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I'm considering the option of using OSB(10mm+ thick) in stead of laminated flooring, the floor is currently just concrete, on top of which there's linoleum on top of which there's a carpet.

What I'm envisioning:

  • concrete
  • insulation(5mm+ thick) -- as used under laminated flooring
  • OSB
  • carpet on top

Reasons:

  • OSB cheaper than same thickness laminated flooring
  • super-fast to install(one sheet of OSB is 2500mm X 1250mm)
  • easy, cheap & fast to replace about 3 sqm of a damaged sheet
  • unless there's subfloor heating, the floor would be cold anyways, so at minimum a carpet is a must

My question is:

what are the pros and cons to my thoughts(most likely others considered this option...)?

Note: I'm not looking for the so called "best option/solution", I'm interested more in the cons of using OSB as opposed to laminated flooring.

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    Why not do the typical. Concrete, think carpet pad and then carpet. You will have issues keeping the floating osb boards from warping and moving around over time unless you plan to anchor them into the concrete floor. – diceless Jan 27 '15 at 18:17
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    Well I am OK with a floating subfloor. I would just use something like plywood which won't hold water as much. OSB might need to be replaced AND cause mold issues. – DMoore Jan 27 '15 at 20:46
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    ComputerSayNo, I'm approaching this from the standard way of doing things in the US. Carpet for homes is usually installed over a think dense foam pad, anywhere from 1 to 1.5 cm think. The combination of the carpet and the pad completely separates the cold from the concrete and the room. If standard practice there doesn't use a pad, I can see why you would want something different. – diceless Jan 27 '15 at 21:28
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    Remember that carpet has to be tacked on the edges. Floating is fine but it has to be snug and stable. – DMoore Jan 27 '15 at 21:37
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    Wood likes to warp when not held down. Laminate and wood floors use tong and grove (or a variation) to hold the edges together. You can use tong and grove sheets and then glue the sheets together but I have no clue if this would work over the long term (1 year +) – diceless Jan 27 '15 at 21:57
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OSB is fine for this. It comes in various grades. I wouldn't use the stuff used for siding. It doesn't hold up to moisture. But the subfloor grade (typically 23/32" thick, sanded flat on one side, tongue and groove on long edges) is good.

Test your subfloor for moisture. Tape a square of thick sheet plastic to the floor for 24 hours and see if there is any condensation on it. If you are in a winter climate do this test during the mud season after all the snow is gone. This is generally when foundations are at their soggiest.

If there is, I would both seal the surface AND put down a layer of 6 mil polyethylene under the OSB. (I'd do that for any floor if there is moisture.

Other options.

I live in a climate where I know my basement is going to flood. There's plumbing down there. I have had two sump pump failures where I ended up with a quarter inch of water over half my floor, and one leaking drain that put a 3 foot puddle. No big deal on a concrete floor.

Our floor is painted. We wear socks if we are down there in winter.

Look at thick area rugs or an area rug on a slightly smaller pad. easy to do, and you can just take the rug to the cleaners if the sewer backs up.

  • In passing: I used the floor grade OSB as a base for thinset ceramic tile. I gave it two coats of cheap primer first, worrying that the OSB would suck water out of the thinset. I've had zero problem 12 years later. – Sherwood Botsford Mar 17 '18 at 5:53

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