Putting in new tile, vinyl, wood flooring, or laminate is a significant investment, and you want the final product to last for many years. Subflooring plays a vital role in the aesthetics and lifetime of your flooring, so you want to make sure that the surface is level before installing the new floor. Here are steps to follow to level the subfloor.
Remove the Old Flooring
You may be tempted to install new flooring over the old flooring to save time, but this will cost you in the long run. Flooring is not designed to adhere to other floorings, so you may end up with cracks, uneven surfaces, and irregular aesthetics. Make sure to remove all of the adhesive, debris, and dirt as you take up the old flooring. A professional sander can help with this process.
Look for Uneven Areas
Use a long pipe or leveler to find areas of the subfloor that are higher or lower. Make sure to check from different angles and in all areas of the subflooring. Mark any uneven spots with a marker so you can find them when it’s time to do repairs. Expect to find at least a few areas that need attention.
Repair the Subfloor
High spots in wood subflooring can be sanded or screwed down. If you find nails in the subfloor, replace them with screws. Check the level of the subflooring as you work, and clean up any dust with a wet-dry vacuum or broom. For concrete subflooring, grind down the high spots. For low spots, level the subflooring with an underlayment product or patch kit, depending on how much area is too low. After you are done leveling the subflooring, clean it thoroughly. Laminate floors are more forgiving than tile, wood, and vinyl, so you may not need to repair smaller areas that are too low.
Take Your Time and Recheck
As you are installing the new flooring, double-check the area in which you are working. If you find additional high or low spots, perform the necessary repairs on the subflooring. Make sure to plan for these situations, so the final result of your new floor installation looks good and is durable.