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finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

I'm bringing a lake cabin back to life and opting for less-expensive repairs so we can afford to enjoy it, rather than make it beautiful and have to rent it out or sell it.

I pulled the nasty old carpet out of the main room, exposing water-stained but mostly sound particleboard. (Roof leaked.)

I'm considering 3 options, starting with the one that leaves the most $ in the bank towards a pitched roof & loft:

1. patching and painting the particleboard

2. laying 1/2" plywood over the particleboard, and finishing the plywood with polyurethane or paint

3. laying fir or hardwood flooring. Would this require a plywood underlayment for nailing?

All advice and opinions are appreciated. Thank you.

Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

A few years back some good friends were in pretty much the same situation.
They had a bought a cabin in need of some repairs and much like your case the roof was definitely on the top of the list ( excuse the pun :D).

Since the roof is important and the largest expense and this was just a cabin .... not a summer home seen in some glamor magazine .... the same thing as your #2 was done for the floor.

In this case we used T&G plywood and staggered the joints. We took a little more time slightly counter sinking the screw heads and covering over with wood filler.......then applied 3 coats of poly.

The end result looks pretty darn good .... after all it's a cabin.

Hope this helps. :)

Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

Canuk - thank you. After reading some of your posts I was hoping you'd reply.

Did you lay the plywood over particleboard? If not, what do you think of that vs. removing the particleboard?

I appreciate your perspective.

Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

In the above mentioned there was original plywood though sound was not in good shape.

As for removing the particle board ...... the choice is yours ....... if the particle board or OSB is sound on both sides .... then putting the 1/2 inch plywood over top shouldn't be an issue. There likely won't be a problem of height difference since the 1/2 inch plywood is about the thickness of the carpet that was orginally there.

If you decide to leave it in place .... lay generous beads of construction adhesive down before laying the plywood. Then use 2 1/2 - 3 inch screws to go through the plywood and particle board into the joists. In the field ( space between the joists ) use 1 1/2 - 2 inch screws.

Generally, particle board or OSB in themselves don't hold fasteners well .... that's why the long screws into the joists .... the shorter screws in the field are to clamp the plywood to the particle board while the construction adhesive sets up.

Hopefully this helps.:)

Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

You said "mostly sound particleboard". Once wet particleboard and OSB loose there strength very rapidly. If you have weak spots it would be better to replace it. If you do replace it you could then install 3/4" plywood as Canuk described and be done.

I don't know why you were hoping on a reply from Canuk, he thinks a dirt floor with bear grease rubbed on it is an excellent finished floor.:D

Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

Jack! You're the other person I was hoping would reply. Thanks!

Thanks for catching the "mostly sound". As the particleboard has dried in the past 10 days it's obviously less sound. It is sort of like highly-compressed well-glued paper bags, eh? It's coming out.

I'm with Canuk, except I want friends to visit. If they need to, they can believe that the plywood is just a stage on the way to a "real" floor.

I'll be back with more questions when I see what's under the particleboard.

Thank you both for sharing your knowledge.


Re: finished plywood or particleboard floor - opinions, please

Hello Worthy Advisors:

The particleboard is up, as well as the stinky foil-backed paper that was below it. 12 dead mice have been removed from their resting place in the intake of the old heatilator fireplace. The inside air is tolerable, finally.

The subfloor is (all!) sound 3/4" plywood, widths from 18" (foundation forms) to 4'. I sanded the rough concrete down and think it's beautiful - in a historical sort of way. As much as the teacher in me wants to pour polyurethane over it and leave it ... (few people know what goes into a house) ... it's pretty rough, some wide cracks ... I think I'm going to cover it.

A lumberyard guy suggested 1/4" plywood on top. That sounds too flimsy to me - too many nails to keep it from floating? What about 3/8"? 1/2" would be really solid, but the height would make it a little more difficult to eventually add floorboards (which probably won't happen, so almost a moot point). And what do you think about putting felt - or whatever is put under hardwood floors - between the two layers of plywood? Seems like it would make it quieter. ["lumberyard" = local, employee-owned, long-established building supply. NOT HD or Lowes.]

All advice and opinions welcome. Thank you!

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