The Importance of Subfloor Preparation

by | May 15, 2020 | Surface preparation, Concrete Repair, Moisture Control, Self Levelling Underlayments

I love to buy myself a treat every once and a while; once I’m done writing this post, I’m going to go get myself an ice cream. Whenever I go to a new ice cream place (or any food vendor, for that matter), I have a rule: buy the most basic product they have, and see how good it tastes. Why? My thinking is simple: if they can’t do the base right, then how good can the add-ons possibly taste? The same is true for flooring; unless your subfloor is properly prepared, the underlayment, topping or flooring you put onto the subfloor is not going to act or look right.

The most important, basic step to preparing the subfloor before putting anything on it is to make sure it’s clean. Dust, grease, paint, wax, and a number of other contaminants can cause a lot of problems down the line as they are bond breakers; they can lower adhesion and create discoloration, resulting in uneven, aesthetically displeasing flooring. At its worst, this can be dangerous and costly, so a thorough mechanical cleaning is an absolute must.

A good cleaning is one part of the project; the next part is ensuring the subfloor is ‘smooth’. As you can imagine, a subfloor that isn’t smooth will lead to a floor that isn’t smooth, as those imperfections can be seen nor translated through the flooring. For the most part, the subfloor will already be installed, and should be smooth; if it’s not, your installer will be able to propose a number of solutions to smooth things off.

Things get much more complicated when you’re installing a new subfloor, especially if that subfloor is concrete. Concrete subfloor can’t have underlayment or topping applied to it immediately, nor can it be polished right away; it needs to cure, in the right conditions, for quite a long time. Here’s an example of how fickle concrete can be: it cures best under optimal conditions, and to reach those conditions, some flooring companies will use heaters and dehumidifiers/humidifiers; this keeps the temperature right, and the humidity at a constant. The problem is, some of these heaters use fossil fuels, and when not properly vented outside of the area, those fossil fuels can cause the concrete to cure improperly. Constant care and patience are a must with new concrete subfloors

One of the master producers of products for subfloor preparation, underlayments, toppings and more is Ardex. They’ve been in the business for almost 70 years, and they’re considered one of the industry’s best; they require a lot of diligence from their installers because they want to keep their reputation for quality. Ardex installers in Winnipeg can trust will have their LevelMaster Elite Installer certification; at TCF West, we pride ourselves on our work as much as Ardex does, so they’ve recognized us with this prestigious certification.


Technical Concrete Finishes

CEOMichael Rosenblat

With over 20 years in the field of technical concrete finishes, I offer a deep experience and precision in design and application of concrete floors. As founder of TCF West, I lead my team in crafting durable, aesthetically striking industrial floors. In this blog, I share industry insights to help elevate your space through quality flooring. Let’s connect to transform your environment with custom floors that meet your needs.