If you’ve removed an old floor to replace it only to find that the subfloor underneath is damaged, you will have to replace the subfloor before installing a new floor. While this is not an easy task, a do-it-yourselfer can complete the job with a few pointers. Here’s what you need to know.
Step 1 - Remove Old Baseboards
The baseboards will be replaced after you install the new subfloor, but in the meantime you will need to get the baseboards off the wall. Place them aside if you plan on reusing the same boards.
Step 2 - Take Measurements
Measure the dimensions of the room you are installing the floor in. You will want to allow a 1/8-inch gap for natural expansion at each edge. Sketch the dimensions on a piece of paper as you measure. This will help you create a diagram to scale to use as a guide for the materials.
Step 3 - Orientation
You need to figure out what way you will want to lay the flooring. Remember you need to use the least number of plywood sheets you can. So use your diagram to figure out which direction will give you the most coverage.
Step 4 - Start Laying the Plywood
Start by laying one piece of plywood down on the old floor starting in the corner. Remember to leave your 1/8-inch for expansion. Nail this piece down using plenty of nails. They are cheap and will make the floor quieter once it’s finished.
Step 5 - Lay Subsequent Pieces
You can now use your jig saw or circular saw to make cuts to the next few pieces and lay them out so they fit snugly. Lay them out in one row from wall to wall.
Once you have finished the first row you can move on to the second row. You will want to use a plywood piece that’s about half the length of the first one. This will create the seams that you need for the subfloor. It should look similar to what a bricklayer would do.
Step 6 - Keep Working Until It’s Finished
You will want to continue laying the flooring down in this manner until you have completed the entire area. Go back over and make sure all the pieces are nailed down securely and the seams are even.
You’ve just finished your new subfloor, and can now start working on laying the new floor down. Once the floor is done you can go back and reattach your baseboards and add any finishing touches.