should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

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omega
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should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by omega » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:51 am

We recently bought a 1950s built home and there are four bedrooms and a hallway in the second floor that has old carpet that we want to replace with hardwood. When I walk on the floor, I hear creaking sound and also feel like the floor is bouncy/flaky. A very heave flooring company guy bounced on the floor to test it out and I felt like the floors were going to give in. There is a 5th bedroom also on the second floor but it was built in the last 10 years and feels sturdy with no creaks.

We called a bunch of flooring companies to get a quote and also to see if the subfloors need to be replaced. They all unanimously said that the subfloors need to be screwed to the joists since nails are currently in and they might be coming out. Rescrewing and adding 3/4" hardwood over the plywood should fix the problem.

However, I called a general contractor to get his opinion and he said that the subfloors should have 1/8" gap between them when being laid and he says some of these boards are so close and go up on the edges when touching each other since there is no space to go. He is recommending to replace the subfloors and add support to the joist if need be and then put in hardwood floors.

We are now regretting even pulling out the carpet since the scope of the project keeps increasing.

How hard is it to rip out the subfloors. The contractor says he will pull out the baseboard trim and cut the plywood till there and then replace with new plywood.

Has anyone gone through anything similar. We would love to hear your opinions/ experiences.

Boats day
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by Boats day » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:57 am

Ah the joys of remodeling.

Sounds like you will have to replace sub floors.

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Pajamas
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by Pajamas » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:04 am

Seems like if the edges are pressing up against each other, that needs to be fixed as it will create an unlevel surface. However, it also seems that it could be fixed without ripping out the current subfloor if there are only a few problematic areas. Wood expands and contracts, even plywood, so the time of the year it is inspected and fixed might make a big difference, depending on the climate.

renue74
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by renue74 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:13 am

I'm remodeling a 1935 house now. In the kitchen there was old floor joists that needed to be replaced. That meant the subfloors as well.

You can take a circular saw, set it at the height of the old subfloor and run through that stuff really quickly and pull it up. Will need a oscillating saw or something to cut the old subfloor around the walls.

I would call it 1/2 to a full day's work to remove the subfloor, make sure all the nails are removed as well. Putting the new subfloor in is really easy. Make sure to glue it to the joists and screw it.

Subfloor costs about $25-$35 per 4x8 sheet.

If you're going to do it, do it right and you'll be happy.

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omega
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by omega » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:45 am

Pajamas wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:04 am
Seems like if the edges are pressing up against each other, that needs to be fixed as it will create an unlevel surface. However, it also seems that it could be fixed without ripping out the current subfloor if there are only a few problematic areas. Wood expands and contracts, even plywood, so the time of the year it is inspected and fixed might make a big difference, depending on the climate.
Pajamas,

We inspected the subfloors yesterday. I assume summer/early fall is when the moisture level is high and so the wood expands the most. Is it accurate to say that this is the most expanded the plywood is going to be. If I just replace those two board alone, will it work. How does this too close to each other relate to bounciness or flakiness of the floor. Do the floors creak because the nails are loose now.

Thanks

pshonore
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by pshonore » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:57 am

Are the subfloors plywood? Plywood has minimal expansion. If they're particle board (commonly used for carpet underlayment), that has to come up. It does not hold nails well (including the flooring nails/staples to fasten hardwood. I would just re-nail the plywood using "screw nails". (Nails with a small spiral thread on the outside of the shank - very good holding power)

Topic Author
omega
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by omega » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:28 pm

The subfloors are plywood and not particle board. Will that mean that a re-screw will fix the bounciness/flaky/creaking issues

Globalviewer58
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by Globalviewer58 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:20 pm

Current best practice is to glue the subfloor to the joist and then screw through the subfloor into the joist.

Take up one or two of the subfloor sheets to see the condition of the underlying floor joists. If the joists are sized properly and the plywood appears intact then glue and screw the plywood section back in place and see if this solves the creaking.

I don't know what you mean by a flaky floor - uneven? out of level? coming apart?

Topic Author
omega
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by omega » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:08 pm

What I mean by flaky is - kind of bouncy. If a heavy person jumps, I feel the floor vibrates.

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Pajamas
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Re: should we replace the subfloors when putting in hardwood floors

Post by Pajamas » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:25 pm

omega wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:45 am

We inspected the subfloors yesterday. I assume summer/early fall is when the moisture level is high and so the wood expands the most. Is it accurate to say that this is the most expanded the plywood is going to be. If I just replace those two board alone, will it work. How does this too close to each other relate to bounciness or flakiness of the floor. Do the floors creak because the nails are loose now.

Thanks
I would think if there is a problem in only one place, you only need to fix that spot. Loose nails can cause a floor to creak but so could plywood that is slightly warped and if two edges are too tight and it causes the edges to be misaligned, that might cause a creak, too. The bounciness would worry me more, but if you are using the right hardwood flooring, that shouldn't be an issue after it is installed. What you do need to make sure of is that the joists themselves don't need reinforcing no matter what you end up doing with the flooring. If you can access the underside of the floor from the basement or crawlspace, it should be relatively easy to inspect and brace if needed even if you don't replace the current subfloor.

Generally the humidity is higher in summer than winter but you could have unique specific circumstances that would affect that such as a few weeks of rainy weather or the local climate.

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