What is the Best Material to Use for a Subfloor?

Why is it not good to use particle board for base floor? What kind of material should I use and why?

By alexx a soto from Newark, CA


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September 17, 20100 found this helpful

Well, my floor and sub floor is particle board also I believe called OBS. I developed a water leak around the base of front door. In short order I had mold and, believe it or not, mushrooms growing from the inside threshold. I had a contractor repair the floor. He had to remove the front door and the frame,lift up the carpet, cut out a large piece of the floor and the sub floor, and jack up the doorway to remove and replace part of the sill plate which is what the walls rest on. He replaced the particle board with plywood. I believe he said it was made from fir. He said that could be tossed into a lake for a year and nothing would happen to it. The particle board had gotten wet and had almost rotted completly through. The job took two men a day and a half to make the repair. I have not received the bill for the materials and labor yet. Fortunately the under lying 2 x 10 joints were not damaged. Had they been they also would have had to be replaced.


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September 20, 20100 found this helpful

Particle board is sawdust glued around the edges and wedged between two layers of glue to keep it's shape. There is a wood that I can't remember the name of right now, but it's wood chips actually mixed with a resin and it's supposed to last almost forever.


Plywood, if not treated, warps just like press-board swells. It's called plywood because layers are "plied" onto other layers, as you can see when you look at the edge. Your best bet is to go to a hardwood store and get some free advice. They love to give it.

Good luck.


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September 21, 20100 found this helpful

Plyboard. Now they also lay a piece of cushioned substance over the plyboard.

September 29, 20100 found this helpful

Well I have been constructing buildings for years and I have yet to find a product that could spend a year at the bottom of a lake and not deteriorate good luck with that. I would ask your contractor if the source of the water damage had been found. If not you will have the same problem again. He is right that plywood is more durable than underlayment (particle board) when water exposure is a factor.


Some floor coverings tend to fail when laid over plywood because, there are often voids in the core of plywood leaving the floor covering with spots that are unsupported. This is not a problem with hard surface products but, soft products may fail in some cases.

Best of luck! Rygobus


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