Many homeowners who have purchased an older character home will find themselves asking the same question: What do you do with uneven subfloor?
When preparing a floor for refinishing some subfloors are easy to recover and others just don’t give you an inch. If after peeling off the old flooring or carpeting, and then scraping the subfloor you find that your floor is uneven and you don’t know what to do about it. Here is a couple of tips to get you squared away. Pun intended.
What kind of unevenness are we talking about? If it is left over material from the last floor then you still have some scraping to do. If you have created some holes in the floor from over scraping or from soft sub floor, then you may want to use a leveling compound. If you’ve done your level best (pun intended) and you just can’t get the floor level, than ask yourself what you expected to see on this floor when it’s finished. If you have removed a vinyl floor and want to put down a vinyl floor in its place, then they’re really is no substitute for getting the sub floor perfect. Old glue and flooring remnants even sawdust and woodchips will show right thru a vinyl one piece floor. This would be the worst option for an unlevel floor.
If you want to use tile then the rule of thumb is that anything that is below the tile, will show through, eventually. This includes cracked concrete and unlevel floors.
Both carpets and laminate floors come with padding and if you are covering nastiness on your subfloor then these options are your best bet. Get the thick stuff because depending on what your leveling issue is. Bare feet will be able to feel an uneven floor through Laminate or carpet. Most importantly, there is a point of no return. When you absolutely have to, replace the subflooring.