DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Flooring (
-   -   Subfloors for Hardwood & Tile (

Mary Jo 03-13-2007 01:21 PM

Subfloors for Hardwood & Tile
My brother got a "deal of the day" on 3/4" oak flooring (my carpet is shot). My kitchen can use a tile floor (linoleum is worn) as long as we are at this. This home was built in 1974. I took up the carpet/linoleum doorway to find a base of 1/2" plywood. The kitchen has 3/4" particle board that is screwed down under 2 layers of linoleum (Does it matter if I wreck the plywood underneath if I pry-bar it?!). The living/dining/hall has 1/2" particle board nailed down (much easier!). Four stores later...I have four opinions on what I need to do next. My best guess (after reading several postings here) is to rip up all particle board, use "hardibacker" in the kitchen for the tile, and a second layer of plywood (thickness...1/2 or 3/4"?!?) in the living/dining/hall for nailing the hardwood. I still don't know the best way to avoid squeaks between floor layers, and if the height difference will be OK in the doorways to the kitchen (tile with 1/2" "hardibacker" would still be 1/2" off if the new plywood should be 3/4")! OH...I was told the cabinets should be taken out...or there is a saw that will cut right up to their edge. Love some ideas!

Mary Jo 03-13-2007 08:03 PM

New update...the kitchen particle board is glued SOLID!! I spent three hours and managed to chip away about 6"! My husband tried sawing through the 3/4" layer...but it didn't pop. Any ideas?!?

Square Eye 03-14-2007 03:26 PM

repair the places where you have chipped

find a nice linoleum :)

Kitchens are the hardest rooms in the house to change floors. Yours is much harder because of the particle board being glued. Chip chip chip, or cover it up.

glennjanie 03-14-2007 10:26 PM

Hello Mary Jo:
You could just glue the tile to the particle board in the kitchen. In the hall and living room, I would take out all the particle board and plywood. Then start over with underlayment grade, tounge and groove OSB glued and screwed to the joists. Also glue the tounge and groove. I know it sounds like overkill but, if you use the glue on the sub floor and use coated spiral nails to install the hard wood you will remedy your squeeks.

Bobby_M 03-15-2007 08:31 AM

Most tile pros would suggest that particle board is NOT a suitable underlayment for tile in any situation, especially in a room where the tile may get wet. In this case, I'd really recommend going over to the forum and asking for a second opinion.

I suspect they'll say rip up the particle board and build back up to proper height using plywood and 1/4" cement board (like Hardibacker for instance). This kind of job is the last thing you'll want to do over in two years after all the grout and a few tiles are cracked.

TileGuy 03-16-2007 09:36 PM

Tear it up
Build it up
Use 1/2 hardie backer
Enjoy it for years to come

NEVER EVER glue or thinset tile to wood, not in any room.

Mary Jo 03-22-2007 09:30 AM

Thanks for sharing. My brother, who's installed floors for years and has only seen this one other time, agreed with Square Eye! We took everything up in the kitchen. I went with 3/4" SC plywood. Got to buy a new heavy-duty drill to get the screws into the fir floor joices (watch for that if any of you bid jobs like this)! In order to get the height to meet up with the hard wood, we went with 1/2" hardie backer (much nicer to work with than cement board...comes in 4' x 8' sheets...heavy yet fewer seams and cuts like sheet rock). With the off set 20" is beautiful. Just one more coat of sealer and the appliances can go back in. Like TileGuy said (sounded like Bobby agreed)...we plan to enjoy it for years and don't want to mess with this again!! Now for the living/dining room wood!! They didn't glue down the particle board so we can replace it with plywood. I'm not an OSB fan...anyone care to correct me?!?

glennjanie 03-22-2007 12:09 PM

I share your feelings about regular OSB however, there is an underlayment grade OSB that is surface sanded, tounge and grooved, made of smaller chips and made to be much more durable. Ask the guys at The Depot or Lowe's to show you the difference. I wouldn't use any other subfloor. By the way, it is much more green because they use the whole tree; if that stuff interests you.

Mary Jo 04-03-2007 09:01 AM

Please help again! When I tore up the living/dining/hall and removed the particle board, the plywood over the joists is only 1/2" thick and the seams give when you walk. When I put the 1/2" subfloor down, do I need to glue and screw it in? I was told at Home Depot that screws alone would do it. Sure don't want any squeaks once I put the 3/4" hardwood floor down!

Also, I'm building a half-wall to replace the spindle railing. My husband thinks the wallboard in the staircase will crack when I joint it (he doesn't think it can be built solid enough for zero movement). Anyone deal with anything like this? I thought to make it 3' tall (it's 9' 5" long) and bring it out 14" (build three sections of shelves on the livingroom side). Must it be deeper?!? THANKS!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:50 AM.