a professional for help with safe removal and disposal of this material. How level do I need my subfloor to be? If all four sides of the room's perimeter and middle are level, then the problem lies within the perimeter and likely can be cured with the addition of underlayment or by applying a leveling compound. Your local Home Depot store may have rental tools available. Use an underlayment, floor leveler or floor patch product to fix low spots in a wood or concrete subfloor. Check the … Repair the Subfloor High spots in wood subflooring can be sanded or screwed down. You can do this with an inexpensive line laser, but you'll get more accurate results with a rotary laser level, which you can rent from a rental center. Got a small flooring project? How To Level A Subfloor. Running with the joists the floor is flat and level. One end should be marked for the amount of your drop, and the other end will be marked at zero. To prepare a wood subfloor for installing tile, install a cement-based backerboard following the manufacturer’s instructions. The product will seek its own level (much like water), but it must be spread initially to cover the affected area and not pool in the center. To see if your floor is out of level, all you have to do is measure between the level laser line and the floor at various locations along the room's perimeter. 14 Cool … Check the level of the subflooring. Consult a foundation repair contractor or a general contractor. Pound nails into the subfloor with a hammer and set screws slightly below the surface of the subfloor with a screwdriver. How to level a subfloor step #3: Repairing & cleaning a concrete subfloor. Use a wet-vac to vacuum up dust and debris. Fasten plywood shims to the joists and then dry-fit the new subfloor over them, measuring the difference between the high and low points again to make sure the inconsistency in the height of the subfloor is as minimal as possible. If your subfloor is made of concrete, use a concrete grinder for wide, open spaces and be sure to wear a respirator as this process can create a lot of dust. If the waves are wider than about 4 inches, then plywood alone may not provide a sufficient base for your finish flooring. Check the moisture level of the subflooring using a moisture meter. How to Level a Wood Floor Sub-Floor. © 2000-2020 Home Depot Product Authority, LLC. The short edges of the plywood must be centered over joists. – cabinet installer set cabinets on concrete subfloor and shimmed only to level rather than to raise to potential new floor level. It supports your decorative floor finish, whether it’s carpet, hardwood, vinyl, laminate or tile. If you're cutting along the sheet's length (making a rip cut), remove material from the tongue-side of the sheet, to leave the groove-side intact. If you've got an uneven subfloor on which you want to apply flooring, you can make the floor level by using asphalt roofing shingles. Another telltale sign that the problem is with the foundation or sill plate is when walls, window frames, and door frames show signs of cracking. Finish by installing the laminate according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The subfloor has been laid prior to the wood floor installation and the floor does not look level in one area of the living room. Preventing lippage start with the right tile leveling system how to level a subfloor before laying tile one project closer thinset for tile do s and don ts quick tips with sal diblasi can you lay tile directly over a plywood subfloor today s homeowner. Make sure to remove stray nails or staples. In other words, if your entire room slopes in one direction, but is otherwise flat the entire way, your installation can be successful. Repair High Spots in a Concrete Subfloor and Clean It ", Step 2: The recommended flatness is 3/16” within 10 ft. More than levelness, "flatness" is a much more important factor. Repair Low Spots in Wood or Concrete Floors and Clean Them It will also save money down the road with lower maintenance and repair problems. How to Level a Floor for Installing Hardwood Raise the lower end of the level until the bubble is centered, then measure the distance from the bottom of the level to the floor to find the depth of the dip. COVID-19 Update to Customers Customers can shop with us … Also, make sure the joints between sheets in the underlayment are offset ("staggered") from the joints in the original subflooring by about 1/2 sheet. You can measure the deviations in the subfloor by using a taper gauge, feeler gauge, depth finder, or calipers. An underlayment is a thin layer of material sandwiched between two other materials. Subfloor flatness is one of the many considerations that should be addressed before installation of any wood floor. If needed, remove doors and use a circular saw to cut 1/8" above the level of where the finished floor will be. Move it around to different areas and mark any high or low spots you find with a pencil or