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Thread: Hardwood flooring over particle board subfloor?

  1. #16
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    1/2" plywood was the standard subfloor, for decades, after they stopped using diagonally laid 1x boards.

  2. #17
    If the issue is just nail security, what if you nailed the floor down with fasteners long enough to purchase the joist? It could mean doing it by hand, but its an option.

    After reading Tom's post, have you considered a glue down floor? What about the vinyl with a 1/4" underlayment?

    .

  3. #18
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    From a contractor perspective - Flooring changes, you are doing it now and someone else will later to. There isn't a realistic reason to assume that this floor will be forever permanent, to be lived with by you or your relatives, and the next owner will probably change it to whatever is popular in 10 years anyhow. To that end, the nails in the particle board will last just fine for that long. I'd nail the subfloor to the joists better if there isn't a nail every 8" or so, then nail the wood down. People forget how much stiffness nail down wood adds to a floor, you'll stiffen it substantially, especially if you go across the joists. What the trade does with squeaks if they show after install, is face nail and touch up. The cleats won't go much deeper than slightly into the subfloor below the particle board, so making sure it's attached to the subfloor is important. I'd add a layer of paper underlayment to, probably just rosin, depending on the wood.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    From a contractor perspective - Flooring changes, you are doing it now and someone else will later to. There isn't a realistic reason to assume that this floor will be forever permanent, to be lived with by you or your relatives, and the next owner will probably change it to whatever is popular in 10 years anyhow. To that end, the nails in the particle board will last just fine for that long. .
    I really, really hate this, but I am leaning this way. If this were a house I was planning to live in long-term, I'd tear up the particle board. But career plans leave me here for about ~4 years, and it's otherwise a typical 80's house with vinyl siding put over the original T-11, a new layer of shingles put atop an old layer, popcorn ceilings covering bad drywall jobs, etc. I know that tearing the particle board up is the thing I ought to do, and if I were doing a total gut job I'd gladly do it, but if nailing to the particle board will last ~5 years...

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Platt View Post
    I'm wondering about the depth of penetration of those cleat nails. The ones I used when I put in floors (in my house) went in at an angle, so they don't go 2 inches deep. If my math is correct, and the cleats go in at a 45 degree angle, that gets them 1.4 inches down, which means only about halfway into that 1/2 inch plywood, and well short of the joists. If the hardwood flooring boards are perfectly flat, and don't need much holding, that'd be fine, but I found (only 3 rooms worth of experience, though) that a lot of the boards weren't so perfect. Would cleats mostly in particle board hold unruly boards?

    But perhaps my math is off or I'm missing something. Wouldn't be the first time

    Ken
    Ah, I hadn't thought about that. You're right - it'll only go half-way into the 1/2" ply.

  6. #21
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    The luxury vinyl doesn't even nail down. It snaps together like laminate does, and lays there. You could even take it with you when you leave. There are even versions with real wood surfacing. I have no experience with any of this stuff, but we are getting ready to take up the carpet in my Mother's 1960's house, and put luxury vinyl down, so I will have some experience shortly.

    My Mother is 103, and going into assisted living, so we are going to start renting out her house. For that, the luxury vinyl seems hard to beat. Our bank even has it in their newest building now, for over a year, and it still looks like it was just installed. Our dog room is due for a new floor, so that's what we're going with in there too.

  7. #22
    Update:

    I can see the layers (the particle board and ply) through a floor vent register that I removed, but my eyeball thickness measurements were off. The particle board is actually 5/8" thick, and there's 3/4" ply under it.

    Does that change any opinions?

  8. #23
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    On Dan's original question on the particle board. A couple questions come to mind.
    1. What is the spacing of the floor joists? What is their depth & span? How do the compare with current code for the area load rating?
    2. How much deflection (bounce) are you currently getting in the floor?
    3. What is the condition of the particle board? Pristine? Water damaged? Swollen areas?
    4. What location/climate is the house in? Arid? Wet/damp south east? What is under the floor? Conditioned space? What I a getting at is the moisture transfer. What is the probability that the particle board will pick up moisture once your new floor is on top of it?

