" Photo of wood flooring "

Prepping the subfloor for wood flooring installation.

How to prepare subfloor for wood flooring installation ?

In this post i will explain how well you should prepare the subfloor prior to installing wood flooring and why .  What is the subfloor you might ask ?  The foundation for a floor in a building. Whether it’s your home or business the subfloor will be concrete or wood . It’s simply a concrete slab or wood floor on piers.  So now that you have an understanding of what the subfloor is, let’s dig into the preparation proccess and the tools needed.

How clean should the subfloor be prior to installation ?  While most wood flooring adhesives are formulated to stick to just about every surface you could think of..

The installer ( whomever that may be ) really needs to do a proper preparation to the subfloor, to insure the wood flooring will adhere to it . With that being said all the paints and stains, sheetrock mud must be removed.

What if i just glue over paints, stains and sheetrock mud ?      If you glue over the paints, stains and other known construction debris that get stuck to the subfloor, it will stick for a while but most likely will not hold for more than a year or two. In some cases it’s less than a year. Causing the home owner headaches down the road. That is why i recommend doing it right the first time.

Let’s look at the steps we take to insure our customers are getting a proper wood floor installation. One that will last for years to come. I have included a list of the tools needed to prepare the subfloor.

"Picture of how to clean subfloor"
Scrape where the floor sander will not go.
"Floor cleaning"
Using a floor sander to remove paints, stains, etc. from subfloor ( slab )
  1. Sand and Scrape  : You need to sand and scrape all the paint, stain and sheetrock mud off the concrete or subfloor. Scraping is generally where the sander can not go .
  2. Clean it up : After you have the surface cleaned propperly.. sweep it all up an dispose.
  3. Sweep it again : Does it really have to be swept again ? If you have a vac that’s just as good . The point is to get as much dust off the subfloor so that patch or glue will adhere . A thin layer of dust can make some problems .
  4. Check for patch : With a six foot straight edge you will slide it across the slab checking for high spots and low spots. Any gaps between subfloor and straight edge over 3/16’s of an inch will need to be patched . Patch usually takes a few days to completely dry.
  5. Prepping patched subfloor : Sand and scrape just to make sure that anything loose ( flaky ) will be removed . You then need to cut all the door jams that wood  will be going under. Then, with a chisle or screw driver,  run it under the door jams and base boards to get out the sheetrock and other debris.
  6. Super clean : One last clean up and your ready to pop a line and lay wood .

Tools needed for subfloor prep

  • Scraper
  • Push broom
  • Vacuum
  • Chisle
  • Jam saw

Wondering where to get that first line from .  Usually when the time comes to install wood flooring the tile is already installed so that is where we start from.

Wood floor installation best practices

Should all flooring installers follow the same practice. YES and here’s why. In my 4 years as a flooring installer i have delt with all sorts of wood and tile repairs and diggups. Not everytime but most of the time when we dig up old wood flooring what i have noticed is this. The wood glue will be stuck to the wood and what’s stuck to the glue…paint…stain…sheetrock mud…and even patch. Now… if the subfloor had been prepared properly then it would most likely would not have an issue.

By following these wood flooring installation guidelines, we can insure that the wood is there to stay for many years to come .

Now that you know what the subfloor is and how it should be prepped prior to installing wood flooring sharing is caring. If this post was helpful share this with your friends so they too can be as informed as you. As always we thank you for vsiting our flooring website and hope you have a wonderful day. If you have any further questions feel free to give us a call.


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