The shingles will allow you to tame those uneven spots with precision. I’m laying down plywood and then doing the ‘paper bag’ floor look, which will be pretty much air tight. That's probably a very good question, but to be honest, Luan is usually found in formats or types of sizes ranging from 1/4 inches to 1/8 inches. Ricardo. Perhaps that’s a suggestion. per square foot for an 1/8″ sounds about right… so if you’re at three quarters inch you’re talking about 6 lbs. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, and re-usable, and usually can be manufactured locally. Our basement is pretty loud due to the wood floors above. It seems to be the pour method would be quick and easy but not cheap, although I do not know how much I need. He suggested more nails because it wasn’t nailed secure enough. We are putting in floor radiant heat. Plus, we figured we would need to install 3/8″ plywood over the self leveler to prepare for hardwoods (this may have been overkill, but we weren’t comfortable with the solution of driving staples directly through the leveler). Do I understand correctly that the dip is in the middle of the room? 5) For interior use, should OSB panels have a 1/8″ gap between each? Spread the leveler over the floor with a trowel or a gauge rake so it covers each low area completely. I want to lay 5″ x 3/4 Mahogany plank; will your system with the shingles and felt work for my issues? So far, no crunching heard. This article is part of our series on How to Install Hardwood Floors. In the past couple of years have there been any new and innovative approaches? The floor is not level or square, built in the 70's. Asphalt,mod bitumen,tar, formaldehyde, etc. 3/8″ plywood weighs about 1.5 lbs. For example if you need 2 layers of shingles then try and space out the taper length so that it is not as abrupt. 3 mm laun plywood is the top material for underlayment among home renovators and contractors. For our efforts, we decided to use shingles exclusively under the 3/8″ plywood, with the possibility of using the construction felt between the 3/8″ plywood and the hardwoods if necessary. Laser Level: Laser Leveling is suited for flooring installations that require a smooth, flat, and level floor in both transverse floor planes. This is a great post. Al, Thxs so much for your help . Most of the job can be done with overlapping layers of tar paper. The string does a better job of showing high and low areas across the whole floor. Hi my kitchen floor one side is higher than the other side. Thanks for posting this, I followed your instructions as to using the shingles to level the floor and it worked great. I thin laid out my level ontop of the overlapped shingles, and, while level, still had gaps under it from the ridges. I've layed over luan in the past, when it was level and had no uneven edges. I have read conflicting information online and want to make sure I get it right. staples with heat-activated glue (created by the drive friction). (just found this one googleing “paper bag floors”) http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/topic/416080/gonew/1 Fred, thank you for posting the information on how to do this. Over the last eight years we've documented hundreds of home improvement and DIY craft projects along with many tool and material reviews. Or are you just stopping at the plywood? It's quality is unsurpassed, and it is extremly durable and long-lasting. If you’ve never worked with self leveler, it is a miracle product, but it has its drawbacks, including short work times. per square foot. JC. I may just test that myself in an area once i get my flooring and come back here to tell my results. Then I had to laugh people wanted to know if the grit made noise.People need to know this is very unsafe thing to do,to hell with it making noise. He is suggesting they be sandwiched and used a minor leveling agents in dips, not using entire boxes over an entire subfloor. Step 3: Fill in low spots with shingles and construction felt. Scrape any construction debris, paint, caulk, or drywall compound that has built up on the surface. It may be coolor above the subfloor and between the finished flooring closer to my conditioned space. Works great. I’m thinking about doing about 800sq feet total 4 rooms and hall.Thanks so much, I’ll post if I take on this project. I wouldn’t do it, though if you were FANATICAL about leveling using shingles and the felt it might be possible, especially if you just had minor spots to fill. 2) Would I need to pull up the subfloor on the left side and insert blocking between joists oriented across the room’s width to accomodate the flooring ran lengthwise? It’s not pretty. If you are going that route, use 1/4 plywood. For hardwood floors, it's usually better to use self-leveling underlayments between the sleepers. Here are three important points (the ones that the home improvement store website won’t tell you!) The floor may roll a marble and looks to slope now that the carpet has been removed. After the shingles are stapled down, can we put 15lb roofing paper over the shingles AND double it as an underlayment for the laminate? 