Home>Discussions>NEW DIY IDEAS>Remodels & Upgrades>What would you do about these subfloors?
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What would you do about these subfloors?

Our house is being remodeled, and our spec calls for 3/4" t&g under new flooring. The house was built in '79 with 1/2" plywood, which we guess is t&g, but I don't know how to tell. Later, someone installed another 1/2" on top. On top of the second layer was tile in a hallway and a bath, and carpet in bedrooms and living room. Now we are putting wood in the front hall, new master suite, an upstairs bedroom, and the upstairs hall. The top layer of plywood was removed in the upstairs and downstairs hall and the whole master suite. We have a new staircase, which was installed and set on the 1/2".

So now, the bedroom upstairs and the living room next on the first floor hall are 1/2" higher than the hallways they are next to. We'd rather not have transition moldings if we don't have to. More importantly, we aren't comfortable with the 1/2" under the new wood floors. The flooring contractor & others have said is 1/2" isn't suitable, and while we tend to agree, we don't know if we are making too big a deal of it. We think our contractor didn't read the spec, or didn't realize we had 1/2" subfloor. Bottom line, he says 1/2" is fine.

We are practically rebuilding our house, including new cedar roof, all new windows, three new bathrooms, new siding, a front porch, six dormer windows. Given how much money we are investing, we aren't happy about not upgrading to a better subfloor while we have the chance. I think we'd need to uninstall the stairs so we can either add 1/4" t&g on top of what is there, or remove the 1/2" and replace with new 3/4". We can only have a difference in riser height of 3/8" along the entire run of stair, so that means we can't add 1/4" to the upstairs and downstairs.

Is it unreasonable for us to hold to the contract, and ask for the stairs to be pulled out and reset, so the subfloor can be corrected? Could our floor be bouncy if we leave things as they are, and is this something that could get worse over time? Just trying to put this in perspective. Is it understandable that the contractor didn't pick this up, or should he have realized what the spec called for, and that a house the age of ours would not have 3/4" t&g?

Re: What would you do about these subfloors?

2 1/2 weeks w/ 61 views and no response...a think this is an indication that this is a dilemma not easily solved. I'll add what I can, but perhaps you've already moved forward.

As a hands-on home renovator I'm not thrilled when I have to tear out my own work and as a Gen. Contractor, I don't enjoy telling someone when they have to re-do some of their scope either. However, sometimes that call has to be made so things are done correctly. I typically include a line in written/signed agreements that reads 'per plans and specs', but still, concessions are made when needed (and you may be in a gray area since your wood floors are new but the 1/2 plywood was installed in '79). Your post reads as if you want to do what's correct, but you're trying to be fair as well. This is admirable, but you're on a mission to renovate your house and you may have to lay down the law if people you've hired have messed up.

With that said, I've renovated multiple 50+ yr.old homes that had 3/4" wood flooring that was installed to joists w/out a sub-floor. I've torn them out and installed the 3/4" T&G on some, and left it as-is on others. So, if you have 1/2 plywood under your wood floors my experience is that you'll be fine w/out that extra 1/4" of plywood mat'l underneath. Your floor won't be 'bouncy' if your wood flooring has been installed perpendicular to the floor joists (16" o.c.) and I have no experience to make me think this 1/4" difference will come back to haunt you down the road.

I'm not totally understanding the situation with the stairs, but I do get why you don't want transition pieces. If it was me, and this 1/4" difference was the deciding factor in whether or not the stairs were torn out, I believe I'd leave them.

I hope this helps.

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