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How to Install Subflooring for a Wood or Concrete Floor (page 2 of 2)

Find out what subflooring material works best with a variety of flooring, then learn how to install it.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Laying Ply

Sweep the floor, and check that all screws or nails sit below the surface. Drive in or countersink any protruding fixings, ensuring that they don't go right through the floorboards and into any cables or pipes beneath them (Image 1).

Check whether any floorboards are loose. If they are, screw them down securely, because a subfloor must be laid on a rigid floor surface (Image 2).

Pick a corner that is as square as possible for your starting point, and lay the first board (Image 3). Use grab adhesive for extra rigidity.

Use ring-shank nails every 6 inches around the edges of the board. Nails should go into floorboards but not through them (Image 4). (An alternative to nailing thin ply is to use a staple gun)

Apply nails every 6 inches in a grid across the center of the board, as well as around the edges, to keep the subfloor level and firm (Image 5).

Butt-join boards tightly (Image 6). Continue laying boards. If boards need cutting to fit, use a panel saw for straight cuts, and a jigsaw for templated cuts.

Laying Hardboard

Prepare the floor by sweeping and leveling it as shown for laying ply. If possible, choose a square corner in which to start laying boards. Stapling is the quickest way of securing hardboard, although ring-shank nails can be used. Position fixings at 6-inch intervals. Fix nails at 6-inch intervals in a grid across the floor surface (Image 1)

Butt the second board hard against the first. When placing boards, keep them as neatly aligned as possible, so that later rows fit easily into place (Image 2).

Work across the room in rows, staggering the joints between boards on subsequent rows (Image 3).

Using Self-Leveling Compound

Block the threshold. Mix the compound, as detailed in the manufacturer's instructions, and pour it onto the floor (Image 1).

Use a plastering trowel to spread the compound evenly across the surface, removing any peaks and redistributing it into depressed areas (Image 2). Lay 1/8 inch deep.

Mix and lay further compound until the floor is covered, smoothing it in with the damp edges of previously poured areas (Image 3). Leave the compound to dry overnight before walking on it. Then use a medium grade of sandpaper to remove any ridges that were left by the trowelling.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009