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How to Install Subfloor Panels

These step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to easily install subfloor panels in an empty room.

More in Remodeling

sub floor panels installed in empty basement
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Prepare the Panels

Bring in the subfloor panels to the space at least two days prior to the installation so they climatize to the relative humidity of the room (Image 1).

Dry fit subfloor panels to see how they lay out (Image 2). This prevents ending up with a small sliver at the end. To adjust the panels, cut some inches off the starter row using a table saw. Cut in a well-ventilated area.

Step 2: Install the Spacers and Panels

Add temporary 1/4" spacers between wall and the subfloor panels to allow room for expansion and contraction (Image 1). These will be removed after the floor is installed.

Use a tapping block to ensure a tight seam (Image 2). Stagger the seams for a more stable floor (Image 3).

Step 3: Place the Leveling Squares

If there is a deflection in the floor of less than 1/2", stack up as many leveling squares as needed and check to make sure the panels are level. If the deflection is more than 1/2", concrete repair will be needed.

stack leveling squares as needed for deflection

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