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billfox 11-19-2011 11:24 AM

Leveling Flake Board Sub Floor
I've contracted with Lowe's to have laminate flooring installed to replace the existing carpeting in my house. There is sheet vinyl covering the kitchen and small bathroom (bath is 26 sq feet excluding tub). The sub contractor came out to measure for the estimate and I pointed out that the bathroom floor has a dip of about 1/4 inch max roughly in the center. His suggestion was to not put laminate in the bath but for the sake of expense rip out the existing sheet vinyl (which I've done) and repace with peel and stick. His take was that the expense of leveling the floor would be costly and said they charge "$400 a bag" (Sakrete or Henry's?) to level any existing dips in the house (including the one in the aforementioned bath. He says he can tell there's a dip in one of the bedrooms). As you might imagine this set off some alarm bells. Since than I've been on the web researching floor levelers of all sorts (there always seems to be a problem) and the use of shims such as shingles and felt paper as a leveler. The advantage (I'm guessing) of the shim approach is that you can nail or screw down the backer board without damaging a concrete floor leveler.
The basic facts are:
I've got a flake board subfloor covered with another 1/8" piece of flake board. Whatever flooring I wind up with will meet the laminate flooring at the entrance to the bathroom.
If I put down ceramic (same as "porcelin"?) tile I understand I will need backer board. But a lot of folks warn against screwing or nailing down backer board in a self leveling cement.
And finally, I was told the leveling process is not very easy and involves skill and experience ... but, $400 a bag? Any help will be gratefully appreciated ...

plowboy 11-20-2011 10:06 PM

$400 a bag is total crap and you wouldn't want to use Sakrete or Henry's. I would not rely on Lowe's for good advice related to floor covering. Check it yourself with a string and tape measure. 1/4 inch in 10 feet is a general rule of thumb for laminate flooring. I would remove the 1/8 inch board. TEC makes a good self leveling product. Be sure to prime the sub floor first.

billfox 11-21-2011 06:49 PM

thanks for the answer. I talked to another floor guy refered by a trusted source who agrees with you on the $400/bag rate. Apparently the meaning of x$'s per bag includes the material (the bag) application and any patching of potential leaks and run-offs in the area (at least around these parts; North Carolina). His rate is $80/bag but he also said that it was doable by anyone considering themselves "handy". I'm gonna rip out the carpet and see if he can give me an estimate. Not a big fan of somebody showing up ripping the carpet out and THEN telling me it's gonna cost a bizillion bucks to level my floor (especially after they already have my money for the laminate and the "install"). thanks again


JazMan 11-21-2011 08:39 PM


In the title you say it's flake board, did you mean OSB? Flake board is another name for particle board which would be bad news for you.


Bud Cline 11-21-2011 09:01 PM

Jheeeezh Bill...your gettin' some outrageous information out there, none of it true.

Put up a picture or two let's see this so-called "flake-board. You may be in deeper than you realize and maybe not.

If you do use Self Leveller you can do that yourself and we can get you through it easily. It IS NOT that difficult to do. If you have a particleboard subfloor that's a problem.:)

billfox 11-21-2011 09:51 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I'm kinda new to the posting pictures thing, but if it's viewable, this is a fair representation of what's under all my flooring. House built in 1993. Names of lumber are like fish (I guess). Up north it's bluegill; down south it's bream (and a walleye is not a pike - go figure).
thanks so much for your responses - hope the pic comes through.

JazMan 11-22-2011 10:08 PM


That is OSB, Oriented Strand Board. If it's "subfloor" grade it will be OK. If I had known the house was built in '93, I wouldn't have thought it might be flake board.

Is this a pic of your subfloor? How thick is it? I assume the thin stuff over it was already removed.

Can you please sum up this thread and your intentions.


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