Preparing the subfloor so it is structurally sound is a crucial task that needs to be completed before installing the hardwood floor. Insufficient examination of the subfloor can cause irritating problems later on. A thorough examination will reveal any areas that are loose or squeaky. Fasten these areas down with nails or screws. If there are any damaged areas, it is critical that you replace them immediately. It is also imperative that the subfloor is level because the hardwood needs to lay as flat as possible against the subfloor to prevent the “wavy” or “peaking” appearance. This will prevent the boards from rubbing against each other or sagging and flexing when you walk on them. Preparing the subfloor in this manner will ensure that everything is structurally sound for the years to come.
As soon as the subfloor is securely fastened, use a vacuum to clean it and dispose of all debris. You may even need to wash and dry the subfloor. Many people are replacing carpet that pets have walked on and it is not uncommon for animal waste to seep through the carpet and into the subfloor. Washing and drying the subfloor can help get rid of those unpleasant smells. Also keep the subfloor free of wax, grease, adhesives, oil, sealers, paint, nails, staples, dust, etc. With the subfloor and hardwood prepared for installation, the last step is to prepare the doorways and walls.
Note: Watch out for water damage as this can greatly weaken the subfloor. Be aware that if there was any problem in the past with flooding or areas that were leaking water onto the floor, there is a possibility that mold has grown into certain areas of the subfloor. Mold is a bacteria that can cause health problems and needs to be taken care of immediately.