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Hardwood vs plywood under kitchen cabinets, and best way to level base/floor?

2657 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  gslenk
I have 2x8 joists 16" OC spanning ~12ft, sistered (glue and screw) with 2x6, some full length, some over 2/3 of the span. Subfloor is 1/2" ply from the 70's. Solid 3/4" hardwood flooring will be weaved in with surrounding areas and be the kitchen floor (replacing the removed laminate floor).

First: (hardwood or advantech under the cabinets?)
I was going to tile, but changed my mind to hardwood, so I have several sheets of 3/4" advantech. I was also going to run hardwood completely under the cabs, but it seems that advantech under would be a stronger and safer installation, and matches the finished floor height. If it really is better to run the hardwood, that is still on the table...

Second (best/sturdy way to level floor?): I will be using IKEA cabinets, and a stone countertop. I want this as sturdy as reasonably possible. The red lines in the diagram represent the joists. I have one just in from the wall, another 10" in, and another at 26" which will miss the cabinet base. The attached diagram shows my floor at the lowest point (zero) and the heights above that lowest point. Spaced every 24 inches apart.

My plan was to rip a bunch of strips of advantech say 4". Then build the ladder (simplified diagram included), scribe it to the floor with construction adhesive, screw it to the back wall. To make scribing easier, I was thinking of scalloping the ladder on parts that wouldn't land over joists, say green cuts for the short (left wall) and red cuts for the long wall. Something about this idea feels off to me, so any tricks for making this easy and still strong? I don't necessarily like the idea of point loads on shims given my 1/2" subfloor, but if it doesn't matter (considering whether it would be on hardwood perpendicular to joists, or advantech if that is ran under the cabinets), it would make life easier.

In general, the right wall's floor is higher at the wall than the front of the cabinets, and the left wall's floor is lower at the wall, if that helps...

Also, is advantech a bad idea instead of normal plywood? It seems pretty sturdy to me, and would help put it to good use since I otherwise may have no purpose for it.


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Putting hardwood over a 1/2 subfloor is a bad idea right there, if I understand you correctly. The nails need more to hold onto than just 1/2" plywood. Can you at least lay down another 1/2" or do you have to meet up with preexisting floor?

Shimming the toekick up with 3/4 plywood so as not waste hardwood flooring makes sense.

Your toe kick bases or boxes (what you call a ladder) sound fine. It's quite typical to shim the toe kick to an out of level floor. Having the 3/4 plywood under the toe kick will stiffen that part of the floor considerably.
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