I have solid 3/4" oak hardwood strip that I am looking to nail into the 3/4" plywood that I bought for subflooring. I made this purchase over the pre-made systems because this is the greenest plywood I could find and I am very sensitive to some of the adhesives (VOCs, Urea-Formaldehyde etc...) used in lower grade products. The problem is these are plain old 4x8 sheets that do not have and sort of mechanism to fit together. I cannot nail or glue to the concrete since it is a condo. I was hoping a good underlayment will sort of hold things in place (Wishful thinking I know). I need a scheme to get the plywood down so I can finish my floor.

The concrete is lightweight concrete. I also do not want to pursue a staggered and stacked plywood scheme since I am already adding 1.5" of height to the floor.

Can I just lay the plywood down? Also how big an expansion gap do I need for the plywood subfloor? Is it possible to cut my own groves into the side? Could I maybe staple them together? In the videos I have seen to just tap the boards together.

2 Answers 2


you can just rabbet each sheet with a halflap type edge (i would make it about 2 inches wide), then glue and screw through both to attach the system together. a little more work than usual, but relatively simple once you get going. you can build a simple jig for your circular saw out of plywood to ensure it all lines up properly. if you drill the upper lip on the edge, the screw will suck the joint up and tight.

FYI, if you are going to float ply over a slab, lay down and tape seal a poly vapour (6mil or heavier) barrier before you put down the ply. this will prevent moisture from being absorbed by the subfloor and oak and avoid rot and warpage.


What about screws?plywood subfloor on concrete

  • I do not think I could screw into the concrete. I am not sure how I could screw the boards together with both of them laying flat. Got any details on your idea? I am not sure I understand you clearly. Aug 30, 2016 at 1:34
  • I am trying to float this guy, I do not see how this would be any different from nailing or gluing since I am fastening to the concrete. In a floating install i would not touch the concrete at all. My issue is the boards are loose relative to each other I need a way to fix that. Any ideas? Aug 30, 2016 at 1:59
  • The video on the link explains it, you have to predrill the screw holes. If you can't screw into the floor then use personal privacy advocate's method.
    – Francis
    Aug 30, 2016 at 4:13

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