Getting a New Hardwood Floor Level

27 responses

  1. John T.
    September 29, 2012

    Floor trusses I used to cover a 24 foot span for the down and upstairs family rooms sagged about 1 and 3 fourth inces in the middle leaving a bow shape in the upstairs 20 x 24 room floor of tongue and groove. Levelers are far too costly that I have priced at building supply stores. Will roofing tiles help to solve this type problem?

    • Tim Carter
      January 6, 2013

      John, your question requires lots of typing, plus I have some questions for you so I can give you the correct answer(s). I only do pithy answers here in the comment section. If you want to protect the investment you have in your house and not waste time or money *hoping* you make the right decision, you should talk to me on the phone for just 15 minutes. It'll be the best investment you've ever made in your home!

  2. Elva Huffman
    January 10, 2013

    is it too noisy to install woodflooring on an upstairs living room?

    • Tim Carter
      January 11, 2013

      If people walk across it with hard heels you'll hear the clopping!

  3. Nathan Ziehnert
    May 2, 2013

    Can you use this method for a floating floor like laminate? Would you just staple the 30# down to the plywood subfloor in that case? Would you need to lay something on top of the shingles/30# (like 1/4" plywood) to keep them from "kissing" in warm weather?

  4. Debra
    August 10, 2013

    Wouldn't putting asphalt shingles in between the subfloor and the hardwood eventually smell??

    • Tim Carter
      January 15, 2014

      No. I've never been able to detect any hydrocarbon odor. Nor any of my paying customers.

  5. Adam
    August 18, 2013

    Hi Tim - thank you for the great suggestion. I too am installing 3/4 inch oak and have some dips and especially some slopes in the osb subflooring. I am in the process of starting to use the asphalt shingles, in some areas i actually had to go 3-4 high. My question is regarding the sound of the shingles. After tacking them in place, I get a very load crunchy sound from the shingles. I am very worried that i will hear this after installing the floor. How did you avoid this when using the shingles? Also, do you recommend they be installed on top of or under the roofing paper? Thank you.

  6. Michael
    February 21, 2015

    When using shingles, are you at all concerned the flooring nails won't hold as well, especially in some of the deeper voids?

  7. alex
    March 31, 2015

    $7,000 to lay down plywood and level as a fix for my floor that's warped with peaks and valleys? Too much? 1400 sq ft.

    House has joists going the wrong way I'm told; and support is only one row of posts across middle of basement, which are pushing the center up and the rest of the floor slopes away from there.

    • Tim Carter
      April 1, 2015

      It's impossible for me to give you an answer without seeing the job. There are just so many variables. Get a MINIMUM of three quotes.

  8. Tyson
    April 20, 2015

    I'm installing 3/4" oak hardwood in kitchen and living room to match dining room but the wood in dining room was laid directly on 3/4" plywood subfloor and Kitchrn and living room Vynel/carpet was laid on top of 1/2" particle board that was glued on top of the 3/4" plywood. Wood flooring contractor told me to remove the particle board so the new floor was installed direct on top of 3/4" plywood because that's the best Israel and there will be no transitions. I spent three days removing the particle board but still have glue in many places that I need to sand down and more concerning I have many places where the plywood splintered (sometimes for four feet and up to 1/4") when I was pulling up the particle board. Now I'm wondering what I should do? Any help or similar experience would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tim Carter
      April 21, 2015

      I think you need to follow the instructions of the installer. I wouldn't want transitions or trippers as I used to call them.

  9. Dave Shepherd
    May 8, 2015

    I'm putting stapled 5" wide 1/2 engineered acacia over 3/4" OSB on top of 2x6 T&G cardecking. The floor is flat enough but I've discovered a consistent and abrupt slope along the back wall of the house because of settling. It would be a low traffic area, generally under furniture. If I leave this little wowie, what are the long term risks? Is it just about aesthetics, or am I setting myself up for trouble if I don't adjust for it?

    The easiest correction would be to put some shingling on top of the subfloor, under the underlayment and hardwood, but I'm freaked out about whether the shingling will cause more harm that good because it's still an abrupt edge under the hardwood planks, whereas the slope is a continuous plane.

    The harder correction would be to pull up that section of subfloor and use the shingling there to ease the slope at that edge, but as I'm at the tail end of the project, and it's again, not a high traffic area, I wonder if I'm fretting over nothing.


