Particle board subfloors

turbo3February 4, 2011

I have a 37 year old house that unfortunately was built with particle board subfloor. I want to put in nice, pre-finished, hardwood flooring but have learned that it is strongly recommended not to nail it to particle board. It seems that the usual solution is to over lay it with plywood subfloor, but this will cause a problem in our kitchen since it will raise the stove and dishwasher height too high, depending on the thickness. My carpenter said that pulling up the particle board would be a nightmare (i.e. very costly), and we wouldn't be able to remove the subfloor under the interior framing. Additionally, the floor creeks badly in places, presumably where the subfloor is loose/warped. I'd appreciate any ideas on how to handle this quagmire.

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It will probably void most warranties to apply to particle board but most warranties arent backed up anyway. I have installed over particle board many times simply because of the cost issue and have not had any problems. With using an air nailer the nails go in so fast at at such an angle that they grip very well and decrease the chances of a blowout. I would check the area very carefully for squeeks and screw down those areas and possibly screw down the entire area. Only speaking for myself and 35 years of remodeling and never a call back.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:49AM
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Wet particle board will swell and has no cleat holding power, a bad combination.
The best bet is to remove it altogether. It is often a 1/2" sheet over a 1/2" plywood. Just replace it with another 1/2" plywood and there will be no issues over heights to plague current or future home owners.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:58AM
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Unfortunately it is not over plywood. I can see it from the furnace room, under the kitchen. It's about 1" thick and glued down.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:25PM
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though it may be hard to know for sure some p OSB are acceptable. Bruce recommends 3/4" OSB ps-2-92 rated. If thats the case then you may be ok but its a risk if its not

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:34PM
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To clarify, this is not OSB. It is oatmeal looking particle board from 1973.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:19AM
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