Installing Wood Flooring on Different Types of Subfloors



Prepare for stunning hardwood flooring by ensuring you have the right subflooring for your project. There are many different types of subflooring, with different installation steps for each one. Explore the most common subfloor options and how you can enjoy quality hardwood flooring that’s built to last.


The wrong installation process can have serious consequences. Attempting to nail hardwood into particle board subfloors can result in loose floorboards before long. Gluing solid hardwood planks to your basement concrete subfloor may look great until moisture causes it to warp and buckle. Work with a leading contracting team for a safe installation process.


Particle Board Installation

As one of the oldest engineered wood products, particle board is made with a combination of resin and wood chips. It’s a more cost-effective flooring option than plywood, but it isn’t as sturdy and is more prone to water damage.


This subflooring doesn’t hold staples or nails as well as other more durable options. If you attempt to nail your wood flooring down, you may not be satisfied with the result. Instead, most professionals use a floating floor approach.


Flooring experts lay boards and firmly connect them with the tongue and grooves on the panels. When a floating floor is fully installed, it won’t shift and is held in place by other boards, floor trim and the walls of the room.


OSB Installation

OSB stands for oriented strand board and is a composite material designed as an upgrade to particle board. Also known as wafer board, this material uses layers of wood chips oriented in alternating directions. These chips are pressed and held together with a resin compound.


One of the best ways to install either solid or engineered wood planks into this type of subfloor is with secret nailing, also known as blind nailing. This process uses a nail or staple fastened at an angle near the tongue of the flooring plank. When the groove in the next plank is fitted around the tongue, it hides the nail.


Plywood Installation

Like other types of subflooring, plywood is a sturdy material best used with secret or blind nailing. Plywood is a durable, long-lasting flooring option that’s used in most homes. When properly secured, wood flooring on plywood subfloors is a secure and valuable choice.


Thanks to the durable nature of plywood, there are many different ways to install flooring. Instead of using nails or staples, consider installing a floating floor or gluing floor planks down. Floating flooring can be more affordable because it doesn’t require any fasteners. Gluing planks with a floor adhesive can provide a firm hold.


Concrete Installation

If your home is built on a slab foundation or you’re planning to install wood flooring in your basement, then you likely have a concrete subfloor. Concrete is by far the most durable subflooring option. It’s more expensive than plywood, OSB and particle board and isn’t practical to use upstairs, but you can still install hardwood planks directly to the concrete.


Start by checking the moisture level of the subfloor. In most above grade areas, you can install solid wood planks using floor adhesive or a floating floor approach. For basements or rooms of high moisture levels, however, only engineered hardwood flooring is suitable. This is due to the warping effects of water. An environment with a great deal of dampness can cause solid hardwood to swell, buckle or warp.


Find Quality Hardwood Flooring for Your Next Project

Whether you’re preparing to install your own flooring or searching for a reputable contractor, you need to understand the differences between common types of subflooring. Contact us at Blue Ridge Floors to learn more about the pros and cons of each option. Schedule an installation service from our expert team to enjoy stunning flooring in your home.

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