Have you started to notice a soft spot forming underneath your carpet? Have you noticed your floorboards have been squeaking particularly loud lately? These signs and more can point to the need for subfloor replacement. If you’re like the majority of homeowners, the need for an important home repair can lead to stress and anxiety.

At California Foundation Works, we’re here to take the negative emotions out of your Los Angeles County subfloor replacement or subfloor repair. Call today to book your free home inspection and evaluation, but first, allow us to breakdown essential aspects of subfloors and the subfloor repair and replacement process.

Related: Girder And Beams

What Is a Subfloor?

You might have heard of subfloor damage, but perhaps you don’t know just what exactly a subfloor is. A subfloor refers to the solid material that is beneath the floor covering. The subfloor is attached to the floor joists in the home, as it serves as the finished flooring base.

A subfloor is most commonly made from either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) panels. The finished flooring that the subfloor serves as the base of varies from carpet to hardwood to laminate to tiles and more. 


In basements and other below-grade areas, many consider the concrete foundation to be the subfloor. However, the OSB panels or plywood panels can still be installed over this concrete layer with the assistance of ground-level floor joists known as sleepers. 

Related: Mudsill Replacement 

Does My Home Require a Subfloor?

Whether or not your home requires a subfloor depends on your specific home. An OSB panel or plywood subfloor is needed for above-grade carpet, hardwood, laminate, and other forms of floor coverings because they are unable to be directly installed to the floor joists.

However, OSB panel or plywood subfloor is optional if you opt to go with a different type of flooring, such as certain tiles and carpets, as well as engineered hardwood and floating laminate. Materials that allow for direct installation onto the concrete subfloor can forgo the traditional OSB panel or plywood subfloor as long as there are appropriate moisture barriers.

Importance of Healthy Subfloor

ISubfloors are very important, as they form the foundation of the floor. The subfloor creates a level and stable surface that is necessary for installing new flooring and carpeting, so it is essential that it is in its best condition and there are no signs of subfloor damage. Subfloors make the floors easier and smoother to walk on and increase the ease of new flooring, carpeting, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, or tile installation.

Therefore, it is extremely important to have the subfloor properly installed and protected from wear and rot. Unfortunately, the subfloor can become rotten due to multiple factors, leading to subfloor damage.

Related: Floor Joist Replacement 

subfloor replacement

Causes & Signs of Subfloor Damage

The most common cause of subfloor damage is overexposure to moisture and water. This predicament is often the result of a faulty drainage system, a leak in the building’s plumbing or home’s exterior, or excessive humidity in the environment.

Fortunately, it is rather easy to spot signs of subfloor damage that could be indicative of the need for subfloor repair or subfloor replacement.

Common indicators of subfloor damage include sunken or uneven floors, loudly squeaking floorboards, musty smelling rooms, shifting or bouncing floorboards, cracks in the floor tiling, and bubbles in linoleum flooring. If you have spotted any signs of foundation damage, it’s essential to contact a professional contractor to rectify the situation and prevent the subfloor damage from escalating into a more serious issue.

Professional Replacement Required

Though some might be tempted to attempt to undergo the subfloor replacement or subfloor repair process themselves, these projects should always be handled by a professional contractor. Subfloor damage is very important to address as quickly as possible before further damage can be done to unstabilize the floor of your home.

If you have any questions or concerns about the state of your subfloor, reach out to a professional contractor as soon as possible. With the option for free inspections, there’s no reason not to have your subfloor checked for signs of damage.

Related: Effects of Rain On Foundation

Ready to get started on your subfloor replacement or subfloor repair?

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