    Pulling up the particle board is a pain in the rear. But, with a good breaker bar, crow bar & shovel, it is not too bad. Unfortunately, I have pulled up a couple in the system you have described.

    Personally, I usually don't mind doing something once. I hate having to redo a project because I cut corners or didn't do it right.

    From the outside looking in, if the floor system joists & sub-floor, the 3/4" ply, is in good condition & stable, especially if the space is 16" oc, I think I would be inclined to pull up the particle board an just overlay it with the hardwood per the normal practice in your local.


    On LVT, that is great stuff, especially the high end & commercial grade stuff for many applications. I have it in several rental applications & it is holding up wonderfully. But, for my own house, I will stick with real wood floors. But, if & when I go into a condo, or the like, I will go with LVT over WTW carpet any day. I have pulled up too much carpet in my time and am always disgusted at how much dirt it holds.

  9. #24
    The National Wood Flooring Association subfloor guidelines can be found in chapter 4 https://fermaflooring.com/wp-content...Guidelines.pdf

    I assume you will use the hardwood floors as a feature when you sell, seems like it should be done properly.
    Last edited by Lloyd McKinlay; 09-16-2019 at 8:48 PM.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    The luxury vinyl doesn't even nail down. It snaps together like laminate does, and lays there. You could even take it with you when you leave. There are even versions with real wood surfacing. I have no experience with any of this stuff, but we are getting ready to take up the carpet in my Mother's 1960's house, and put luxury vinyl down, so I will have some experience shortly.

    My Mother is 103, and going into assisted living, so we are going to start renting out her house. For that, the luxury vinyl seems hard to beat. Our bank even has it in their newest building now, for over a year, and it still looks like it was just installed. Our dog room is due for a new floor, so that's what we're going with in there too.
    Tom, I've used the thinner stuff a lot, around 3/16th thick, but I just got three pallets in for a customer (8500 pounds!!) that has the pad attached. Closer to 3/8". It's heavy stuff, looks like it will last a long time. Not looking forward to lugging it around though.

  11. #26
    The luxury vinyl doesn't even nail down. It snaps together like laminate does, and lays there. You could even take it with you when you leave. There are even versions with real wood surfacing. I have no experience with any of this stuff, but we are getting ready to take up the carpet in my Mother's 1960's house, and put luxury vinyl down, so I will have some experience shortly.
    Dan,

    Why not just go with a floating floor? We did this in a room about 10 years ago as a "temporary" & it still looks good.

  12. #27
    Helped my son remodel a house they bought a few years ago, has 1/2" particle board over 1/2" ply, and had the same in the master bath. We tore out and expanded the master bath, and replaced that particle board with ply. They did not want hardwood flooring, and bought laminate flooring, which looks like walnut. We had to tear out the flooring in the entryway, including the plywood, which was 5/8" to make the floor level so the same flooring could go throughout the house. Most of the particleboard in the house stayed.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    First thing I'd do would be to fire you.
    What a nice (and useful) reply Andy!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  14. #29
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I'm tearing up carpet and putting down 3/4" solid hardwood, but have found that the subfloor is 3/4" particle board (yes, particle board, not OSB) on top of 1/2" plywood.

    If this was your project, what would you do?
    Dan
    I truly feel for you, and have been going through the same kind of stuff with my house for the past year or so. Every project I do, or repair I make turns into a giant pain in the behind because of what was done in 1978. ( The house was built in 1919, and a major overhaul was done in 1978.)
    There are just things that should have been done then, with the house empty, that are very difficult now. It's very frustrating, expensive, and time consuming. I've ripped up the flooring to the joists in some cases. It just had to be done. ( In that particular case, 1/4" luan and linoleum, had been installed on top of a diesel fuel soaked T&G subfloor. You couldn't smell it, until I ripped up the luan. Man, it reeked really bad!!! The kicker, there hasn't been an oil fired furnace in our house since 1978.
    My advice; Rip up the floors and do it right. It will make everything else you want, or need ,to do later easier.

    BTW. Lots of folks thought they would only be in their current house another 3-5 years. Sometimes that doesn't work out.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 09-17-2019 at 8:00 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  15. #30
    +1 on what Mike said. plus, it is bad ju-ju to do bad work. Do the best you can.

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