Subfloor Prep for Laminate Flooring

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Subflooring is a rough floor that finish-flooring materials lie atop. Subfloor materials range from plywood to concrete to wood planks to cement board. Each type of subflooring has the same basic preparation requirements before a laminate floor can be laid on top of it. Laminate flooring is a man-made material that looks like real wood. Manufacturers bond thin layers of wood together with high-strength adhesives, then add a veneer to the surface. This process creates a strong, durable and aesthetically pleasing finish floor in a home.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Power screwdriver
  • Galvanized nails or screws
  • Joint compound
  • Hydraulic cement
  • Putty knife
  • Silicone-based caulking material
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Belt sander
  • Sanding block
  • Power drill
  • Wire-brush drill bit
  • Broom
  • Drive popped and loose nails into the subfloor with a hammer, sinking them into the floor joists. Tighten loose screws with a power screwdriver. Add extra galvanized nails or screws to the subfloor as necessary to hold the subfloor firmly in place.

  • Repair holes or dents in the subfloor. Fill holes on cement board, plywood or wood planks with joint compound. Allow the compound to dry before sanding it smooth and flush with the subfloor. Fill in holes, cracks and depressions on concrete floors by pressing hydraulic cement into the defects with a putty knife, making it level with the existing surface.

  • Apply silicone-based caulking material to gaps between subflooring sheets.

  • Sand down hills with medium-grit sandpaper loaded in a belt sander on plywood, wood planks or cement board. Use a sanding block equipped with medium-grit sandpaper for small areas or if there are few repairs. Use a power drill equipped with a wire brush bit to level high spots on a concrete floor.

  • Sweep the floor thoroughly to remove all dirt, dust and debris.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask while preparing subfloors for finished flooring materials.
  • Replace rotted, warped, bowed or severely damaged subflooring.
  • Allow new concrete slabs to cure for a minimum of 60 days prior to covering them with laminate flooring.
  • Do not install laminate floors over wet surfaces.

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References

  • "Home Repair and Improvement"; Creative Homeowner Editors; 2006
  • "Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Family Handyman Magazine Editors; 2005
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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