1" Luan Plywood Boards would be very thick for the type of work they are designed to complete, however if you are in a crunch and need to correct the thickness for any home project, there is always the option to gluing pieces of luan boarding together until the correct depth has been reached. The drainage problem under the house was corrected, mildew killed and all new insulation installed in the crawl space. Great article and photos using shingles, etc. Hello Fred. Fred, thank you for such a helpful post! I think this was a great idea, but I’d seriously question whether it is a safe application for the shingles. I would offer one suggestion as it seems you have a similar situation as I as far as 3/8″ drop within 5 feet. Note: I’m not a structural engineer, so this is a “best advice for free” situation. It is only to be used when leveling an entire room, and remember level doesn't matter for a laminate floor anyway; only flatness; a sloped but flat floor is fine. We found our floors to have significant dips towards the edges of the floor which we remedied with LevelQuick in three large spots. 3) 30lb felt is 1/16" thick. I don’t think the floor will be spongy – shingles don’t have any “give” to them if you lay them out as we did, so you should be good there. And whether you encountered any tongue crack/split or not? Amoung Manufactuers of Vinyl Flooring, Hardwood Flooring, Tile Flooring, and Laminate Flooring, the choice is clear, and Luan is the top pick. There are some great youtube videos on how to level a home. I was also wondering if weight should concern me. That's probably a very good question, but to be honest, Luan is usually found in formats or types of sizes ranging from 1/4 inches to 1/8 inches. The National Wood Flooring Association observes, “ there is a difference between a subfloor that's flat and one that's level. I think the shingles will be the best option here my one question is should I nail the shingles down before installing the flooring. Stiffen the floor to ensure that the new subfloor will be strong than the previous flooring. Many thanks, Lee. So this is the negative side of using Luan Wood. It's a bit confusing, but a flat floor can still be slightly out of level and still create a good foundation for a long-lasting floor installation. This Akona floor leveling compound is available at Mennards for about $35 per 50lb bag. But, a 3/4" plywood size should be labeled (now they have actually started to label it) as 23/32", 1/2" as 15/32" and 1/4" as 7/32". My question to you is..Once the floor is finished, do the shingles leave a smell of tar in the house? I’m in the middle of using this method to level my master bedroom and Bret’s comment got me thinking…I wonder if getting some used shingles from a roofing company would (mostly) eliminate the offgassing. Also make sure to screw the two layers together, but avoid hitting the joists. The trick here is to cut the plywood sheets into tiles, about 4x4. Lee, my neighbor had trouble with cat urine soaked through carpet and pad as well. Step 2: Set a strategy for filling in low spots to “even out” the floor. There’s also self leveling concrete as an option for leveling a subfloor. There is an area that slopes and I am wanting to level using your method as it is on the second floor. Why would they insist on using luan wood instead of black/red paper or foam such as FloorMuffler? We’ve had the floor installed for 1-1/2 years now and have had no problems with leveling. It’s also SO much less expensive than real tongue and grove planks–which in a … Have a 10 yr old house. Vi, no, there is no expansion concern with shingles. If anyone has done this before I would love some advice. It’s a big place and I’m stuck, I don’t ever want to do a bad job. I used 20 inches. Do you just put down the shingles in the low areas on top of the existing sub floor then add another layer of sub floor to the entire area? Really glad to hear your floor is doing exactly as you want it to. I started “leveling” the floor yesterday and ended up tearing everything up after realizing that I should have been focusing on getting the floor flat, not level. Remove those, and the floor is 3/8″ lower than it was. To