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What Type of Plywood Is Best for Subflooring?

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Jaki rodzaj sklejki jest najlepszy na podkład podłogowy

When it comes to home improvement projects, one of the most critical aspects often overlooked is subflooring. The right subfloor plywood can make all the difference in the durability and appearance of your finished floor. But with all the choices available, deciding on the best plywood for flooring can be a daunting task.

Types of Plywood

Before we venture into a detailed discussion about which type of plywood is the best fit for use as a subfloor, it is essential that we first take some time to examine and understand the variety of plywood types that are available on the market. By doing so, we can make an informed decision based on the unique characteristics of each type and how these might serve our specific requirements and constraints when it comes to subflooring.

Softwood Plywood

Softwood plywood is a prevalent material in the construction and industrial sectors due to its specific properties. It is manufactured from softwood species such as pine, fir, or spruce. These species give the plywood its characteristic lightweight nature while still maintaining an impressive level of sturdiness. This combination makes it a highly sought-after material for a wide range of applications, especially those that require the delicate balance of weight and strength. Despite these advantages, softwood plywood is not typically the first choice for flooring applications. The reason is that it tends to be less durable than other types of plywood, which usually have a higher resistance to wear and tear. Therefore, for flooring solutions that demand long-lasting durability, other types of plywood are generally preferred.

Hardwood Plywood

Hardwood plywood, as its name implies, is a type of plywood that is manufactured from hardwood species such as oak, birch, or maple. These are some of the most durable wood species, which contribute significantly to the toughness and longevity of the resulting product. This type of plywood is particularly well-known for its superior strength and durability, characteristics that make it an exceedingly popular choice among various alternatives for flooring applications. The use of hardwood plywood in flooring not only ensures a sturdy and long-lasting surface but also adds a touch of elegance and warmth to the space.

Tropical Plywood

Tropical plywood, a versatile construction material, is manufactured from a variety of mixed species of tropical wood. Renowned for its exceptional strength and durability, this unique type of plywood stands out from other wood materials. It’s the strength that it brings to the table, that makes it an ideal and popular choice for heavy-duty flooring applications. Whether for residential or commercial construction, tropical plywood ensures a sturdy and reliable flooring base that can withstand significant wear and tear over time.

Subflooring Basics

Before we delve into the complex discussion about the best type of plywood to use for subflooring, it’s important to first establish a solid understanding of what subflooring is, its role in construction, and why the choice of material matters. Subflooring forms the base layer in a flooring system and choosing the right material could greatly influence the longevity and stability of the overall structure. Now, with this understanding in place, we can better appreciate and evaluate the options when it comes to choosing the right plywood for your subflooring needs.

Purpose of Subflooring

Subflooring plays an essential role as the foundation for your finished flooring. It is the layer that lies beneath your visible floor surface, and it has several important functions. Firstly, it provides a flat and stable surface that is capable of supporting the weight of people, furniture, and heavy appliances. This ensures that your finished floor can withstand the rigors of daily use without sagging or buckling. Secondly, subflooring acts as a significant moisture barrier. It helps to protect your finished floor from the detrimental effects of dampness, which can lead to problems such as mold growth and structural instability. By acting as an effective shield against moisture, subflooring contributes to the longevity and durability of your finished flooring.

Installation Process

The process of installing a plywood subfloor is a crucial step in flooring that involves carefully laying out sheets of plywood over the pre-existing floor joists, and then securely fastening them with robust nails or screws. The plywood essentially acts as a sturdy intermediary layer between the joists and your final flooring material. One of the most critical aspects to consider when installing a plywood subfloor is the thickness of the plywood itself. It’s not something to be overlooked or underestimated. The thickness of your plywood subfloor directly influences the level of support and stability your floor will have. A thicker subfloor will provide a more substantial and more stable base, which is necessary in ensuring the longevity and durability of your floor. Therefore, it’s vital to choose the thickness of your plywood subfloor wisely.

Choosing the Best Plywood for Subflooring

So, you may be wondering, what size of plywood should you choose for your subfloor? It’s a valid question and a critical decision in any construction or renovation project. The thickness of your subfloor plywood can greatly influence the stability and durability of your flooring. But how do you determine the optimal size? What factors should you take into account when selecting the most suitable plywood for your subfloor? These considerations are paramount and can encompass a variety of aspects, including the type of your top flooring, the joist spacing in your structure, and the specific requirements of your project. Let’s dive deeper into these considerations to ensure you make the best choice for your subfloor.

Factors to Consider

When embarking on the task of choosing plywood for your subfloor, it’s important to take into account a variety of factors that can impact the durability and effectiveness of your flooring. Considerations such as the type and thickness of the plywood are critical, as these can influence the strength and stability of your subfloor. Additionally, the size of the room is a major factor to consider, as this will determine the quantity of plywood you will need. The type of finished flooring you plan to install is another significant element to take into account, because different kinds of finished flooring may require different types of subflooring. Lastly, it’s important to consider the moisture level in your home when choosing your subfloor, as the conditions of your environment can affect the longevity and performance of the plywood. Therefore, when selecting plywood for your subfloor, a comprehensive evaluation of these factors is necessary to ensure the longevity and quality of your flooring.

Recommended Plywood for Subflooring

The most ideal type of plywood to use for subflooring is generally a ¾ inch thick, tongue-and-groove hardwood plywood. This specific type of plywood stands out because it provides a robust, stable base that can support almost any type of finished flooring. The ¾ inch thickness ensures that the subflooring has enough strength to withstand heavy foot traffic, while the tongue-and-groove design allows for easy installation and a snug fit between panels. Moreover, hardwood plywood is preferred due to its durability and longevity, making it a cost-effective choice in the long run. So, when choosing subflooring material, this type of plywood is certainly worth considering.

Benefits of Using High-Quality Plywood

When you choose to use high-quality plywood for your subfloor, you are setting yourself up to enjoy a myriad of benefits. One of the primary advantages is that it can significantly enhance the overall durability of your finished floor. This is particularly important in high-traffic areas of your home where the floor is exposed to consistent wear and tear. Another benefit is that high-quality plywood can considerably improve the appearance of your finished floor. It provides a smoother, more even surface for your finish flooring material to lie on, which can result in a more aesthetically pleasing end result. Additionally, using high-quality plywood for your subfloor can also aid in reducing noise transmission throughout your home. This is particularly beneficial in multi-storey homes where sound can easily travel from one floor to another. Lastly, investing in high-quality plywood for your subfloor can potentially increase the overall value of your property. A well-built, durable subfloor can be a selling point for potential buyers, highlighting the quality workmanship that has gone into the home’s construction.


Choosing the right plywood for your subfloor is crucial to the success of your flooring project. By considering factors like the type and thickness of the plywood, you can ensure that your new floor is durable, attractive, and long-lasting.

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Vasiliy Sotnikov

Welcome to the Alvi-Bel blog, dedicated to the fascinating world of plywood! My name is Vasiliy Sotnikov, and I am an expert in wood processing with rich experience in various industrial sectors. My professional journey includes various responsible positions, starting from a technical specialist to managerial roles.

For many years, I have actively participated in projects related to plywood production and sales. My expertise covers laser cutting of plywood, optimization of production processes, and finding the best solutions for clients.

On this blog, I am delighted to share my knowledge and experience in choosing and using plywood. Here, you will learn about the latest trends in wood processing, modern plywood production technologies, and receive practical advice on how to utilize it in different projects.

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