There is a whole range of different types of sub-floor on which you can install your new wooden floor. When it comes to laying wood flooring however, no matter whether you’ve opted for solid wood or engineered wood flooring, there are several things that need to be respected regarding the sub-floor.
First and foremost, it’s essential that the sub-floor over which you’ll install your wood flooring is dry and will stay dry as the seasons change. Secondly, the sub-floor needs to be stable, because there’s no point installing a nice new wooden floor over an unstable base. Thereafter, it almost goes without saying, but you need to make sure that your sub-floor is free of dust and debris before going ahead and fitting your new floor. Finally, if you’re planning a glue-down method of installation, the surface of the sub-floor needs to be free of any grease, paint or old glue. You can get rid of these with a light sanding in most cases.
The two main types of sub-floor are wood and concrete, both of which have their own characteristics. If you have a wooden sub-floor, then you’ll have the option to install your new floor using a nail-down method, a glue-down method or indeed a floating installation. Nail-down installation is not recommended over a concrete sub-floor.
Wooden sub-floors may well be made up of old wooden floor boards or planks, or might be plywood, or Oriented Stran Board (OSB). Either way, it’s important to rid the wooden sub-floor of any protruding nails or screws and to make sure they are level before starting your installation. If your wooden sub-floor isn’t level, you should be able to remove any high points by sanding them away and level out any low points by introducing a specialist sub-floor leveling compound. You should also take the time to make sure that any loose boards are fixed down to avoid the risk of squeaks and movement in the new floor.
Concrete sub-floors, particularly if newly or recently laid, must be thoroughly dried out before installing your new wooden floor. There’s no point investing in a new wooden floor; solid or engineered, to then fit it over a damp sub-floor. If necessary a damp proof underlay can be introduced to avoid the risk of problems in the future caused by dampness.
Other types of sub-floor include particle board and certain vinyls, as well as the possibility of laying wood flooring directly over beams and joists, all of which have their own nuances when it comes to installation. Like all things flooring, if you’re in any doubt at all, it’s a good idea to seek the opinion of your wood flooring supplier who will be well positioned to help you.