Subfloor Preparation: Why This Is the Single Most Important Part Of Your Flooring Process

February 20, 2023

No matter the type of flooring solution you are installing, subfloor preparation remains a vital part of the process that should never be overlooked or ignored.

It isn’t wrong or uncommon to spend the majority of one’s time seeking beautiful flooring products, exploring features and prices and weighing the pros and cons of every option.

A process that is often neglected, however, especially when it comes to do-it-yourself installations, is subfloor preparation.

It is so crucial to your installation, in fact, that doing it incorrectly can lead to a costly disaster and significantly reduce the lifespan of your floors.

We at Top Carpets and Floors have rectified enough substrate mistakes to know how detrimental poor preparation is to a flooring product, which is why our installation services include this crucial step.

Subfloor Preparation

Reasons Why Subfloor Preparation is Always a Priority

When we look at our floors, we only see what the surface entails, such as high-gloss laminates with an elegant sheen, or plush and cosy carpeting that makes a room look much more inviting. Beneath this surface-level installation, however, there is a subfloor. It is a substrate layer and the foundation upon which your flooring products are installed. Not all subfloors are the same, and some are made from materials such as plywood, concrete and cement. Some homeowners with a costly installation like hardwood or tiling simply install their new floors over their old floors, because removing them is too expensive or labour-intensive. While this is doable, especially when it comes to floating floors like laminates and luxury vinyl, subfloor preparation is always recommended. Simply adding new floors over the old ones can give rise to problems, such as too much weight and height added to the floors.

Subfloor preparation is essential because it can prevent several issues with your installation. You require a substrate that is completely level, structurally stable, clean and free of moisture. Failing to ensure this could result in:

  • Uneven spots, dips, sagging and raised areas in the installation
  • Excessive wear that occurs in raised places over time
  • Obvious surface variations in your flooring that look unsightly
  • Squeaking or noisy, creaky floors as you move over them
  • Separating of planks and seams, or flooring that moves or flexes too much underfoot
  • Water damage that seeps into the installation from the subfloor
  • Discomfort while walking, and an uneven surface that may lead to tripping and falling
  • Decreased lifespan of the product
  • Rendering the product warranty void due to improper subfloor preparation

These issues can become worse with time. Soon enough, the product will need to be replaced, doubling the costs for the homeowner.

Subfloor Preparation

Important Things to Think About When Preparing Your Substrate

Undertaking a do-it-yourself installation leaves much room for costly mistakes. There are several things to keep in mind and opting for a professional installation will ensure the process runs smoothly. Professional installers will first visit your home to assess the room and the substrate floor’s requirements. There are five main considerations:

  1. The products you choose. Whether you select wood laminates, carpeting, luxury vinyl or any of the other products available on the market, it will influence how your subfloor is prepared.
  2. The scope of the project and whether it is for a residential or commercial space
  3. The PH and moisture levels and the current condition of the substrate
  4. Whether the substrate will require cleaning and disinfecting
  5. Whether any compounds, chemicals and sealants were previously used on the floor

Once the hard work of prepping the substrate is done, the installation becomes much quicker and easier.

Steps That Must Always Be Taken – No Matter Your Flooring Type

No two flooring products are alike – hardwood floors have different installation requirements from wood laminates. That said, some steps must be followed, regardless of the type of product used.

The main priority is ensuring the substrate is structurally sound. Any cracks, defects or warped and rotting material must be replaced or fixed. There should be no mould, debris or moisture anywhere beneath, inside, or around the subfloor.

Even a little dust and other contaminants can affect how well the underlayment adheres to the substrate, so it must be thoroughly cleaned.

For the lasting performance of your product, the subfloor must be perfectly flat and smooth, which means that self-levelling screed is often used. While it can hide a number of imperfections, major variations in the surface level will not be covered up by screeding.

Product manufacturers offer warranties when subfloor best practices are followed and using professional installers who understand these best practices means you can protect your investment.

Subfloor Preparation

Why Our Professional Installers Make the World of Difference

With years of experience when it comes to helping clients bring their vision for their dream space to life, we understand what seamless subfloor preparation involves. Not only do we supply world-class flooring brands to our loyal customers, but we offer installation services that feature unparalleled guarantees.

Our promise is high-quality excellence, and we go the extra mile to leave your space in superb condition after we are done installing your floors. If you would like to know more about our services and line of exceptional products, speak to us today.

Subfloor Preparation

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Here at Top Carpets and Floors, we often get called in to redo poorly installed flooring. Whether this was a do-it-yourself job or handled by installers who did not know what they were doing, a common issue is the subfloor preparation. It also does not matter how well flooring is installed – if the subfloor […]

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