How Important is Sub-Floor Preparation for Floating Floors?

A quality installation begins with proper sub-floor preparation and not all products require the same level of perfection. When installing floating floors, including laminate, engineered and click together vinyl plank, the sub-floor should be solid, clean, squeak free, dry, and flat within the manufacturer’s specifications.

The tolerance for flatness will depend on the type of material being installed as well as the type of underlay being used. Thinner vinyl planks that already have an underlay attached, are referred to as “pad attached” and may require the highest level of accuracy in terms of flatness. Due to the pliability of the thinner vinyl planks, it is important to ensure the sub-floor is free of any undulations, which could affect the integrity of the locking system. Most pad attached flooring products do not allow the use of an additional underlay, as it may cause too much deflection, which could cause the product to come apart. It is also important to note that the attached pads do not usually cover and support the joints of the locking system which further reinforces the need for the higher standard of sub-floor preparation when selecting this type of product.

Laminate and engineered hardwood floors are usually thicker than vinyl and therefore more rigid, allowing for more product deflection. This increased rigidity provides for more options when selecting the underlay to be used. Better quality underlays can make a noticeable difference in the overall comfort and performance of a floating floor. For the installation of laminate and engineered floors we recommend using the best underlay possible and our most popular choice is Ultra Felt, which is a 3 mm fabric type of underlay. Ultra Felt helps to mask minor imperfections in the sub-floor, as well as providing better underfoot comfort, noise reduction and increased warmth.

Fixing your sub-floor problems

Potential sub-floor issues can only be determined once the existing flooring has been removed and the area has been thoroughly cleaned. Each installation area should be independently checked and you should never assume that because one room is flat and level that all rooms are the same. It also doesn’t matter if your sub-floor is concrete or plywood. High spots in a concrete sub-floor can be reduced with a concrete grinder and wood sub-floors can be fixed by sanding or planning the area to the desired height.

A large hump in a plywood sub-floor, may be caused by a joist that is crowned the wrong way. In extreme cases it may be necessary to remove the plywood in order to shave down the joist(s) and then re-install the plywood. Low spots or dips in the sub-floor can be fixed with an approved levelling compound that is mixed and poured in the area and then feathered on the edges to match the height of the surrounding area. Once dried, the area can be sanded further to the meet the level of flatness required for the product being installed. For questions regarding sub-floor issues please contact laminatewarehouse@shaw.ca

Content Provided By Your Local Flooring Experts

Recent Posts

How Important is Sub-Floor Preparation for Floating Floors?

How Important is Sub-Floor Preparation for Floating Floors?

A quality installation begins with proper sub-floor preparation and not all products require the same level of perfection. When installing…
The Best Choice in Flooring is Based on More Than Choosing a Colour!

The Best Choice in Flooring is Based on More Than Choosing a Colour!

Many consumers shop for their perfect new floor based mostly on colour, without giving enough consideration to the material composition,…
Sub-Floor Preparation

Sub-Floor Preparation

When preparing for the installation of new flooring it is imperative to prepare the sub-floor properly based on the type…
Laminate Floors Cleaning Tips

Laminate Floors Cleaning Tips

Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of…
DIY Flooring Installation Tips

DIY Flooring Installation Tips

The following flooring installation tips are designed to help homeowners successfully complete their DIY renovation projects. At Laminate Warehouse, we…
Price Protection Guarantee

PRICE PROTECTION GUARANTEE

Laminate Warehouse offers the guaranteed lowest prices on everything we sell. We will meet or beat any competitor's advertised price on the same product. See store for details.

free-cutter-flooring

FREE Flooring Cutter

*When you purchase 1000 sq ft of Sherlock Water Resistant Laminate and Ultra Felt Underlay or 1000 sq ft of Sherlock SPC Luxury Vinyl Plank.

  • Cuts laminate and luxury vinyl
  • Includes installation kit with Silent, dust free cutting
  • Angle mitre guage included
  • No electricity needed
  • Includes installation kit with tapping block, pull bar, spacers and honing stone