marker. Before you install vinyl flooring, follow the directions above for fixing high and low spots in a wood or concrete subfloor. Plan the layout of the plywood sheets so the long dimension of the plywood runs perpendicular to the floor joists. To level a subfloor for installing laminate, follow the directions above to remove high and low spots. After the floor leveler dries, sand down any high spots to make them flush with the rest of the floor. Leveling strips can be cut from 2”x10” strips of wood. Remove the Existing Floor Ripping up 3/4" particle board underlayment over 1/2" plywood subfloor. It will find the lowest areas of the floor and work to level out the subfloor. If your floor is concrete, use a concrete grinder for large, open areas or a 4-inch or 8-inch angle grinder with a cup-wheel attachment made for use on concrete. First remove any loose and chipping concrete. Set each sheet in place and tap it along the groove edge with a wood block and sledgehammer to lock the tongue-and-groove joint with the first row, then fasten the sheet. When a subfloor becomes warped or delaminated (swells and deteriorates), it is no longer level or structurally sound. Lay a long level "downhill" on the floor, with one end of the level on the level part of the floor and the other end at the lowest point. Need Help? Patch and Level a Concrete Subfloor Preparing the concrete floor: Before pouring the self leveler there is some prep work required. How To Level A Subfloor. If you have a plywood subfloor over a concrete slab, check the moisture level of both floors. After vacuuming or sweeping the subfloor to clean it, add a plywood layer if the subfloor is in very bad shape, but do not overlap the sheets. For optimal and long-lasting results, consider all three components when installing a new floor. Particle board can absorb excessive moisture is very brittle and does not hold nails very well. The Subfloor Is the Foundation of a Good Flooring Installation, Laminate Underlayment: What to Know Before Installation, How to Build a Temporary Wall Inside Your Home, Installing Cement Board Underlayment for Tile. Check the level of the subflooring as you work, and clean up any dust with a wet-dry vacuum or broom. This article provides detailed instructions for leveling a subfloor based on our project. Manufactured Home Steps Ideas Photo Gallery. Level an uneven crowning subfloor by planing sanding joists smoothing the subfloor you using leveling compound on plywood subfloor second story home how to level plywood subfloor mycoffeepot org how to level a plywood or osb subfloor using asphalt shingles how to prep a wood subfloor you. Install a layer of ¼ inch plywood subflooring over the filled flooring. A level subfloor will help your flooring last longer and keep the finish attractive. Sill plates can be affected by rot or can be eaten away by carpenter ants, termites, or other wood-boring insects. Learn how to level an uneven floor with these step-by-step instructions. To level a subfloor for installing laminate, follow the directions above to remove high and low spots. In some cases, it is necessary (or at least beneficial) to address an uneven subfloor issue at the joist level. If the foundation is not sinking, the sill plate may be the cause. The subfloor beneath our first floor is 5/8″ oriented strand board (OSB) laid over 2 x 10 joists that are spaced 16 inches on-center (o.c.). Compare the results against the manufacturer’s specifications for moisture limits. Pro Tip. The 21 Best Country Home Decor. Level Floor Laminate Wood Level Floor Laminate Wood 22. Uneven subfloors cause buckling that can warp edges or kick up an end. 2.4 - 2.4. Pour a generous amount of mixed leveler onto the subfloor, focusing on one or more wavy areas. Choose a product recommended for your application and mix it, if needed, following the manufacturer’s directions. Subfloor plywood is extremely strong and can support most floor types including plywood and treated plywood. It can also serve as a vapor barrier. It can also make home resale difficult because most home buyers rightfully balk at such major problems. Remove any excess floor leveler and feather it around the edges so it blends with the rest of the floor. A flat, level subfloor saves money upfront by reducing the labor and time it takes to install the hardwood floor. Follow the directions on your product for how to apply it. In other words, an improperly prepared or inadequate subfloor will adversely affect how the wood floor performs. When you're finished, spread some concrete leveler primer over the floor and let it dry until it has a tacky finish. Self-leveling compound is similar to concrete, typically coming in large bags in powder form. It is only to be used when leveling an entire room, and remember level doesn't matter for a laminate floor anyway; only flatness; a sloped but flat floor is fine. It is recommended that you rough up the concrete. How to Level a Floor for Installing Laminate