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I ripped out the carpets and foam underlayment from the living room of my 1975 oceanside New England townhouse. I’m trying to figure out if this is homasote/ hardboard/fiber board or plywood. I don’t think it’s the latter, because I can basically scratch the surface with my hand, and pieces of paper-like substance come off easily.

Based on some posts I read, this could be fiber board used as underlayment, and there might be plywood underneath. Just wanted to get people’s feedback before I rip out a plank to see.

Floor image Floor image 2

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    I would get it checked for asbestos before removing it. Sep 26, 2022 at 18:24
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    Good photos, and very unlikely to be asbestos. Cellulose fibers, glued and compressed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 26, 2022 at 18:46

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Looks like Homasote® - fibrous with that waffle-weave surface, structure more or less like 1/2" thick paper. Natively gray/grey but aged and carpet underlayment stained, at a guess.

Suitable (I guess) for under carpet. Not suitable for much else on top, I think. We mostly used it for cheap bulletin boards or "better than nothing" insulating layer. Under carpet you'd get some sound isolation as well as the whopping R 0.5 thermal, or whatever it actually is. Functionally (sort of) equivalent to a (non-show) cork layer, but cheap.

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