In a single-story construction, the subfloor is the key obstacle that separates a decorative flooring, be it hardwood, tile, laminate, carpet or so on, from the supporting floor joists. Because not all subfloors are created equal, the chosen cosmetic finished flooring material establishes the perfect underlying subfloor material and its thickness.

Hardwood Flooring

For hardwood end flooring, which average about 3/8-inch to 3/4-inch in thickness, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch-thick plywood is actually the preferred subfloor, though there are a variety of grades created for certain applications. Using tongue-and-groove plywood may decrease squeaks, as the sheets will seat collectively better.

Tile Flooring

Tile decorative flooring requires grout, which requires solid support from below to prevent splitting. Joist inflection is 1 cause for splitting, therefore subfloor material choice is of extreme importance to decrease any additional flexion. Tiles typically range from 1/4-inch into 3/4-inch thick. One-half- to 3/4-inch-thick plywood provides a good subfloor, particularly with an added a cement board underlayment between the tile.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a thinner material, generally ranging from 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch, than hardwood flooring or tile and will demonstrate seams or seams if not properly supported from below. Plywood subflooring using a thickness of 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch is substantial for laminate flooring, though adding an underlayment of a thinner plywood provides additional support.