reduce the appearance of surface floor when you install Vinyl, or any other flooring material a good choice to use is Luan. Nope, shingles won’t help a bit with sound deadening. Apply the Thin-Set Mortar. Would you recommend I use the shingle approach or lift up the subfloor and shim the joists? Luan has oils in it that migrate up through and discolor the floor. I installed self leveling compound over 3/4 in osb. I didn’t even think about it expanding together at the same rate with the fastened subfloor. are all real and VOCs are bad for us and the environment. I am also wondering about this. What size screws do i use? One option we didn’t choose but could have, would have been to turn the boards in front of the fireplace 90 degrees to sort of “frame out” the hearth. My subfloor is 5/8″ t&g ply instead of OSB. Use the manufactuers guidelines with respect to applying additional coats of polyurethane. Instead, try to use the shingles and/or construction felt to eliminate air gaps between the true subfloor and the additional 3/8″ plywood layer. We have several low spots that vary in depth. 3/8″ plywood will span about a 1 inch gap before it exhibits considerable localized weakness…. Right side of the room: joists are correct orientation but 24″ oc. the floor tiles became loose, cracked and ugly looking over about 2 decades of use. The floors meet at a big archway and on the hallway side there are two bedrooms and a bath. I’m definitely open to more thoughts on this as its a very interesting idea. I’m certainly going with this for my project. When you buy a batch of luan wood plywood sheets, and you see that one is much darker than the other there is a simple solution which just involves using a darker stain to even out the appearance, I mean its a small trick but it works, and the luan pieces look great, in addition to being economical to use as well. The National Wood Flooring Association guidelines call for bringing that subfloor to within 3/16 inch of dead flat over any 10-foot span, or, alternatively, within 1/8 inch over six feet, says Daniel Boone, NWFA director of technical training. When using wood glue, and use it properly screws in luan plywood will have a stronger grip than just using the wood screws on their own. Any staples, rising above this level, should be tapped on with a hammer until flush. I have a quick question, so my flooring is pretty uneven and I started using this method. Asphalt shingles can get heavy, however, especially when filling in a low spot. Preparation: Ensure the subfloor is clear, clean, and free of debris, with plenty of space to work. Sorry for the length of the question. Both roofing shingles and construction felt are dense, not prone to compression (a key element for leveling), and sufficiently thin that they can be used as incremental steps to get to a flat surface. The installer put down 1/4" luan pneumatically stapled down every few inches on the seam and the field of the luan itself. Luan Type 1 with an exterior glue, is the more resistant to delamination, and should be installed under very durable flooring, The type is normally indicated on the panal edge. 2. Here’s the issues: (1) The stuff you get in a can of “Great Stuff” isn’t hard enough to support flooring traffic. I assume you are going to staple the luan to the subfloor (as that’s a most common installation method) – my suspicion would be that the roofing felt would be held tight by the staples unless you are planning are major thickness. For roofing you may use plywood sizes available in 3/8 inch. 2.4 - 2.4. In our situation, however, we believed that this effort would be much more significant than a new layer of 3/8″ plywood, because the problem was pervasive throughout the floor in varying degrees, and as you’ll see from the pictures below, the shingles give a lot of options for how to address a slope over a wide range of floor. Hello. They are able to deal very well with Plywood sheets between 4x8 and all you really need to do is just make sure the specs of the table saw match up to the work you plan to use them for. We've been told that laminate flooring requires the floor to be level but that vinyl flooring is more forgiving. Only issue is the thinset application. Polyurethane can be brushed or rolled, onto the luan wood board, and once, finished and let to dry, you have the option for applying more coats as needed. with the grit side faced down in the picture it will be against the subfloor. I have a similar problem. We did the plywood because the problem was so pervasive. Bending plywood is very simple and convenient to use as it does not require any special knowledge, experience, or equipment. I