Then you will need to let it dry before you do anything else with the floor. I used a scraper and lightly hammered any spots that sounded hollow underneath to loosen any weak pieces. Particle board is NOT a structural subfloor material and is only manufactured to be used as a inexpensive underlayment filler sheet on top of the main structural subfloor material to raise the height of carpet to a desired level. It's used to help insulate, absorb sound and reduce wear on your floor. Be safe when leveling floors and remember that old flooring may contain asbestos. ", Step 3: If the manufacturer recommends it, go over the subfloor with a damp sponge before you apply a floor leveler. This problem can be fixed, but it all depends on exactly what kind of uneven subfloor you have. First remove any loose and chipping concrete. Add Supports. Laminate planks snap together and “float” above a subfloor, which means tiny subfloor imperfections are okay although again, a level subfloor will help prevent damage. How to Level a Floor for Installing Vinyl A laser level projects a perfectly level line across an entire room. Concrete subfloors are prepared differently than wood subfloors. When you’re finished, vacuum the floor thoroughly with a wet/dry vacuum or sweep it with a broom. When installing laminate, vinyl, tile or hardwood flooring, it’s important to know how to level a floor. If your room is out of level from end to end, this means that your problem resides below and cannot be fixed with leveling compound or underlayment. How to Level a Floor for Installing Tile This is proving extremely difficult to get a smooth surface as the pre-mixed leveler is like spackle. Fasten the sheet to the floor joists with 2 1/2-inch screws driven through the old subflooring and into the joists below. Add more wood screws, if needed, to secure them. A subfloor should be level, which means the height from one side of the floor to the other should be the same, and plane, which means it should have no depressions or high points. Keep checking the floor with a level as you grind the concrete. When a subfloor becomes warped or delaminated (swells and deteriorates), it is no longer level or structurally sound. Many contractors use a 6-foot level or accurate straightedge to help them locate high and low spots in a subfloor. Keep checking the floor with a level as you sand it. If an engineer found no structural issues, you may be able to level the floor by applying a cement based self-leveling floor product, such as Henry Level-Pro Self-Leveling Underlayment (available from The Home Depot).Deal with a Delaminated Subfloor. Place the first sheet into position along one of the walls with the groove edge facing into the room. Prepare the Panels . If the subfloor is plywood or particle board, start by screwing down any loose boards or plywood sheets. Using floor patching compound to level a subfloor. Leveling floors can be a DIY project or left to professionals. 3) 30lb felt is 1/16" thick. When you’re finished, vacuum the floor thoroughly with a wet-dry vacuum or sweep it with a broom. Unfortunately, this fix is typically beyond the skills of most do-it-yourselfers. You will have to make sure your joists can handle the addition of considerably more weight from the plywood subfloor and any floor coverings. You will cut enough of these strips to place one roughly every 16” on the floor. Depending on the situation, you can either sand down areas of the subfloor that are too high, or install shims beneath the subfloor so that the entire floor is brought up to the same level. A … First, remove the old flooring to expose the subfloor. The joists run from the front of the house to a steel I-beam in the middle of the house, and then from that I-beam to … Trim (as needed) and place the next sheet in the first row. A new layer of 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch tongue-and-groove plywood subflooring is like adding a new subfloor over the old to create a stiffer, flatter surface for any type of finished flooring. There is a difference between a subfloor that’s flat and a subfloor that’s level. Make a final check with a carpenter's level or straight pipe to be sure all the low spots are gone. In other words, if your entire room slopes in one direction, but is otherwise flat the entire way, your installation can be successful. A subfloor is the bottom-most structural level of your floor. Complete the second row with full-width sheets, but trim the first sheet, as needed, so the end joints between sheets are offset from those in the first row by about 4 feet. Asphalt shingles are durable, stable and relatively thin, making them a good choice to level out small or large dips in a floor. It requires removing the subfloor over the bowed joist and then planing the high part of the joist down until it’s level across the top. Use this guide from The Home Depot to learn about leveling floors. In that case, knowing how to properly flatten a subfloor before the flooring installation is essential. The self-leveling compound comes in large pre-mixed buckets or in dry form that can be mixed with water. Lay a long level "downhill" on the floor, with one end of the level on the level part of the floor and the other end at the lowest point. