Most homes need a subfloor, which lies beneath the tile, carpet or other flooring of the home. Subfloors are made of a processed wood similar to plywood, which is nailed to the joists below. A subfloor is an extremely important element of a home, and serious damage or wear will require subfloor repair. Subfloor repair for minor damage can be performed by a homeowner, but if it is the joists that are found to be damaged, a professional should be called in.
Damage to a subfloor can be evident on floors with carpet or linoleum with dips in the surface of the floor. Sometimes these dips can only be felt when waking across the floor with bare feet. But, a more serious problem in a subfloor can be felt even with shoes on.
With a tiled floor, cracked tiles are a sign that the subfloor is not providing enough support to the tile. In that case, it is a good idea to take up a few tiles and look for subfloor damage. Whenever there is a problem with a subfloor, the problem can only get bigger. For that reason it is best to fix it as soon as possible.
There are several tools and materials needed for subfloor repair, and it is best to have them all assembled before the repair begins. A portable circular saw and electric screwdriver will be needed, as will a tape measure, some chalk, a chisel, screws, and some construction adhesive.
You will also need some replacement wood for the damaged part of the subfloor. It is best to get more than you anticipate needing, in case of accidents or damage that you were unaware of.
Hardware and home improvement stores often have a pre-made subfloor wood available. This wood is suitable for use in your subfloor repair and should be bought in the quantity that will be needed. Be sure to buy enough so that the project will not have to come to a halt in order to purchase more wood.
Repairing the Subfloor
You will probably not need to pull up the entire floor to do the subfloor repair. Simply removing the flooring that is covering the part of the subfloor that is damaged should be enough. The damaged area of subfloor will have to be cut out, and it is important to cut over the joists when removing the damaged area. Looking at the existing subfloor, the joists will be located where the nails are in the subfloor.
Starting in the middle of the area that is damaged, drill a hole into the subfloor. This will determine its thickness, and you can set the circular saw to that depth. Cutting to the exact depth will prevent the joists from being damaged when doing subfloor repair. Cut out the entire damaged area of the subfloor. It can be pulled out by using the drill hole that was made in the center.
Cut a new piece of subfloor to replace the damaged piece. It will need to be cut to the exact size of the old piece to ensure a tight fit. When the joists are exposed, it may be a good idea to take a look at them to make sure that they have not sustained any damage.
If they look damaged, the problem is more serious than can be fixed with subfloor repair, and a professional will need to be called. If a professional is needed, you may decide to let them finish the repair job at the same time they are fixing the joists.