have a very low depression in my kitchen area that is about 3/8″ to 7/16″ deep over an 8ft span. Can i perform the same that you did in this article to help flatten/level the floor? Of course before you proceed with any home improvement product, you should check with your flooring manufacturer before you proceed with installation to confirm. You’d have to get something much more dense, in which case your cost is going up. This is a tough one. If you have an underlayment which is replacing or being placed over an old floor covering like vinyl then the thickness of the existing flooring should be taken into consideration as well when you decide on which nail and the length of the staples used. The drop between the last 5 feet and the wall base was 3/4 of an inch. Secondly, an 1/8" will probably not matter and more importantly this 1/8 is probably not caused by the floor installers installation. The problem appears to originate with joists. We used self leveler to level the concrete slab in our basement with great success. Thxs so much It’s reassuring to have so many people with positive results. With a saw or oscillating tool, cut door casings and jambs to 1/16" above the level of where the finished floor will be. This way it doesn't look like you just cheapened out and painted the subfloor. what is covered is two layers of sheet vinyl flooring under that is original hardwood. Unfortunately, "many times on new construction or even remodeling, some guys will just walk in and sweep a floor out. I have a bathroom redo. We use a 7/16" crown stapler and as noted above, push a floor scraper across to find any high staples and beat them down. If you end up laying hardwoods and you have a problem in just a few spaces, you can omit the layer of plywood and put shingles directly below the wood floors too. Therefore, after flattening the floor I will be laying 1/2″ plywood over the shingles. If luan plywood is warping, try using nails/screws and concrete adhesive to maintain the positioning of the luan underyment and prevent buckling of your finished floor. You cannot completely “road tar” your indoor floor and expect a breathable layer of plywood to keep the gas away from you. Some of the floor boards are not so level but all are flat. Jon, this does happen and that’s why I recommend using the 3/8″ plywood over the shingles. Only the lowest spots require shingles. Now the entire flooring of ceramic tiles needs to be torn out and replaced. The 1/2 room I’ve done so far is freankin’ flat. Maybe you can snap phone photos as you go through it, and take a few nice quality “finished” ones! I am curious though if anyone else has experienced the felt expanding after laying it down and stapling it causing significant rippling. I tried using shims the first time around, but since they are angled it would level one way and throw the other off and I went crazy and ripped it all up. To fasten the plywood to the OSB, we considered using a combination of 2″ subfloor screws and construction adhesive (i.e., Liquid Nails for Subfloors). I have been trying to figure out what I was going to with my plywood subfloor that runs downhill after a joist. The rest is manageable and within 3/16, which we feel we can use layers of #30 on which is roughly 1/16″ thick, I believe. We were thinking of removing the subfloor and adjusting the joists like you mentioned but this would be a good alternative in some areas. Answer Save. VVL is about a shingle and two tar papers. After a whole lot of searching this was the best I found. It's quality is unsurpassed, and it is extremly durable and long-lasting. (one of the best I’ve found) http://www.joyfolieblog.com/2011/11/diy-wednesday-paper-bag-floor-finish.html. When it comes to Finishing When it comes to finishing luan plywood board, the best option is usually a dark stain and several coats of polyurethane clear finish will bring luan plywood to a high luster. My question is: Do I need another layer of plywood over shingles or can I just install the 1/2″ Engineered hardwood over the shingles? 