How to Install Interlocking Basement Subfloor Panels How to Install Interlocking Basement Subfloor Panels

When finishing a basement subfloor that is more visually appealing and comfortable to walk on, one of the easiest materials to use are interlocking panels. If you are willing to take a little time, and pay attention to some small details, then there is no reason that you, as the homeowner, cannot accomplish the job in a day or two. Of course, as with all other types of wood flooring, before you install these pieces into the basement, store them in the room that they will be installed into for at least two weeks, giving the material a chance to acclimatize to the normal room temperature.

Materials and Tools You'll Use:

  • Power saw
  • Level
  • Straight edge
  • Rubber mallet
  • Small pry bar

Step 1: Prepare the Floor

Use a Shop-Vac and clean the entire floor, making sure that there is no debris left on the cement floor. Suck up all of the dirt, nails, sawdust, and everything else that tends to stick on a cold floor. Use the straight edge and level to find any dips or bumps that need to be fixed. The cement
floor has to be clean and level before the interlocking panels are set into place.

Step 2: Fix the Floor

After the problem areas of the cement floor are found, repair the large problem areas with a basic mortar mixture, or a floor patching compound, both of which can be purchased at most any retail outlet store. For small areas, place small rubber or plastic shims directly on the floor to level the floor. In some instances, it may be easier to use a leveling kit, but it is normally easier, and cheaper, to use basic shims.

Step 3: Install the First Row

After the floor is level and straight, with all the repairs made and completely dry and solid, begin laying the first row of interlocking subflooring panels. As with all other wood flooring, leave a small gap around all the edges to allow for settling and movement. The easiest way to ensure
that the gap is even and the required distance, use the small gap spacers that should have been supplied to you when you purchased the interlocking panels. Most of these basement subflooring panels are coated in plastic on one side, which faces downward towards the cement. This forms a vapor barrier that prevents moisture and humidity from ruining the new floor, which is a common problem when it comes to flooring a basement.

Step 3: Finish the Floor

Finish the floor by laying one row at a time, cutting pieces as they are needed, and making sure that the seams and joints are staggered to help with strength and appearance. Use the rubber mallet to tap the pieces together, and carefully work the last row into place with a small pry bar. Remodeling a basement so that it is usable will not only raise the value of your house, but eliminates unused space. This is a project that requires a little time and effort, but it can easily be completed by the average homeowner within a couple of days.

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