How to Remove Sub-Flooring


Many floors in your home have a subfloor. If your home has a basement or is built off the ground with pier supports, your first floor has a plywood subfloor below your finish floor. Additional levels in your home have a subfloor as well. Most homeowners will find it necessary to repair the subfloor at some point, particularly if you live in an older home or an area with high moisture. Remove the subfloor carefully, and only remove the areas that need to be repaired.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint
  • Chalk line
  • T-square
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer and chisel or oscillating tool
  • Remove the finish floor. This is the decorative surface that you see every day, such as carpet, tile, laminate or hardwood flooring. Carpets may be removed from the tack strips, rolled up and saved to be reinstalled after you repair the subfloor.

  • Inspect the subfloor for damage. Use a screwdriver, chisel or other pointy tool to test for soft spots. Wherever you find damage, mark the subfloor with spray paint.

  • Use chalk to outline the damaged areas. These lines will be the guide for cutting out damaged areas of the subfloor.

  • Determine whether there are any electrical or plumbing obstructions on the underside of your subfloor by looking at the area from your basement. For second floors, this step may not be possible and you'll have to use extra caution when cutting.

  • Cut out the damaged portions of the subfloor with a circular saw. Use the t-square to ensure your cuts are square. You will need to use either your hammer and chisel or an electrical oscillating tool when cutting boards next to the wall, as your electrical saw will not fit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Call your homeowner's insurance agent once you've assessed the damage. Your policy may cover the cost of some or all of your repairs.

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