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Old 08-17-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
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hardwood on top of particle board

Ok, i just ripped off my carpet and I see I have a 1/2" layer of particle board above plywood (I presume plywood is 1/2"). I'm laying down 5/8" engineered wood floor (tongue and groove) and need to know if it is a bad idea to apply over the particle board. The way I see it I have two options
(1) get long cleats and drive through to the underlying plywood
(2) rip up the particle board and lay down a half inch of plywood before installing the hardwood

What pitfalls await me if I go with #1?


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Old 08-20-2009, 12:42 AM   #2
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Don't put hardwood (or anything else, except carpet) on top of particle board. If it gets wet, it expands and there goes your fancy new floor. The pb is easy to remove if you make a lot of cuts with a circular saw. Set it to the 1/2" depth (carefully) and then run it both directions from wall to wall in between the joints. The more cuts you make the easier the particle board will come up. Too many cuts and you'll be hauling little pieces out to you truck forever. A 20 gal trash can is great for the little stuff.

When you put down the second layer of 1/2" ply (CDX is fine), try not to have the joints coincide with joints in the existing plywood. I'm guessing the grain in the second plywood layer shoudl still be run the same direction as in the existing plywood.


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Old 08-20-2009, 10:29 AM   #3
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that makes sense. I imagine that is a major problem with a the houses that were "flipped" in the last few years!
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:17 PM   #4
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Wood over particle board

Textbook answer don't do it!

Real life answer #1:

Gluing is better than nailing for this installation.

Real life answer # 2:

If you really want to nail, use staples...at least 1/2" long. They'll penetrate the subfloor and "curl" a bit to help lock the floor down.

NOTE: If you do nail/staple, the floor WILL squeak in the winter!!

Wood Floor Guy

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Old 08-20-2009, 03:54 PM   #5
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Floating it over particleboard is not an issue.
Nailing it is a huge mistake
glue it? what about the particle board soaking up moisture in the adhesive before it cures?
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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sub-floors sub-floors.. The are a diy nightmare! perfect example. if you buy a brand car would you still put your five year old used tires on it? I dont even know why they still sell particle boards anymore for the three dollars per board savings?
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:03 PM   #7
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Glue It

I would have to say that i agree with gluing the engineered directly to the particle board using a sealer first then adhesive. Try wftaylor.com they have some really great stuff for porous floors such as particle board that can save you alot of time not having to rip that stuff out and save you some money as well. Just did the same thing in my grandmothers house with some 3/8 brazilian cherry 3" square end square edge went down great didnt even break a sweat and she is exstatic I love engineered flooring.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:09 PM   #8
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So far everyone has "assumed" it is 1/2" particle board. Cut a hole and verify.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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if you don't want your flooring to squeak, use a layer of tar paper or the brown construction paper, then nail.. no squeaking...

if you are going to replace the particle board for plywood, run the plywood perpendicular to the first layer. I would also suggest that you use PL adhesive between the layers, which will bond the two and also eliminate the risk of squeaking. then install your flooring as above.


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