How to Level a Plywood Subfloor

Written by todd campitelli
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How to Level a Plywood Subfloor
Wooden floor boards support finished flooring. (background texture of wooden boards floor image by pablonilo from

Basic construction requires framing any underlying material in a flooring system. Before getting to the process of flooring installation, engineers see to it that the sub-flooring is smooth and even.

Although there are a number of materials used to provide a subfloor layer such as hardwood and cement, many engineers and contractors use plywood because of its ability to provide a reliable and secure base. Levelling the subfloor is a must to have even, smooth, and safe flooring.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Meter stick
  • Mixed latex screed
  • 4-foot x 8-foot sheets plywood (5/8-inch or 3/4-inch thick
  • 2 1/2-inch long deck screws

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  1. 1

    Measure the average flooring height using a meter stick and identify uneven areas to estimate the amount of plywood needed and its dimensions.

  2. 2

    Cut the plywood based on the size of the uneven surfaces of the floor. Fit the ply in the surface but do not screw it in yet.

  3. 3

    Pour and lay a mixed latex screed into the uneven surface with a straight edge. Level it off and allow it to firm up. This will serve as a lubricant before screwing the plywood into place.

  4. 4

    Lay the plywood onto the uneven surface while the latex screed is firming up. Allow the mixture to stick to the ply to avoid cracks while firming. This is to let the plywood settle and be secure in place.

  5. 5

    Screw 2 1/2-inch screws with long deck every 8 inches against the levelled surface. Allow one to two hours for the firming process.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply a thick bead of adhesive mixture before levelling the plywood to avoid squeaks on the finished flooring.
  • You have an option to sand the plywood material before mounting it on top of the adhesive for a more even appearance.
  • Do not use Portland cement as an adhesive mixture, since it absorbs moisture and you will have to wait days to lose the moisture.

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