How to Remove Plywood Flooring

Updated February 21, 2017

Plywood covers floor joists to create a flat and stable unfinished surface. Plywood flooring, also referred to as subflooring is a standard building material. Plywood flooring acts as a base for other coverings. Home builders use plywood under a variety of finished flooring including hardwood, carpet and tiles. Damage to the plywood from accidents or water leaks requires removal of the plywood floor, as does a remodelling project.

Remove all furniture from the room. Remove floor coverings and base mouldings from the room.

Find nails or screws securing the plywood to the floor joists. Begin in the farthest corner of the room so you will have a room exit available.

Set a power screwdriver to rotate counterclockwise and place the tip of the screwdriver into the screw head slot. Unscrew the screws and set them away from the work area. If nails hold the plywood to the floor joists, wedging the claw end of a hammer under the nail head pull the nails out of the plywood.

Lift the plywood sheet from the edge while standing on a secured piece of plywood. Continue to loosen screws or pull nails and lift the plywood off the floor joists until no plywood remains over the floor joists.


If the nails are set deep into the plywood, chip away the plywood from the edges of the nails with a wood chisel. Position a nail puller beside the nail head, strike with a hammer to grip the nail head and pull up and out of the plywood. Place new plywood over the areas where you removed the old plywood and secure in place to avoid falling through the floor. If you are replacing a plywood floor, add replacement sheets as you remove the old plywood. Wear a dusk mask, safety glasses and gloves when removing plywood from floor joists. Ask a helper to assist you when removing plywood flooring.

Things You'll Need

  • Power screwdriver
  • Claw hammer
  • Wood chisel
  • Nail puller
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.