Leveling an old plank floor for cork installation

Discussion in 'Cork Flooring Q&A' started by mbodine, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. mbodine

    mbodine New Member

    Hello All,

    I'm wondering about the best way to level a wood subfloor. I have wood planking for the most part with plywood patches here and there (see the picture).

    I've been told that self-leveling compound and another sheet of plywood is the way to go for prepping the surface for cork planks. Here are my questions:

    Do I have to sand down the high points around the plywood patches?

    Should I use the self-leveling compound first and add a layer of 1/4" plywood over that, or do it the other way around?

    Or, can I just get away with an added layer of plywood?

    Thank you!!!!!


    Attached Files:

  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    The veneer surface known as floorcovering in your situation likes flat as can be, the joints incur forces when there is vertical movement.

    You need a 10 ft straightedge to see what's going on with flatness.

    I don't much like self leveler on wood, but there are ways to "attach" wire metal lath to mechanically bond. How well the rest of the lumber is attached to joists is important, voids, number of fasteners all contribute to a sound surface flooring installation.

    You could dump good money on top of bad should you shortcut the most important task, proper floor prep.

    I'd consider changing product as well, maybe get some local opinions from pros on feasible alternatives. Yeah, I don't like news sometimes either.
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    On floors exhibiting similar conditions as yours, I used a good quality floor patch, but I added a latex or acrylic additive to it to allow it to flex a little. Dry mixes tend to crumble and cause problems. Then I installed an underlayment over the whole floor, sanded the seams and patched them using the standard method. If the underlayment is nailed off properly and the patching of the substrate was smooth and flat, then there shouldn't be a problem with sandwiching the patch between subfloor and underlayment - but again, dry mixes (only water and patching compound) may crumble, additive fortified patch will be more flexible and will not turn to dust.

  4. mbodine

    mbodine New Member


    So, if I walk into the local Home Depot, is it obvious what kind of additive I should select? Also, when you say "nailed off properly," what exactly is the proper method?

  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I would sand the hell out of it first to minimize/reduce the high spots.

    Your topic says level, what you need is flat. You may think your flat but with a straightedge or rotary level, you may find valleys.

    Sure, additive is close by the Henry patch.
  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    It'll say "additive" on the bottle in the floor patch section. It's a milky-white liquid.

    Handling and Installation of APA Plywood Underlayment Download and save the guide there.
  7. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    If height isn't a concern you should consider layering 1/2"-3/4" SUBFLOOR over that mess after some sanding like Mike says and then a 1/4"-3/8" UNDERLAYMENT.

    In an older home like that a nicely formed, stained and finished threshold could transition from a higher level floor down to existing. It could look really nice and function well.

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