How to Use Shingles to Level a Subfloor

Written by emily beach
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How to Use Shingles to Level a Subfloor
Shingles offer a long-lasting solution for subfloor levelling. (construction ,measuring image by Greg Pickens from

Whether you're working with hardwood, carpet or tile, a level subfloor is a critical part of a successful flooring installation. A level subfloor lowers your risk of future damage to the floor covering and reduces the chance that it will crack over time. It can also give your floor a more professional appearance, even if you're installing the flooring yourself. While floor-levelling compounds tend to erode over time, leaving your floor vulnerable, asphalt shingles can be used to level the floor surface indefinitely.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Drill
  • 1 1/4-inch wood screws
  • Vacuum
  • 6-foot level or longer
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Floor tacks
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife

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  1. 1

    Tighten your existing subfloor so you can determine where it is truly out of level. Add 1 1/4-inch wood screws to any spots where the floor boards squeak, shift or bend when walked on.

  2. 2

    Vacuum the floor to ensure it is clean. Remove all dirt and debris so you have a clear view of the floor, as build-up dirt or dust can mask uneven areas on the subfloor.

  3. 3

    Place a 6-foot level on the floor so that it passes over the centre of the room. In many rooms, the centre of the floor is a low spot. Keep moving the level around the floor until you find an area where the floor is uneven. Once you find an area that is out of level, leave your 6-foot level over the spot for future reference.

  4. 4

    Slip asphalt shingles onto the subfloor to fill in low areas. Layer the shingles as needed until your level sits flat and even over the floor surface. Hammer small tacks into the shingles to hold them in place as you work, if desired. According to Tim Carter of "Ask the Builder," there is no need to fasten these shingles to the subfloor unless you feel this will make the job easier for you.

  5. 5

    Cut shingles to fit as needed using a sharp utility knife. Score the shingle with the knife several times until you are able to snap it along the score line.

  6. 6

    Repeat this process over the entire floor surface, filling in all low areas as you go. Move your level in different directions to confirm the floor is even.

  7. 7

    Install underlayment or padding, according to the installation instructions for your floor, then provide with flooring installation.

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