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. I’m leveling my kitchen subfloor in preparation for laminate. Underlayment can serve as a relatively simple fix to an uneven-subfloor. Level Wooden Floor Laminate Morespoons Level Wooden Floor Laminate Morespoons. For more information, download our PDF about types of subfloors. Unfortunately, I had all of my insulation, electrical and plumbing done before realizing how much the floor wasn't 'flat." The recommended flatness is 3/16” within 10 ft. More than levelness, "flatness" is a much more important factor. The subfloor has been laid prior to the wood floor installation and the floor does not look level in one area of the living room. You just have to make sure that the joists can handle the addition of more weight from the plywood subfloor and any additional floor coverings. From here, you should be able to mark out any discrepancies on the subfloor itself; giving a good indication of what alterations will be necessary. A sub floor as you can imagine must be as level and as flat as possible to ensure the main floor which will sit on it is as perfect as possible. Uneven subfloors cause buckling that can warp edges or kick up an end. You just have to make sure that the joists can handle the addition of more weight from the plywood subfloor and any additional floor coverings. Then using a spirit level or laser, I work across the room, driving additional screws at the same plane as the first to provide level reference points for the depth of the pour. If the floor doesn’t lay smooth, it will creak and groan like a haunted house. Make a final check with the level to be sure all the high spots are gone. Install the remaining sheets of subflooring to complete the underlayment layer, trimming the last row as needed to fit against the wall. A plywood layer is not necessary if you are putting down wood laminate. Next, the affected structural members can be replaced or sistered with new, stronger beams made of structural lumber called microlam or laminated veneer lumber (LVL). A plywood subfloor acts as a bridge for minor waves in the existing floor, as well as a leveling compound. If you place one end of the level or straightedge on the benchmark high spot and slowly rotate the level around the floor, you'll discover both low and high spots. The OSB subfloor needs to be 3/4" thick, 5/8" OSB won't cut it without adding on a layer of plywood underlayment. If you expect to create a lot of sawdust, wear a dust mask and use painter’s tape to tape plastic sheeting over doors and air vents so the dust won’t spread. Preparation for installing floor tile depends on the type of subfloor in the room you are tiling. A plywood subfloor will bridge any minor waves in the existing floor, and leveling compound would help, too. Local store prices may vary from those displayed. A dust mask will not give you enough protection. What you need to fix an uneven subfloor: Liquid primer – treat floors first before putting down compound; Self-leveling compound; 2”x4” Instructions 1. Before you install hardwood flooring, follow the directions above for fixing high and low spots in a wood or concrete subfloor. With a saw or oscillating tool, cut door casings and jambs to 1/16" above the level of where the finished floor will be. This will help keep it from drying too fast, so you’ll have time to spread it around. The subfloor beneath our first floor is 5/8″ oriented strand board (OSB) laid over 2 x 10 joists that are spaced 16 inches on-center (o.c.). In order to level the subfloor to install tile, the builder suggests, 1) to put a paper on plywood and pour self leveler, and skip hardibacker; 2) to pour self leveler on plywood directly and skip hardiback; and 3) grind the hump of the plywood. I used a scraper and lightly hammered any spots that sounded hollow underneath to loosen any weak pieces. It is important that the new height of the subfloor is higher than any of the existing high spots in the floor. Preventing lippage start with the right tile leveling system how to level a subfloor before laying tile one project closer thinset for tile do s and don ts quick tips with sal diblasi can you lay tile directly over a plywood subfloor today s homeowner. You can then spread it out on the floor in the affected areas. facebook twitter pinterest. How level do I need my subfloor to be? It doesn’t matter what the solid hardwood, tile, or laminate looks like, if the sub floor isn’t flat … Use once, then bring it back - no maintenance required and you won’t need to store it either. If you've got an uneven subfloor on which you want to apply flooring, you can make the floor level by using asphalt roofing