4 Tips for Installing Basement Sub-Floor

Here is your author, hard a work installing the Dricore subfloor panels.

I was installing the panels left to right except for the course you see me working on in this picture. The reason is that I wished to make sure that the panel crossing the threshold of the bathroom door (behind my butt in the picture) was positioned just right.

In order to free up as much floor space as possible we stuffed all the items we were 'storing' in the basement in the bathroom. I intended, and eventually did the next day, to return to complete the subfloor in the bathroom - once the rest of the basement floor was complete and hence had a space to move the contents of the bathroom.

Simple but not Effortless
Installing the Dricore subfloor while a relatively simple process was not without a lot of effort and much more time consuming than I expected. The 2'x2' Dricore panels are tongue and grove but they don't fit with simple placement a light tapping. Plus unless your room(s) are completely square and have only simple 90 degree corners, there will be lots of special measuring and cutting.

6 Tips for Installing the Dricore Subfloor System

1) Get and Use the right tools - You will need:
  • A rubber mallet - avoid using a hammer
  • Create from scrap Dricore panels or purchase a plastic tongue and grove pounding tool
  • Measuring tape and pencil
  • A 4-foot level
  • Crow bar
  • Jig saw
  • Table Saw - a circular saw will work in a pinch but a table saw is much more accurate and FASTER
  • Safety glasses
  • Broom
2) Groves against the wall: Lay the first course of panels starting with the groove side against the wall AND the first panel in the corener should have both grove sides against the wall.

3) 1/4-inch Spacing: Use 1/4-inch material as a spacer between the wall and the panels - on all walls.

4) Use the 'wall' spacers as a Wedge Assistants: Use 1/4-inch material that is at least 6-inches high on the wall where your last piece will end on a course. I found that I could cut the last Dricore panel to fit 1/4" shorter and then pound the panel in piece using the 6" high spacer as both a protector of the wall and as a guide for the panel. Remember to remove the spacer once the subfloor is in and before your install the finish floor as it will be very tight and difficult to get out

5) Measure twice...: and cut once! Cutting panel pieces for the last row and/or around corners can be very tricky. I found that placing the panel in the same orientation as its eventual placement, measuring and that transferring the measuring to the panel made the process much faster and less prone to mistakes. It is better to cut the piece too big than too small...

6) Check for imperfections: I found that some of the difficulty of inserting the tongues into the groves was because of broken or bent tongues. Always do a quick check and remedy imperfections before trying to pound them together.

Related Posts:
Installing a Subfloor in the Basement - Saturday, January 24, 2009