Replacing carpet with 3/4" hardwood. Under the carpet is a mix of old
floors, including lineoleum and maple in bad shape. Solid subfloor (doug fir
I can't do 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood then 3/4" flooring---makes the floor way
to high. What about 1/4" plywood for a nice flat surface, then nailing and
stapling through flooring, through 1/4 and into original subfloor? Most
manufacturers require 3/4 inch plywood beneath flooring.
Engineered flooring is an option, but I'd prefer 3/4" for my historic house.
You are correct, most manufacturers want 3/4" plywood as a base. One
of the main reasons why is because installers do not take the care to
hit the joists with the staples, having 3/4" inch plywood allows for
decent hold when the staples miss the joists. I would add 1/4" plywood
for a nice smooth surface and then lay my hardwood and trying hard to
ensure I hit the joists with my staples. It takes a little more time
but I assure you it is well worth the extra effort as floor squeaks
will be non-existent for the most part. Be sure to lay the paper
barrier between the plywood and hardwood.
Installing 3/4" hardwood over a poor substrate or subfloor is an
invitation to a squeaky floor and other defects. I don't see where
1/4" plywood under the new floor is likely to do much more than raise
the floor by 1/4".
The best installation would be to tear out the old subfloor and
install a new 3/4" T&G subfloor. That would be a big job probably.
Rather than installing the 1/4" plywood layer, I would think about
working with the existing subfloor to make it as level and as sound as
possible, then put down a layer of felt paper and install the hardwood
directly to the existing floor.
If you use a pneumatic stapler and staple it tightly enough, the
floor should turn out reasonably well. Try to run the flooring
perpendicular to the existing joists. If you can't install blocking no
more that 24" oc between the joists.
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