Replacing a plywood subfloor in a kitchen

Answered by Jeffrey ~ March 29, 2012 ~ No Comments

The subfloor in my 300 sq.ft. kitchen needs to be replaced so that I can install some concrete board and new floor tile. How should I start this type of project, and any idea what it might cost? Thanks.

Jayne ~ Columbus, OH

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Jayne. Replacing a kitchen sub-floor is one of those projects that can be very difficult to give even an approximate price on without seeing firsthand what's involved. There are just too many variables that can affect the cost. The first issue is the existing floor covering -- removing vinyl sheeting is normally much less labor intensive than taking out old hardwood or ceramic tile. The next issue that must be addressed is whether the kitchen base cabinets have to be taken out.

Your cabinets may not be sitting on the existing finished floor, but they are almost certainly being supported by the plywood sub-floor. I don't know if your new floor tile installation is a part of a large kitchen remodeling project and you already plan to remove the cabinets, but if not, finding a way to leave them in should greatly reduce the cost of the job. I assume the sub-floor is being replaced due to sagging or soft spots, but it may be possible to add a layer of plywood underlayment over the existing floor that would address those issues.

If the plywood sub-floor definitely has to come out for some reason, a good carpenter should be able to cut along the material at the base of the cabinets so that they don't need to be disturbed. Any time cabinets and countertops are removed you run the risk of expensive damage. You may also incur the expense of needing to have a plumbing or electrical contractor make a visit to do some disconnections.

My suggestion would be to have several reputable contractors around Columbus come out to your home and provide estimates for the project. That way they can see exactly what is involved and may be able to provide options that could keep costs down. Any price that I could give without seeing the job might be off by a large amount either way. However, I think installing underlayment and leaving the cabinets in place would be the most economical choice. If you decide to go that route, make sure your dishwasher can still be removed and fits properly with the additional floor height.

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