How to Nail 1/4-Inch Plywood Subfloor


Plywood subfloor is installed over top of the sheathing to give a smooth and even surface for tile installation. This 1/4-inch underlayment comes in 4-by-8 foot sheets and nails directly into the plywood sheathing underneath. It is used as a moisture barrier to help keep the subfloor from too much water damage. Installing an even and secure plywood subfloor is the first step in the installation process of a brand new floor in your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Ring shank underlayment nails
  • Chalk line
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Fine toothed blade
  • Safety goggles
  • Measure the length and width of the room and multiply the two together to determine the total square footage. Divide that number by the square footage of a sheet of plywood subfloor which is 32 to get the number of sheets that will be needed for installation.

  • Line up the first piece of plywood vertically beginning at any corner of the room. Place the first 3/4-inch ring shank nail at the bottom corner of the first sheet leaving 3/8 inch from the edge of the panel. Hammer it in place and move 2 inches down the plywood. Repeat the process for the entire sheet. Insert a nail 2 inches around the entire perimeter.

  • Snap a chalk line diagonally from the corner where the plywood has been installed to the opposite corner. Hammer in nails diagonally along the chalk line every 4 inches into the plywood. Fasten the rest of the panel at 4-inch intervals around the entire sheet to secure it to the sheathing underneath.

  • Butt the second sheet of plywood subfloor directly into the first. Add nails every 2 inches around the perimeter and every 4 inches along the inside. Continue around the room nailing the plywood to the sheathing underneath until reaching the end of the first side.

  • Measure and mark the plywood with a pencil where the cut will need to be made. Cut straight along the line with a circular saw and a fine-toothed blade. Line up the piece and install it just like the previous pieces were installed. Move around the entire room until all of the 1/4-inch plywood subfloor has been installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety goggles when working with a circular saw to help protect your eyes from flying debris.

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