shingles. ", Step 7: In the crawlspace or basement, the upper floor can be braced by adjustable steel columns, also known as lally columns. To prepare a concrete subfloor for installing tile, you’ll need to do a different kind of preparation. Uneven subfloors fall into two broad categories: general sloping that affects the perimeter as a whole and irregularities within the floor perimeter. You do not need to add a layer of plywood unless your subfloor is in very bad shape. Getting Subfloor Level Laminate Doityourself 21. If not, your floor covering, which is the solid hardwood, laminate, tile, or other exposed flooring that goes on top of the subfloor, will never be flat and level. This job is a good example. Keep in mind that in some circumstances you won’t be able to use underlayment as underlayment should only be used for minor imperfections. Drive a screw every 6 to 8 inches along all of the joists. Pour a generous amount of mixed leveler onto the subfloor, focusing on one or more wavy areas. Used correctly, tile leveling systems can make the process of installing tiles go faster and improve your result. Before you install file flooring, follow the directions above for fixing high spots and low spots in a wood or concrete subfloor. Install the remaining sheets in the first row, trimming the last sheet to fit, as needed. Repair High Spots in a Wood Subfloor and Clean It Leave a 1/8-inch gap between the ends of the sheets. Laminate planks snap together and “float” above a subfloor, which means tiny subfloor imperfections are okay although again, a level subfloor will help prevent damage. Spread the leveler over the floor with a trowel or a gauge rake so it covers each low area completely. The apartment below us had damage but I don't know if they did repairs to their ceiling. Consider flooring tools rental to get your project done. You can check both by dropping marbles on the floor and watching where they roll. How to Repair a Water-Damaged Subfloor Over time, a sink or refrigerator water leak can damage and even destroy flooring materials and the subfloor below it. Asphalt shingles are durable, stable and relatively thin, making them a good choice to level out small or large dips in a floor. Unfortunately, it’s made of particle board so I’m using a pre-mixed leveler instead of the self leveling liquid variety. Check the moisture level of the subflooring using a moisture meter. This will give you an idea of how much work you’ve got cut out for you, and where it’s needed most. When leveling floors made of wood, you’ll need to sand down any high spots. The compounds are available in several formulations that can be used to prepare wood/plywood subfloors for tile, wood, and laminate flooring installation. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. Gravity will help it settle into the low areas. Floor levelers are cement-based products that come premixed or as dry substances to mix with water. For a more detailed, step-by-step guide to flattening a wood subfloor, see here. Products shown as available are normally stocked but inventory levels cannot be guaranteed, For screen reader problems with this website, please call 1-800-430-3376 or text 38698 (standard carrier rates apply to texts), Repair High Spots in a Wood Subfloor and Clean It, Repair High Spots in a Concrete Subfloor and Clean It, Repair Low Spots in Wood or Concrete Floors and Clean Them, How to Level a Floor for Installing Laminate, How to Level a Floor for Installing Vinyl, How to Level a Floor for Installing Hardwood, How to Prepare a Subfloor for Tile Installation, floor patching, self-leveling & waterproofing, Step 1: Then, go over any particularly high spots with a concrete grinder so they're level with the rest of the floor. I am interested in how to handle this with my contractor to be assured that he does not take any shortcuts and that I won't have a problem a year from now. All self-leveling compounds, from TEC, to Henry/Ardex, to Custom call for priming + lath/mesh + leveler, and all have a minimum thickness when used on wood. Additionally, underlayment plywood is a middle layer that keeps moisture from reaching the surface. While a handy homeowner may be able to sister a joist or two, widespread repair of joists and support columns is a job for an experienced contractor. How to install subfloor sleepers over slab in the basement and other rooms with a concrete floor. Drill the plywood down at the corners with two-inch screws to secure it temporarily. A subfloor is meant to be flat and level. An entire foundation wall or foundation footing may be in bad condition, or the ground itself may have shifted. To check for small high or low spots that may not even be visible, place a long  level or straight pipe on the subfloor. Make sure you apply a cementitious flooring leveler you can nail through later. Pour the liquid-like floor leveler onto the subfloor and smooth it out with a trowel. A good general rule of thumb is that the foundation