When To Replace Subfloor From Water Damage

While homeowners brag about their gorgeous hardwood floors or brand-new carpets, subflooring is quietly sustaining you, your furniture, and all the various components of your house. The structural component beneath your floors that keeps them supported is called subflooring. Subflooring, which spans the numerous floor joints that make up a building’s skeleton, is composed of softwood or plywood.

Subfloor replacement may be necessary if there is substantial damage to the subfloor caused by fire or water. It may be necessary to identify these problems to protect your house and yourself.

For this reason, knowing when to replace subfloor from water damage. is essential.

Know When To Replace Subfloor From Water Damage

Subfloor damage might not always be visible. It may take years for gradual deterioration  – from plumbing issues to leaky windows, or roofs – to become apparent.

Here are a few indications of subflooring problems that can be seen without removing your flooring to look underneath so you can decide when to replace subfloor from water damage.

Bouncing Floors

A little bounce in your step is perfectly OK, as long as it doesn’t come from the floor. It might be time to replace your subfloor if your flooring starts to feel springy, bouncy, or spongy, or if you notice that the floorboards around you move when you walk on them.

Bubbling Linoleum

Although bubbling linoleum isn’t usually a reason for concern, it might be if moisture accumulation beneath your flooring is the source of the problem. You might need to search a bit more closely to rule out water damage to your subfloor if your linoleum floor is bubbling.

Use a needle to puncture each bubble in your linoleum floor and press down to release the air to mend it. Next, place a towel over the bubbles and press down on it to bring back the smooth surface of your floor.

Cracks On Flooring

Tile needs a solid, hard surface beneath it to prevent cracking because it is not flexible. If you see cracks in your tile floor, it can indicate that the subfloor needs to be replaced because it isn’t sturdy enough.

Remember that there needs to be a cement backer board between the tile and the panels when laying tile over plywood or OSB.

Hardwood Floor Cupping

Hardwood floor cupping may indicate excessive humidity in your house, but it can also indicate that water damage is causing the wood beneath your floor to deform. Your hardwood floor is likely cupping if the middle of the floorboards is lower than the edges.  

But do not worry—as long as the moisture source is fixed, you can undo this damage with the help of a professional for water damage.

Leaky Ceiling

Just to be clear, your subfloor has nothing to do with a leaking ceiling. However, it can be a sign that there is a gradual leak in your house. Water seeping through the ceiling could indicate that OSB and plywood are entirely soaked through, as these materials tend to absorb moisture.

To check for subfloor damage, you might also want to give a flooring professional a call besides talking to the plumber.

Loose Or Rocking Toilet

When a toilet moves, it is because the subflooring has gotten so bad that the screws holding it to the floor are no longer anchored firmly. A slow leak in the toilet’s plumbing is frequently the cause of the moisture damage. It’s critical to get it treated right away because it will only get worse with time.

Loud Squeak Sound

When the nails holding the subfloor to the joists come loose, the subfloor squeaks. The terrible, well-known sound of squeaky floorboards happens as you walk over the floor because the nails are moving in and out of the hardwood joists. Squeaking sounds coming from all over the place could indicate that the material has deformed.

Musty Odor

The difficult part is figuring out where the water damage is beneath your floor, but the odor of mold is an instant indicator. A water-damaged subfloor is almost definitely the cause of any musty odor coming from your carpet or wood flooring.

Uneven Or Sunken Areas In Your Floor

It may indicate that the materials beneath the carpet have weakened if your floor seems uneven underneath. It might not be required to replace the subfloor entirely, but you will need to replace the damaged areas to stop the rot from getting worse.

Take note: You will also need to tear up your carpet.

Ways To Fix A Water-Damaged Subfloor

After knowing when to replace subfloor from water damage, it is now time to know how to fix a water-damaged subfloor.

Here are the steps for fixing water-damaged subflooring in a situation where it is decided that subflooring replacement, either in part or entirely, is necessary.  

Step #1: Stop The Water 

Before attempting to mend the floor, it is necessary to locate and stop the water source, assuming the water damage was brought on by a leaky appliance. Make sure that the leak’s source has been located and fixed, regardless of the actual reason.

Step #2: Inspect The Subfloor

Take up the baseboards first, then either pull back the carpet or take out the hardwood floors. In certain situations, you might be able to cut off areas over the water-damaged subfloor if the space has another kind of flooring, such as vinyl.

The subfloor will need to be removed if it is spongy or has decayed in any way. Vent the space and give the subfloor time to dry if, on the other hand, it seems firm and solid but is just wet. Everything is dependent on how long the water has time to soak into the subflooring.

Step #3: Cut Off And Remove Any Damaged Subflooring

The subfloor needs to be cut out and removed if it turns out to be damaged. After the damaged floor is removed, proceed cutting away until you reach the structural framing. It’s also possible for floor joists to sustain damage that requires fixing. The two joists on either side of the damage may need to be removed. To discover the floor joists, use a stud finder.

Make sure to remove all of the damaged materials throughout the removal procedure to prevent mold from spreading into the new wood that may not be noticeable.

Step #4: Install New Subflooring And Stabilize The Floor Joists

Cut and measure the replacement subflooring. Use Subfloor Adhesive when replacing with Sub-Flooring to strengthen and stabilize the flooring and help stop squeaks.

Maintain a 1/8 space between the new and old subflooring. Install the new subflooring using nails, and push all perimeter fasteners 3/8 away from the panel borders. 


Serving South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland
PA# 019590 MD# 108211
We also do : Water Damage Restoration, Drying & Dehumidification, Fire, Smoke & Soot Clean Up, Sump Pump Failures, Restoration and Mitigation, Crime Scene Clean Up, Pack Outs, Biohazard, Puff-back Cleanup, Mold Remediation, Sewage Clean Up, Water Extraction and General Contracting

Contact Us

1214 East Market Street
York, PA 17403



Get Connected

Call Now Button