As we go into a new year many homeowners and landlords may be turning their attention to their floors. How are they looking? Do they really need replacing? On the surface their flooring, or carpet may look great, but there may be something under the surface that is possibly not – their sub-flooring!

This article applies mostly to those older areas of the Cape that have traditional wooden flooring. This is generally more problematic so we start with that –and then also touch on the preparation of laying Vinyl flooring over screed or cement – by far the more common under-flooring in most modern homes.

What is sub flooring?

For the uninitiated, this is the solid base (Usually made off plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) panels) under your main floor which acts as a base for your surface flooring, such as carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, etc.

Why do we need it?

We don’t always, it depends if the surface flooring can be attached to the floor joists. Above grade hardwood, carpet, laminate and other floor coverings, for example, can’t and therefore need a subfloor. Check with your flooring specialists what is applicable in your case when your surface floor is laid.

When do I need to replace it?

You need to replace it when it is damaged and here are a few common tell-tale signs to warn you if that is the case. They all begin with the letter ‘S’ for easier memory retention too.

Soft spots – When the floor becomes uneven or even sunken in parts, you will need to at least replace those soft spots to avoid rot spreading.

Smelling – The musty smell of mold or mildew is a surefire sign of water damage, but the tricky part is finding out where it is. Trust the experts with this, but don’t ignore it.

Shifting – Spongy, springy or bouncy, these are all signs of shifting and mean the sub-floor probably needs to be replaced.

Squeaking – This is one of the commonest and most irritating ones. When the nails connecting the subfloor to the joists are pulled loose, you get that eerie creaky floorboards sound. It’s not spooks, it the subfloor, so it needs attention before it drives you mad!

Several others – There are several more too, too numerous to detail, but these include: a toilet rocking loose; tile flooring cracking; hardwood flooring cupping; linoleum flooring bubbling up and even the ceiling leaking could indicate a slow leak in the home which will affect the subflooring in time.

Laying vinyl over a concrete subfloor (DIY)

Check for moisture –   This must be done by a professional using a moisture meter. be done by taping vinyl to the floor for 72hrs to see if it releases to easily when removed this would indicate the floor is still too damp

Clean the floor – Vacuum to remove any dust and debris

Check it is level – A carpenter’s level will check it is level and high and low spots should be marked

Fill the low spots – Use a patching compound, applied with a putty knife. Feather the edges of the patch to blend with the surrounding concrete and then allow the patch to dry.

Grind off the high spots – with a medium grit sandpaper. Vacuum after sanding.

Seek expert advice

The best thing to do in all cases is to seek expert advice with flooring professionals like Libra Flooring to ensure problems don’t become more costly than they should be and screed underlays are prepared correctly in the first place.

With our ‘balance of quality and price’ ethos, you can rest assured that whatever sub- flooring or surface flooring needs you have, we can always give you a quality product at a competitive price.

Contact us in 2020 and check out our website for our full extensive range of flooring products and much more.