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  • Jessica Foster

Subfloor Problems and When to Fix Them

When it comes to floor systems, a crucial component is the subfloor. The subfloor is similar to the foundation of a home, sitting just above the joists and providing a stable layer for flooring to be installed upon. The proper installation of the subfloor helps ensure the floor system is supported. Knowing possible problems will help you know where, when, and how to make the necessary adjustments, so that the floor of your project can do its job. The National Association of Home Builders has performance guidelines to follow to make sure your project goes smoothly.


One observation you may see or hear is the wood subfloor squeaking or feeling loose. In most cases, a subfloor won’t be completely silent, but loud squeaks can be caused by improper installation or signify it is loose. Corrective measures should only be taken if the squeaks are loud as squeaking is common, happening when someone moves over wooden boards as well as the wood rubbing against nails. Wood inherently makes squeaking noises, so unless the subfloor is loose or the squeaks are loud, no repair is necessary. To repair a loose subfloor with loud squeaks, it can be refastened using casting nails into carpet and countersinking the head.


Aside from noises, subfloors can end up uneven. There is a tolerance to how uneven a subfloor can be before it needs repair. Performance guidelines state that subfloors should not have more than a ¼ inch ridge or depression within any 32-inch measurement. There can be some uneven parts of a subfloor per agreement between customer and contractor to compensate for other conditions, so as long as the uneven section is within tolerable parameters, repair isn’t needed.


Lastly, there are situations where the subfloor can end up not level. The subfloor should not slope more than ½ inch in 20 feet. Sloping can be caused by deflection, as the floor sags due to loads and can become excessive if the floor is overloaded. Customers are responsible for ensuring they don’t place too much weight on the floor to prevent this. If the sloping is more than what is allowed, the floor must be made level to fit into tolerable parameters. Some floors are sloped for aesthetic and functional reasons, so as long as they meet performance guidelines, they don’t need to be repaired.


The floor system is a vital part of any construction project, but it can’t function properly without an adequate subflooring. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor dedicated to not only upholding performance guidelines, but going beyond so you can be sure your renovation project is more than just satisfactory. Get in touch with us about your next project so you can be sure it's done right the first time.

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