How to Prep Subfloor for Hardwood

Learn how to prepare subfloor before installing wood floors. Subfloor needs to be clean, dry, level, and structurally sound. Find detailed instructions here:

Difficulty Level: Moderate. If you are not 100% confident prepping and installing flooring, Lowe’s recommends that you hire a professional. Call 1-877-GO-LOWES or visit to learn more about installation services through Lowe’s.

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17 Replies to “How to Prep Subfloor for Hardwood”

  1. One thing they didn’t explicitly cover: make sure the sub floor is either plywood or OSB. A lot of homes have particle board under carpeted rooms which is not a suitable subfloor for hardwood since it is prone to expansion from moisture and does not hold fasteners (nails, staples) as well as plywood or OSB.

  2. I want to lay vinal plank flooring on a concrete floor. Problem is a crack that goes down the middle. And has heved up. First coat of leveling compound didn't get the job done. What do I do now? Put a second coat down? Help please

  3. 1. If I use Plytanium 23/32 CAT PS1-09 Tongue and Groove Pine Plywood Subfloor (Item # 12249) from Lowes directly over the joists, would I need a 2nd layer of plywood on top if installing a waterproof LVP that has built-in-underlayment? (It will be across reinforced joists in a laundry room & bathroom- supporting laundry appliances & a bathtub).
    2. Can I paint those sheets with something like Killz to protect them from moisture & mold?
    3. Is there anything I should put across the seams (or 1/8" expansion gaps between the subfloor seams) or would it be unlikely to cause problems for vinyl plank?

  4. This lowes narrator has such a motivating voice. Always makes it sound sooooo simple.

  5. can I use padding over the subfloor and staple down engineered wood floor through the padding into the subfloor with no vapor barrier? or even though I'm using pad I still need to use the paper like vapor barrier?

  6. Any underlayment recommendations for sound insulating understand for 3/8" nail-in solid hardwood flooring? Only recommendation I see is the 15lbs black paper and that's moisture barrier only.

  7. Plywood sub floor is not needed. Apply 3/4" solid hardwood flooring right over the floor joists. Ask any carpenter from the 1920's!

  8. hey Lowe's can you install bamboo floating floor over existing laminate flooring in a kitchen

  9. Hi, I saw that Lowes recommended roofing felt. Is there any concerns I should have , a flooring company used roofing felt from United Roofing felt company (its basically all the same stuff) ,it had a California cancer sticker on.I realize everything in California causes cancer. Basiclly I'm asking is there any concerns like with gassing off or other chemical issues with air quality having roofing felt inside your home since its made to be outside Any help would be highly appreciated .Thank you

  10. The felt paper for build up on low spots is a very interesting idea. Do you have another video going into detail about this?

  11. You did not mention that OSB subfloors (show in the video) should be overlayed with 1/4" – 3/8" plywood when installing solid hardwood so that the nails hold better. From the research I've done, OSB by itself will not hold the nails tight over time.

  12. Can a locking floating engineered hardwood floor be installed over an existing glued down engineered hardwood floor (glued to the concrete slab).

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