5. I’ve been accused of over explaining. The wooden sub-floor has significant fluctuations. (bad photos, good idea) http://www.yankeemagazine.com/issues/2009-01/home/flooring I really appreciate you guys efforts in making these notes available. I thought of the same thing, BUT you have to come up with a way to hold the plywood level until the foam set up. Ethan’s in the process of documenting a shed building project, and we’re feature a great “How To” on a framed mirror tomorrow. Then, crawl around the floor with a tape measure and a sharpie. Hi Jenny, How old is the house? If you’re dealing with a swelled OSB situation, we think the best course of action is to use a belt sander to grind down the swelled edge. Simon, really happy to meet a fellow DIYer in the area! Have you ever heard of laying cork under hardwoods? Or do I need to pull up the subfloor on the right side of the room and insert new joists in between the original 24″ oc joists? Next to the kitchen is the living room which is the very low spot in my townhouse. The best option is to use ring shank nails which are made exclusively for this purpose. Is this a reasonable solution? Nothing has to be perfect. Sounds like you simply need to remove the existing linoleum. / square foot average loading, but every house is different, and your individual situation could be very different. That is, if the laser is measuring 20 and 3/16 inches, the floor is 3/16 inches too low at that point (based on a 20 inch reference height). 1.5″ X 3.5″ X 8′ on the house’s beam to level the floor and then use the plywood put on top of the beam/wood stick. Once in a while we use Type 1 Luan underlayment here and there because it measures about 3/16" for matching adjoining floor levels; we don't like to use Ardex or other leveling goop when we don't have to. The existing subfloor was run perpendicular to the joists. Underneath there is a crawlspace. Does Luan Plywood come in 1 inch (1 ") format? It will find the lowest areas of the floor and work to level out the subfloor. Then, using a floor leveling compound or asphalt shingles, shim the dips so the floor is level. Luan is a very cheap and inexpensive material made of luan wood veneers sourced mainly from subtropical countries around the pacific rim, Africa and South America. We investigated further by removing tongue and grove plywood in problem low and high areas. The only thing holding it flat was the screws, and the thing keeping it from going to low was the shingles beneath… The problem I see with expanding foam is that there’s no way to get it level… you might be able to get it to harden and support flooring traffic if you were working with a perfectly pre-leveled top-floor, but this just isn’t practical. Read More, Cheap Luan | For Your Home Improvement Projects. It really works. I have just rented office space on the second floor of a building. (don’t know if fiberglass would be better? Then I stumbled across this page. http://www.familycorner.com/homegarden/desrep/paper_bag_floor.shtml Nails may not be strong enough for installation and may pop out. Once cured, it provides a smooth, level surface on which to install a variety of floor … It doesn’t require primer. will poke around.). I’m never going back to the traditional, expensive crap if I don’t have to (carpet, wood floors, etc). Everything offgases. You can do this with an inexpensive line laser, but you'll get more accurate results with a rotary laser level, which you can rent from a rental center. Ply is used instead of plain wood because of plywood's resistance to cracking, shrinkage, splitting, and twisting/warping, and because of its generally high strength. Anyhow, what about using peel and stick floor tile or even sheet vinyl as an alternative to shingles? Can I just buy that Levellite material and pour it over the floor? I am the 2nd homeowner of a two story house that’s only about 3 years old. Not sure that would be code at all. BTW> Are you saying that you have an actual particle board subfloor, or is it OSB today and you are considering replacing with OSB? At 100 years ago, you probably have hardwood or softwood slats running perpendicular to the joists, rather than plywood. I have very uneven floors in my kitchen. 7. So glad to see your comment on how dangerous shingles are.Can not believe that people would even do this to their own family.They also want to shingle on top of the OSB double trouble,and still not talking about the fire danger. Laser Level Use . I know now that the compound will crack, Can I install plywood over the compound?. I think we’ll try a bit of trial and error with a few planks to see what gives and feels spongy with the felt, if anything. I have a similar condition w/ a 1/2″ gap under my level when i place it across my subfloor. As for the plywood direction, we staggered all the joints but continued to run it perpendicular to the joists. 