The Importance of Sub-Floor Preparation for Flooring

When preparing to place down a flooring, the subfloor can be overlooked. The longevity of flooring depends on the quality of the flooring and the quality of the subfloor underneath. It is a requirement when installing flooring as it can determine how long your flooring will last. You would want an investment such as flooring to last as long as possible.

The subfloor is the layers below the top layer and above the joist foundation. Underlay or underlayment can also be referred to as the subfloor but is more commonly placed underneath the carpet and lino flooring to provide cushioning and insulation. The subfloor is required as the flooring is not designed to be directly applied onto the joists as it is too weak to give any strength or structural integrity. There are higher chances of the floor wearing out if there were no sub-floor.

Underlay can be added when required but it isn't a necessity to have in subfloors. The underlay is added under carpets as it helps with adding cushioning. It makes the carpet appear softer, provides noise cancellation, and adds a little bounce. In addition, it also adds in insulation which can be handy during colder months.

Usually, underground or ground floors use cement as a subfloor and levitated floors use wood like plywood. These subfloors would have to be flat, with no holes or dents. They would have to be clean to avoid dirt and debris from ruining the flooring other than traffic and usage. The subfloor would also have to be made from the right materials as floorings, such as laminate, can't be placed over an underlay.

If the subfloor underneath isn't flat and smooth, then the flooring above will be affected. With cheap vinyl flooring, the vinyl curves and molds against the ridges and the crevices of the subfloor. With laminate, the appearance isn't affected but becomes wobbly and can cause the edges of the laminate to wear.

To fix cement subfloors, it has to be filled with a self-leveling compound such as screed. This is a liquid-like substance that runs over the cement. It covers all the holes and dents to give a smooth and flat finish. While with wooden subfloors, it has to level with plywood nailed down into the floorboards underneath. Plywood is cheap and durable which can quickly cover the small holes and dents underneath by providing a layer of wood to add strength to the broken subfloor underneath.

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