Feb 28, 2014

The Layers That Make Up Your Flooring System!

Ask any contractor and they will tell you one of the most important parts of any building’s structure is its flooring system because it carries the weight of the interior walls, roof, your furniture, flooring and appliances. How well your flooring structure is built will determine how much weight that your floor can carry.

Your floors consist of layers, similar to how you would make a sandwich. Here are the different components:
  • Joist – the joist of your floor is the bottom-most layer that holds up your entire floor. Some floors, like concrete do not require joists.
  • Subfloor – the structurally sound layer, usually plywood.
  • Underlayment – this is used to smooth out the subfloor with a thin layer of plywood, cement fiberboard or cement board providing a flat level surface.
  • Finished floor – your decorative top layer flooring such as hardwood, tile or laminate.

There are a few different types of subfloor materials that you can use for your flooring.

  • Plywood – the most popular material used in subflooring is ½” plywood
  • OSB – Orientated-strand board, or also known as OSB, ranks up right up there with plywood, but tends to be a more cost effective option.
  • Cement Board – is more like an underlayment because it sits on top of plywood or OSB and is only used for when installing tile.
  • Foam & Cork Padding – this material helps cushion your step when you are installing laminate flooring.
  • Radiant Heat Subfloor – warmboard is 1 1/8” thick with grooves cut into the surface to accommodate PEX tubing, which heater water is ran through to warm the floor.
  • kitchen

What is the best subfloor to use with certain flooring options?

  • Hardwood – plywood is the best option for when installing hardwood floors. Plywood ranging in thickness from ½” – ¾” will work very well for hardwood installation. You can also purchase tongue and groove plywood that will help in reducing squeaks.
  • Tile – since you want to avoid flexing with tile flooring installation the subfloor for this material can be very sensitive. You want to avoid cracking of the grout so applying plywood on top of the joists and then using a cement board underlayment is most ideal for this medium.
  • Laminate – can be installed just like hardwood on top of plywood, but you also will have to add a secondary underlayment of thin plywood. Since laminate is a thinner material than hardwood or tile it is not as forgiving for things such as dents, grooves and ridges.

Tour a Custom Home Built by Lindus Construction: 

Important Tips When Installing Your Subflooring

  • You always want to keep your plywood or OSB sheets as large as possible to provide the most strength.
  • Make sure to rest the edges of the plywood or OSB on top of the joists.
  • Always stagger the plywood or OSB when installing it to avoid all four corners meeting.
  • Allow and 1/8” gap between all of your sheets and also the walls to allow for any expansion or contraction.

Browse Our Twin Cities Home Remodeling Projects:

Lindus Construction Reviews:

"Thank you to everyone that worked on this project.  You are a wonderful group of well-trained individuals."

Jennie Z.
Cottage Grove, MN
May 13, 2020

"Lindus Construction was great for the very beginning. Starting with the salesman, the design crew, the rough-in construction and the final construction. Everyone was easy to work with, they answered all of our questions. They also let us know weekly what the plan was and what they wanted to accomplish.  We would recommend them to anybody and I do recommend them. Thanks Lindus!"

Timothy & Theresa R.
Apple Valley, MN
January 27, 2020

"Once the work started I was blown away by the customer service, and the quality of the work. I was (and am) particularly impressed by Dave and Jason, the carpenters who worked on my project.  I felt like they had my back every step of the way. Brian Blok has been extremely responsive.  Everyone from Lindus was very friendly and professional, and the job is top notch."

Annette C.
River Falls, WI
October 19, 2019

"Thank you so much for a fantastic job!  We totally love the kitchen and appreciate what a great job done by so many people."

Mark & Mary Jane P.
Osceola, WI
July 22, 2019

"Very efficient and neat workers! Had a new door installed, drywall repairs and a custom wood wall project done. Three separate projects, three separate sets of expert installers - all very respectful of our house and very skilled. Very happy!!!"

Linda F.
Glenwood City, WI
June 19, 2019

We've used Lindus on 4 construction projects over the years, starting with residing our 100-year-old home along with an extensive addition about 30 years ago. It still looks great. A few years later we had them build a 26' X 40' foot unattached garage to store our stuff.  Had them put LeafGuard® on the 2nd story so didn't have to clean the gutters due to all the trees around the house. Got tired of cleaning out the 1st floor gutters so had LeafGuard® put on them as well. No more ladders - Yes! Lastly, we had them put a new basement under the old part of the house to solve the damp basement. They did excellent job on a very difficult project. Very happy with the end result. Only had to spend 1 night away from home during that construction project."

Ron P.
Hammond, WI
June 8, 2019
75% Off installation labor on LeafGuard® Brand Gutters and GAF Asphalt We are also offering a complimentary heat map analysis with insulation estimates through May 2022.
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