Out of sight, out of mind. If you can’t see something, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. This is especially true for the structure inside your walls and under your floor. But you don’t want to make the mistake of ignoring your subflooring. Otherwise, you could end up needing to make costly repairs. We’ve put together this guide to show you the tell-tale signs you need to replace your subfloor. Keep reading below to learn more!

How Long Does Subfloor Last?

It’s difficult to put an exact number on the lifespan of subflooring. There are many factors that can affect its longevity, such as the material, the amount of moisture it’s exposed to, etc. However, most subfloors can last as long as the home itself. That said, you may have to replace your subflooring after 20 to 30 years if it has absorbed too much water too often.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Subflooring

You might not be able to see your subfloor, but there are several ways you can tell if you need to replace it. Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for in your home.

1. The Floor Is Uneven

When the subfloor panels start to weaken, they can create sunken or uneven spots in your floor. The tilt or dip might not be big (you might even have a hard time seeing it), but you’ll be able to feel it when you walk on it. You may not have to replace your entire subfloor if you only have one or two problem areas, but you’ll at least have to repair the weakened panels.

2. It Squeaks

Does your floor squeak every time you walk across it? That means something isn’t quite right with your subflooring. In most cases, this sound is caused when the nails connecting the floor to the joists get loose. When you step on the floor, the nails get pushed back into the wood, which makes them squeak. This can happen when your subflooring has warped.

3. There’s a Leak in Your Ceiling

What does your ceiling have to do with your floor? Well, if your ceiling starts leaking, it may be a sign that your home has a slow leak. This means the water could have been spreading through the walls and floors long before you ever noticed it. If your ceiling is leaking, your subfloor might be soaked. You should call a professional to find out if your subfloor needs repairs or replacement.

4. Your Toilet Rocks

Your toilet is fastened to the subflooring. If your toilet starts rocking back and forth when you sit down, the subfloor isn’t strong enough to anchor the toilet in place. This often means the subflooring has started to decay.

5. The Floor Moves When You Walk

Your floor should feel solid under your feet. If it squished under your step or if they feel bouncy or spongy, your subflooring isn’t in good condition. You’ll probably have to replace all of it (or at least most of it).

6. The Floor Has a Strange Smell

Your floor might not smell great, but it shouldn’t smell bad either. If it has a strange or musty odor, the subfloor is most likely water damaged and molding. This can cause your floor to become squeaky, soft, or uneven, and breathing in the mold spores can also put your health at risk. Because of this, you should call a professional right away.

7. The Flooring Itself Is Damaged

If your subfloor is worn out, your flooring may show signs of damage as well. For example, what you think is a simple flooring repair may actually mean your subfloor needs to be replaced.

  • Tile

    Tile isn’t flexible, so when the subfloor starts to sag or warp, your tile will crack. If you can’t find another reason for the cracks in your tile, the subfloor is likely the culprit.

  • Hardwood

    If your subfloor is too moist, the hardwood floor sitting on top can also start to warp. You should have a professional inspect your floor if you notice any cupping in your hardwood.

  • Linoleum

    Moisture in your subfloor can also cause your linoleum to peel up or bubble. This isn’t the only cause of damaged linoleum, but it’s a sign you should check on your subflooring.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Subfloor (And How Long Does It Take)?

The exact cost of replacing your subfloor depends on what material you use, the size of your home, the company you work with, etc. On average, though, it will cost between $1,500 and $1,650. If you only have to replace a small section of your subfloor, a professional can finish the job in an hour or two. However, if you have to replace the entirety of your subfloor, the job will take a lot longer. It may take an entire day (or even several days) to finish.

Why You Should Hire a Professional to Take Care of the Job

You should never try to replace subflooring by yourself. Subflooring provides a solid base for everything in your home, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up making a costly mistake. You’ll save money and time if you hire a professional from the beginning. Not sure where to find the right help? You can trust us to provide quality subflooring services. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for a free quote!

About the Author: Jim Yeager, Owner

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