Flooring and Carpeting level a wood subfloor, vinyl composition tile, plywood subfloor

Flooring and Carpeting level a wood subfloor, vinyl composition tile, plywood subfloor

Flooring and Carpeting /level a wood subfloor?



QUESTION: I am remodeling the kitchen in my 1950s house. There were several layers of old lenolium which I have removed. All except the first layer which was glued down with a tar-like substance to only half of the floor (The total kitchen area is about 13′ x 18′). The sub floor is good in that it is not rotten, but it is cedar and has shrunk over the years so it squeaks and has irregularities and the the whole floor has as much as about an inch or so of rise and sag in the middle, plus there is the issue of the old lenolium, which is between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick, that I have had a very difficult time removing. I intend to put 12″ vinyl composition tile down for the new floor. My questions are: (1) do I need to remove the old lenolium. (2) is there a self-leveling product that will even out the «waves» in the floor and equally as important, how much will it cost. and (3) will I need an additional layer of 1/4″ plywood or other underlayment before laying the tile?

Thank you very much for any advise you can provide.

ANSWER: Hi Leah ,

The old and last layer of vinyl is actually real linoleum. probably? And the black tar is a moisture barrier black building paper glued to the floor first and then the linoleum is glued to that.

Now if you can help me here. is the subfloor solid now. or can you see through it in gaps and voids? Is the sub floor running on diagonal or another direction?

The old lino. if it is smooth and hardly noticeable does not need to be removed.

If my assumptions are correct you have diagonal sub flooring lumber running on the floor joists. made of redwood or cedar to resist insects.you need to staple or nail or screw this on the joists to stop the squeaking.

Then you need to place a black building paper down to cover any voids and air gaps. we just go wall to wall and staple it down it helps keep drafts out too. 15 lb black felt is fine.

next install new plywood subfloor staggering your end joints like a brick wall pattern. Make reference marks so you can nail or screw to the floor joists. please choose at least 1/2″ 4/5 ply. not the cheap 3 ply. if you look at the cross section you can count all the layers. even though they are all 1/2″ more layers make a stronger board. 5/8ths would be even better you a solid foundation.

The next step is to fill your bird baths so the floor is flat. Many people are concerned with LEVEL. when really all you need to get is FLAT. However. I assume much and don’t want to set anything in stone here. so you need to choose what will satisfy you.

Self leveling products usually come in 25 or 50 lb. bags. each pound will cover a sq ft 1/8″ deep. so a 50 lb bag will do 50 sq ft at 1/8 th » deep

and so forth. Each bag is in the neighborhood of 25.00 and you need a primer to help it bond to any existing subfloor. concrete or wood. sold in gallon units. check Home Depot / Lowes..or a flooring supply warehouse near you.

Other methods of repairing the floor include trowelable / non self leveling products which are less expensive. but require more skill to use a steel flat trowel and archive a smooth consistent Float across the floor.

Flooring and Carpeting level a wood subfloor, vinyl composition tile, plywood subfloor

Here are some links to help you choose products that are commonly available and I highly recommend.

Mapei is a great company and has fantastic products. on the main page navigate to the flooring installation tab and see the self leveling products. then see the trowelable products clik the menu and then the surface prep and patching products. Call the 800 # under the CONTACT US. tab and ask for a dealer/distributor there. Also ask about the other products you see and may have questions about. don’t forget the primer and additives. Ask for them / about them.

Durabond. now owned by Bostick is another with very similar products. all easy to use and available nationally.

Just navigate around or call the 800 #

If you have more questions or you can answer mine I am always happy to assist.


QUESTION: There are two layers of sub-floor. Yes, there are diagonal planks about 2″ x 10″ on top of the joists. They are very solid and in great shape, but on top of that is cedar 1″ x 4″ tongue and groove which has shrunk and warped a little over the years. Only this top layer has squeaks and some give. There are no air gaps to speak of. My concern was with the layer of old lino, yes the real stuff which is now only covering about 2/3 of the space, because I was able to get most of it up rather easily, until I got to the part that was glued down. So, there is a slight «step» where the old stuff is still there. Can I get away with skipping the issue of «level» and just go with the plywood directly over this floor as it is and then apply the VCT over the plywood?

Home Depot / lowes sell a fast floor patch grey portland cement product. about 15-20.00 per bag. mix with water to a runny cake batter consistency and use the back side of a notched trowel to do this. it will be better in the long run

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