3. This would have the advantage of not putting any additional load on the subfloor, and addressing the cause of the problem directly at the root. Add ring shank nails to any area of the subfloor that squeaks, has vertical movement, or is warped or cupped. The shingles seem like the answer to my dilemma. Laminate flooring on an uneven … You have some settling issues. Anthony, You are correct about the spacing of the sheets. The underlayment is excellent for smoothing and flattening interior surfaces before installing floor coverings. Luan Plywood is probably one of the cheapest materials out there, far less than standard mahogany, or Balsa wood. The rocks from the asphalt were a primary culprit and would throw off the level (I used a 8′ aluminum rod from Home Depot, $16…be careful not to bend it! But we dont plan on heating the floor so i’m guessing that you re probably right. However, I would suggest having a foundation/ structural inspection by a professional done before doing any work. This wasn’t the case in this house. You can also do it in 2x2' or 2x4'. I would use minimally-expanding foam, as you don’t want it pushing your plywood up. In America, 3/4", 1/2" and 1/4" are the most common plywood sizes available. Also, it doesn’t have to be perfectly flat – 3/16″ rise or fall over an 8-10 foot area is acceptable. 1) I would replace the OSB where it is soiled, unless it just isn’t that bad, in which case I might cover it with something then use shingles. If luan plywood is warping, try using nails/screws and concrete adhesive to maintain the positioning of the luan underyment and prevent buckling of your finished floor. If you're wondering what the positive side of Luan Plywood is, it's probably it's cost effectiveness, lets face it. If you were to purchase more expesive plywood like Birch or Fir, then you might get more structural stability, but for small jobs, that luan can do, for the price it is by far the best value in the plywood board market. If your current subfloor has a lot of issues to it, you may need to replace the subfloor or use a leveling agent to smooth it out. Lee, welcome! They may contribute to medical conditions we are not even aware of. One of the bedrooms on the 2nd floor has a dip that is almost 1/2 inch in the center of the room. Should I use tongue and groove plywood since I can only use screws and can’t glue, except the tongue and groove?Should I use roofing paper over the compound before adding the plywood to prevent moisture?Thanks for any help, Mark. If you go through 50-60 screws per sheet and have 30-40 sheets to do, it can be very time-consuming and back-breaking. However, I walked on a floor with linoleum over luan … He used a spot primer in an upside-down spray can to cover those spots on the subfloor. I know that traditional self-leveling concrete-based materials weight 1 pound per square feet at 1/8″; that’s what it says on the websites. Try to avoid relying on the 3/8″ plywood to level the floor. Shouldn’t be a problem if the room was built to code (40lbs / sq. string). When installing new resilient tile such as Premium EXCELON VCT and Standard EXCELON VCT, Armstrong Flooring allows the use of S-89, S-515, S-700 and S-750 Resilient Tile Adhesives over old adhesive residue as long as the adhesive residue has no ridges or puddles evident and what remains is a thin, smooth film. Steve, this was a very kind comment. As a follow-up to my previous post, after several hours into this project I’ve learned a few things: We have a second floor bedroom that is 16 feet across. Polyurethane subfloor caulk is an alternative when you expect some movement, but such cases are rare. The level is sitting on the crown peaks, with the same measure in a depression between them. 4. There are no cracks in the sheetrock which leads me to believe this was there when the house was built. Make one more visiual scan to ensure that there are no staples sticking above the seams of the luan underlayment, as this will disrupt the surface of vinyl or laminate top flooring when it is installed or during use. Some are bowed up, some down. Luan Wood is a relatively cheap plywood material, in that it is made of a composite of tropical woods, partical board and adhesive. Or is it simply not dense enough to support the weight of the floor? Steve, great question on expandable foam. The surface is supposed to be super-durable and any future defects (scratches, etc) as easy to fix as slapping a new piece of paper down and a few coats of Varathane. That’s a pretty big area and far more than I’m willing to tackle with a self-leveling product. Also, when you put down your plywood, did you (need to) leave any expansion gap between the sheets? This article blows my mind. But this is on 2 x10 x16 long….every 16 inch. Some people that prefer to use vinyl have used 7/8” staples. We have a lot of floor leveling to do next year. On the other hand, I get your idea and maybe that would work… A few thoughts: 1) If you could get the concrete cleaned, you could put down an epoxy coating or concrete etching stain.