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Old 04-22-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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Hardwood Sub Floor Concern


I am remodeling a house in a northern climate where I have removed carpet and pad from the major first floor rooms. The sub floor is particle board. I want to install 3/4" oak hard wood strips in these rooms.

Do I need to remove the particle board or can I place a perpendicularly installed glued and screwed new plywood sub floor over the particle board and then the hardwood?

I have received contrasting opinions. One contractor informed me that I definitely should remove the particle board and another said that as long as I make sure that the existing particle board is securely fastened to the joists and that if the new plywood is screwed well through the particle board to the joists I should not have a problem with installing the hardwood floor.

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Old 04-22-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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Hardwood Sub Floor Concern


What comes to my mind when you say particle board is MDF. I cannot see why anyone would use this as a subfloor though. It is most likely OSB. If it is OSB than you will be fine as long as it is in good shape, no water damage or rot. Put down some good vapor barrior (30# roofing felt) and you're good to go.

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Old 04-22-2008, 05:18 PM   #3
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Hardwood Sub Floor Concern


If it's particle board (looks like sawdust glued together)...then remove it. I don't know why they ever invented that stuff. If you add another layer...won't you be running into problems with threshold/door clearances and other floor levels?

If it's OSB, and in good shape, you'll be fine. If you haven't already, you will find that everyone has their vapor barrier of choice; 30# felt, 15# felt, or red builders paper. Read the installation instructions for YOUR flooring material and follow it to the letter, and if your instructions don't say anything about the vapor barrier...use what ever you would like to work with.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jcalvin View Post
What comes to my mind when you say particle board is MDF. I cannot see why anyone would use this as a subfloor though. It is most likely OSB. If it is OSB than you will be fine as long as it is in good shape, no water damage or rot. Put down some good vapor barrior (30# roofing felt) and you're good to go.
Thank you for your reply. Yes it is MDF, looks like saw dust glued together, not strand board.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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If it's particle board (looks like sawdust glued together)...then remove it. I don't know why they ever invented that stuff. If you add another layer...won't you be running into problems with threshold/door clearances and other floor levels?

You are correct, however I will be applying some reducers and cutting some doors.

If it's OSB, and in good shape, you'll be fine. If you haven't already, you will find that everyone has their vapor barrier of choice; 30# felt, 15# felt, or red builders paper. Read the installation instructions for YOUR flooring material and follow it to the letter, and if your instructions don't say anything about the vapor barrier...use what ever you would like to work with.
Unfortunately is is not OSB and it is particle board, so I think it will be be quite a job to remove it, but it sounds like my idea to lay new plywood over it is not a good plan, so I am going to be removing a lot of MDF -too much fun!

Thank you for the reply.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:22 AM   #6
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Hardwood Sub Floor Concern


That's too bad...it'll be a tough go. Lets hope it's "just" nailed and not glued. I helped my dad put particle board down in the early 70's, nailed with ring-shank nails 6" on center into native old-growth pine sub-floor...what a pain. It seemed like every other nail would bend and the surface of particle board is OMG hard and the ones that didn't bend would shoot off if not hit squarely.

Let's make sure we're talking about the same products. We've used the term particle board and MDF interchangeably, where as they are very different in terms of use and properties. Here's some images and links to Wiki on the different types of sheet goods. Several products available to consumers combine a couple of them together, some hardwood plywood uses an MDF core with a wood veneer. From the surface it looks like plywood, from the edge though it's MDF with the veneer glued to the top.

Wishing you the best with your project!

MDF.
Hardwood Sub Floor Concern-uebf6ppx1mdf.jpg
Particle Board
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MDF and particle board side-by-side
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Oriented Strand Board
Name:  OSB-Oriented_Strand_Board.jpg
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and for giggles, Plywood
Hardwood Sub Floor Concern-800px-plywood.jpg
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:07 AM   #7
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Hardwood Sub Floor Concern


Thank you again. I am going to keep these photos in my files.

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