  10. Larry
    July 19, 2015

    Hi Tim,

    Awesome idea - glad I searched around before trying to shim the floor.

    Same question as another person - do you install the tar paper under or over the shingles? Seems like under makes the most sense.


  11. Matt
    December 3, 2015


    I am getting ready to install a 3/8" engineered bamboo floor in my kitchen and living room. This will be a 3/8" click lock floating floor with a foam underlayment on the subfloor. Whent he house was built in 1977, they used 1/2 plywood with a layer of 1/2" particle board on top of it. We have successfully removed everything down to the 1/2" plywood subfloor. I am working on screwing down all of the seams to eliminate squeaks at the moment. My plan is to put 1/2" osb on top and lay my new floor on this. Although my floor does not have any huge dips or peaks, there are still some gaps larger than 1/8" (mostly sags between the floor joists). Should I try to use leveling compound on the floor before I add the osb on top or should I wait and try to level it on the top of the osb?

    Thanks for your advice!

    • Jeff
      August 8, 2016

      What did you end up doing?

      I'm in a similar situation. House built 1979 with 5/8" plywood subfloor. I corrected for flatness up to 1/16" using tar paper, but the subfloor flexes too much and the bamboo floor's locking mechanism makes a noise like rice crispies when you walk on it.

      The plan is to add another layer of 1/2" plywood, but I'm worried if I don't flatten the subfloor before laying it that the new plywood will have the same unevenness.

  12. Mary Ann
    February 16, 2016

    Hi Tim,

    We installed laminate on tile over concrete floor. The floor was level, but the step that goes downstairs dips a bit on the end (about three inches from the tip of the step almost straight across with a depth of about 1/4"). What is best to bring this small portion level with the rest of the floor? Will the shingles work or is that too unstable for the end of a step?

    Mary Ann

  13. Marie Lawrence
    February 25, 2016

    We have new construction and one part of the hardwood flooring over the main support beam has separated at the seams and is not level with the rest of the floor. The flooring has been discontinued. Is there any way to repair this without taking up the entire floor and leveling the sub floor?

  14. Lianna Archibald
    March 5, 2016

    Dear Tim, March 5/2016

    Great information. I live in a 130 year old Victorian House. Planning to put new finished flooring in downstairs and hall. You provided the correct way to accomplish this. We cannot do it ourselves. But now I have an idea of what to ask a contractor (licensed) when they visit. Home Depot in Canada apparently does not do what you suggested, just not cost effective I guess. Our semi Victorian House is only 12 feet wide, and the flooring area is about 24 feet long.

  15. J Waller
    March 8, 2016

    Hi, I have the same problems that everyone has posted here except that my repair is preceding a porcelain tile job and I'm wondering if that should cause concern relative to using asphalt shingles since the tiles unlike oak flooring, don't provide much rigidity themselves. I was considering up to about 19" square tiles.

    The shingles would be filling up to about 5/8" in places. Thanks.


  16. Paul Lohr
    April 5, 2016

    Hi Tim,
    I am wondering if the asphalt shingles will crush after some number of years. Have you seen them hold up longer than five years? Thank you for any help.

  17. Beth
    October 31, 2016

    I am taking out 12" tiles in the kitchen and putting down hardwood in the whole house. How clean and smooth does the plywood underneath need to be before the underlayment is put down? Will it correct for slight imperfections? The tile had been put down on to of plywood which is at the same level as existing hardwood in the remainder of the house that cannot be resurfaced. I am hesitant to remove and replace the plywood.

  18. gary featherston
    January 22, 2017

    simple fix like driving coarse-threaded screws through the ...I tried to click on the article but does not work. I wanted to get the size of the screw you recommend

  19. Mary
    January 22, 2017

    I am about to rip up Berber carpet and pad in my living room and dining room... underneath is tongue and groove flooring that is 99 years old. The old tongue and groove flooring has the dips here and there, yet when walking on the carpet, you don't feel any of them. I want to go over the old flooring with new click wood flooring. Should I apply the asphalt shingles to the old flooring?

  20. [email protected]
    January 22, 2017

    These hardwood floors are beautiful......

  21. Ted Vetzal
    March 13, 2017

    What about planing the rough cut joists that are under my bathroom floor? The house was built in'54 and looking at the bathroom door, it looks like the right side is 3/8-1/2" lower than the left.

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