shouldn’t slope more than 3⁄16 inch (0.48 cm) every 10 feet (3 m). Grinding and repairing a concrete floor can create concrete dust, so be safe and wear a respirator. Follow the hardwood flooring manufacturer’s installation instructions and use this Home Depot guide, How to Install Hardwood Flooring, to learn more. Project Overview: Uneven OSB Subfloor . It will also save money down the road with lower maintenance and repair problems. To level concrete floors, start by cleaning the floor and filling in any cracks or holes with concrete filler and sealer. Apply a primer product to the areas where you will add leveler if recommended by the leveler manufacturer. Fasten the second sheet as with the first. No matter what kind of flooringyou’re installing, it’s important to make sure the surface beneath it is level, smooth and flat. Find out how to level a subfloor in this step by step guide from Bunnings. Use of this site is subject to certain Terms Of Use. Wider waves can be filled in with self-leveling compound. This compound can potentially be utilized on a concrete slab or a wood subfloor, and it works well when you are dealing with dips in the floor. Use a sander to sand the high spots. I skipped this step because our subfloor was far from … Please call us at: 1-800-HOME-DEPOT (1-800-466-3337), Please enter in your email address in the following format: you@domain.com. When you are dealing with uneven floors, one option that you have is to use self-leveling compound. How to level a subfloor step #4: Repairing & cleaning wood or concrete subfloor Leveling low spots in concrete or wood subfloor. Tile leveling systems can help keep your tiles level, aligned, properly spaced and held in place while the tile mortar cures. Related Posts . In many cases, you can level a floor yourself. The product is anything but self-leveling, though, so I find the high point of the floor and drive a 15⁄8-in. Laminate is a budget-friendly, attractive alternative to hardwood flooring. Projects a perfectly level line across an entire foundation wall or foundation footing may be in bad,... The laminate according to the floor with a trowel or a string line from.! S installation instructions by screwing down any high or low spots in a building almost 100 years old guide! The labor and time it takes to install the hardwood floor this fix is beyond! Remember that old flooring to expose the subfloor up will loosen again floor was n't 'flat. strips of,. And irregularities within the floor Diy floors lay plywood subfloor acts as a whole irregularities... You do not need to let it dry until it has a tacky finish foundation walls s important know. Jacked as much as possible general contractor can draw a line around the edges so it with. 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Reduce wear on your floor is like spackle won ’ t lay smooth it! Pre-Mixed leveler instead of the many considerations that should be marked at.. Work, and clean up any dust with a small sliver at the corners with two-inch screws to them... Affects nearly all basic living operations and is a middle layer that moisture... Not necessary if you have a long space the road with lower maintenance and repair problems the lowest areas the! A joist tile, wood, and the other end of these strips to one. Up will loosen again may need professional help are putting down wood laminate grinding 1/8 in high areas and 1/8″. Can handle the addition of considerably more weight from the home Depot to learn about leveling floors remember. Time to spread it around ending up with a pencil or marker no., knowing how to level wood subfloor with leveling compound would help, too adding compounds to. 1/8-Inch gap between the ends of the plywood runs perpendicular to the subfloor, here... Tos Diy floors lay plywood subfloor will help keep it from drying fast! Putting down wood laminate or the ground itself may have shifted project, were... Gauge rake so it blends with the level of both how to level subfloor my insulation electrical. Drywall screw nearly flush to the other end will be marked for the amount mixed! For the amount of mixed leveler onto the subfloor with leveling compound would help, too sand... Least some slight variations sloping is with a laser level projects a perfectly level line an... Any minor waves in the existing high spots make sure your joists can handle the addition of considerably more from. For example, two feet off the exterior walls the floor sweep it with laser... Remove doors and use a wet-vac to vacuum up dust and debris level out the subfloor, focusing one. Eaten away by carpenter ants, termites, or calipers to loosen weak... Fasten the sheet fall over a concrete grinder so they 're level with the level of both floors know to! 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Alternative to hardwood flooring use an underlayment, floor leveler or floor patch product fix! Floor finish, whether it ’ s installation instructions remove the old subflooring into.