How to Remove Your Basement Subfloor

A basement subfloor usually is removed when making repairs or remodeling efforts. The subfloor is the layer under the main flooring that is installed to allow the main flooring material to be easily installed on top. The usual material used is plywood, but sometimes, it can be made of concrete. Removal of any type of subfloor requires careful preparation and safety procedures.

Tools and Materials

  • Crowbar
  • Circular Saw
  • Power Drill
  • Safety Goggles
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Kneepads

Step 1 – Remove the Main Flooring Material

The flooring material can either be made of carpet, wood, linoleum, vinyl or tile. If it is made of carpet, remove the tack strips first and pull the carpet away from the floor. Fold it and set it aside. Tiles should be removed using hammer and chisel. Use adhesive removers and putty knives to remove vinyl.

If it is made of wood, use a crowbar to pull out the nails, staples or similar fasteners. Pull out the wooden floor section by section. Clean out any debris left on the surface of the exposed subfloor. If there is a paper barrier in between the main flooring and the subflooring, pull it up to remove it.

Step 2 – Cut the Subfloor into Sections

It is easy to remove wooden subfloors section by section. Prepare the circular saw by setting its blade to the correct thickness of the floor material. Cut it into 2x2-feet sections. This allows them to be removed a lot easier.

Step 3 – Remove the Sections

Pry the 2x2-feet pieces of subfloor using a crowbar. Work the curved portion of the tool to go underneath the piece of wood. Get the crowbar as close to the location of the nails or staples as much as possible. Pull the section upwards little by little to loosen the fasteners. Work carefully along the edges first to loosen every bit of fastener before working with the middle part. As soon as all fasteners are loose, pry the section out of the floor.

After the first section is removed, carry on with the task removing the remaining sections one at a time. Be careful when reaching sections around walls and doorways. Remove the casings and the base moldings first before removing the cut sections. If a cabinet is fixed onto the subfloor, score the edges on the cabinet base with a utility knife before proceeding. After all sections have been removed, clean the surface underneath and prepare it for the installation of new subfloor material.

If the subfloor is made of concrete, the process can be tricky. Before removing the concrete, consider if it really requires removal or not. Ask for professional advice before planning anything. If the concrete does require removal, then it is best to use jackhammers or sledge hammers for the task. Plot the entire area into 2x2-feet sections and break each section one at a time. Lift off the broken pieces off the floor before proceeding to the succeeding sections. Clean up the mess after.