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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
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    15

    Default Particleboard underlayment

    I want to install engineered wood flooring in my home. Removing the carpet revealed particleboard over the plywood subfloor. I've been advised that particleboard is not a decent substrate for any kind of floor. My options are 1) remove the particleboard and replace with a plywood underlayment, 2) put a thin plywood layer on top of the particleboard, or 3) burn the place down and start over. Any help with the first two would be most appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1,004

    Default Re: Particleboard underlayment

    you stated that you have plywood as a subfloor under the particle board. if the subfloor is 3/4" plywood you can put the hardwood flooring right on top of that. if you have 5/8" subfloor or smaller then i would add a layer of plywood, of the appropriate thickness, on top of the subfloor. make sure you screw any additional plywood into the joists and not just randomly into the subfloor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Particleboard underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by MLB Construction View Post
    you stated that you have plywood as a subfloor under the particle board. if the subfloor is 3/4" plywood you can put the hardwood flooring right on top of that. if you have 5/8" subfloor or smaller then i would add a layer of plywood, of the appropriate thickness, on top of the subfloor. make sure you screw any additional plywood into the joists and not just randomly into the subfloor.
    Thanks. Should I remove the particleboard?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: Particleboard underlayment

    The only problem with particle board is that it swells like a sponge when it gets wet, other than that, there will be no issues for it to be under a floating floor. If you are nailing the floor down, then I'd replace the P-board with plywood.

    Something to take into account, as addressed by MLB, is the thickness of the hardwood, padding, vapor barrier, etc. that will be under it, then adjust your subfloor height accordingly. You don't want to have 3" gaps under your door jambs, nor do you want elevation differences when crossing hardwood transitions to other types of flooring (e.g. tile, vinyl, carpet ). Elevation differences between floorings, even as little as 1/2", can be a toe grabber, as well as uncomfortable to step on with bare feet.

    So, to answer your question, as long as the P-board is in good shape, there is no need to replace it, short of finished flooring height issues.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,767

    Default Re: Particleboard underlayment

    I really don't know why anyone would use P Boards under the finish floor. Floors get a lot of abuse, including spills - not good for P Boards. Remove the P Board.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Particleboard underlayment

    As long as it has never got wet, never gets wet, and it has solid support under it particle board is an OK substrate at best. I detest it and would not have it in my dog's house but on my jobs it's the owner's choice. Most of them would rather save the money and leave it hoping for the best while a few see the logic in getting rid of it while that is easy then using something more resistant to future troubles.

    It's your call if it's in good shape, just know that you may regret leaving it down someday. Then again that may never happen.

    Phil

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