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Subfloor Preparation and its Importance to Floors

How well a floor performs once it has been installed does not depend just on the floor itself. Another crucial factor is the subfloor — that is, the flooring beneath what you might consider the ‘proper’ or ‘actual’ flooring.

Here is a guide to subfloor preparation — and why you shouldn’t neglect to take the subfloor into account if you want the floor above it to remain intact for the long haul.

What Is A Subfloor?

The term ‘subfloor’ can refer to not only foundation flooring, but also ‘proper’ flooring that is already in place and left there as new flooring is laid on top of it.

How a subfloor should be prepared will depend on what type of flooring is set to cover it. For example, we would advocate sticky backed underlay for either solid or engineered wood flooring, while underfloor heating underlay is used with underfloor heating systems.

Why Is Subflooring Important?

You might not have realised that, when it comes to how long your flooring lasts, the largest factor is actually the subfloor on which this flooring is installed.

If the subfloor has not been prepared to an at least adequate standard, the flooring could start to fail prematurely — with bumps, wears, and even tears potentially forming in it.


There are several that a subfloor must satisfy before it can be effectively used as a base for new flooring. For example, the subfloor must be properly clean, dry, free of any dust, debris or loose screws or nails, and structurally sound.

Questions To Ask Before Installing Your New Floors

Before you arrange for a new floor to be installed, you should ask yourself what kind of flooring it will be as well as a number of questions about the existing subfloor.

While this subfloor could potentially suffice as a base for the new flooring, you can confirm for definite by addressing such subjects as those of what is currently lying beneath the subfloor and whether this subfloor has been tested for moisture.

Other Considerations

As you assess a subfloor’s integrity, you should also consider the ‘grade level’ where the subfloor will be installed. The term ‘grade level’ is used to refer to a specific level of the building.

For example, ‘above grade’ is used for any floor above ground level, while ‘on grade’ is reserved for the ground level itself. A basement’s floor, meanwhile, would be below the ground level and so count as ‘below grade’.

Can An Owner Handle Subfloor Prep?

You might be tempted to take the DIY approach to subfloor preparation — and it’s an approach that could work, depending on how much experience you have with preparing the kind of subfloor you are intending for the space.

However, if you remain unsure about whether or not to undertake subfloor preparation, don’t be afraid to contact us by phoning 0207 609 1234.

Your Subfloor Experts

Here at The Flooring Group, we have flooring specialists specialists capable of undertaking subfloor preparation work at various residential and commercial properties in Greater London.