Types of Subfloors

Types of Subfloors

If you’re in the market for new flooring and you turn to the experts to help you find the right flooring for your house, one of the first questions they are likely to ask you is, “What type of subflooring do you have?” The reason being the type of subfloor you have determines what kind of flooring you can install over it.

If you aren’t sure what subflooring is, it can be challenging to know where to start or even how to answer their question. Basically, the three parts to flooring are joists, subflooring, and the finished flooring. Here is a brief breakdown of what each part of the floor is and how it relates to your home:

Joists: This is the structure to your flooring that include heavy-duty beams that run under all your flooring. This is what the subfloor is laid on.

Subflooring: This is the covering that lays over top of the joists and is typically nailed together. This helps distribute the weight of the floor and everything that happens on top of your floor evenly.

Finished flooring: This is the part of the floor that you walk on to of, which includes surfaces such as hardwood, tile, carpet, or laminate.

Types of Subfloors

Now that you know the different parts to the floor we can get to the big question at hand, what are the different types of subfloors and which will fit your needs?


Plywood is the most common subfloor used in typical homes and really until the 1980s it was the only subfloor used in the typical home. This building material is made by layering thin pieces of wood together to create sheets. It typically has interlocking grooves that make fitting it together easy and it is a secure base to put under any type of finished flooring.

Sheets of plywood typically come in 4 feet by 8 feet sheets and can be either five eights or three quarter inch thick. If you aren’t sure which type of plywood to order for under your finished floor, a local expert can help you discover what option is best for you and your home.

Oriented Strand Board (OBS)

Also known by many as particle board, oriented strand board or OBS is made by layering three- or four-inch strips of wood in a crossing pattern and glued together. Unlike plywood that is quite porous, OBS typically is more water resistant.

Much like plywood, installing OBS as your subfloor requires the boards to be glued or nailed to the floor joists. It also comes in a variety of thicknesses, so be sure to consult your flooring expert when deciding if OBS is right for your subfloor.


Many people think that a concrete subfloor will help solve moisture problems when it comes to flooring. However, this is oftentimes not the case as concrete is still susceptible to moisture. It is also the heaviest of the subflooring options with slabs that are typically four to six inches thick and have a pound per square inch of 3,500 to 5,000.

It can take months for the slabs to fully dry out and problems can arise if they aren’t fully dry. That’s why it is so important to be sure they are fully dry before installing finished flooring over top of the slabs.

Ask the Experts 

The right foundation to your flooring makes all the difference when you are ready to make an upgrade in your home. If you aren’t sure what type of subflooring you have, our team of experts can help! Reach out to our expert team today to help you start on your journey to a new floor.

Home Direct Flooring

When it comes to the floors in your home, quality means everything. Home Direct Flooring provides exceptional flooring at exceptional prices throughout North Carolina and South Carolina with free shipping on qualifying orders. Call our knowledgeable customer service team today at 800-821-9919 to discuss your flooring needs or for help you with your next flooring order.