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Plywood Thickness for Floor (Read This First!)

Being a homeowner is lovely-until you have to install or re-do the existing floor of your home space. The job can be tougher than it looks. However, our surroundings reflect our personality. Therefore, we ensure that our house is something more than just a living space. 

Plywood is most commonly used for the subflooring. Now, before you move on to subflooring, you would need to determine the thickness of the plywood that will be used. There are multiple factors that one needs to bear in mind before choosing the right plywood for their flooring. 

If you are confused about what thickness of plywood you should use then you are at the right place. We are here with a detailed discussion on plywood thickness for the floor. So, stay with us till the end! 

Plywood thickness for floor

Plywood is available in various thickness. Usually, the thickness can be in between ⅛ to an inch. And depending on the variety of flooring that will go on top of the plywood the thickness is determined. Multiple fields are considered before using the ideal plywood. 

A residence that has a complete wood flooring is way more complicated than it looks. It gives away a sophisticated and elegant look. However, there are factors that need to play right in order for the flooring to look that good. 

Nowadays, plywood is the most commonly used component for subflooring. The thickness of the plywood used for subflooring depends on the type of flooring that will go on top of the plywood flooring.

In simple words, the subflooring needs to be done right before you move ahead and use a hardwood flooring, ceramic tiling or a laminate flooring. 

Before we move on to determining the thickness of the plywood, we need to understand how plywood works as a subflooring. Plywood is basically layers of wood that have been arranged in opposite directions. 

The best part about plywood flooring is that they are both water and heat resistant. 

Plywood subflooring is easier to install. Moreover, for subflooring generally ½ inches to ¾ inches-thick sheets are used. Plywood sheets mostly come in 4 by 8-inches or 4 by 12-inches. Initially you can use standard plywood for subflooring. 

However, you may also use tongue and groove sheets that have interlock along the edges.

Plywood is strong and the structural strength is more rigid than other materials. Additionally, it is ideal for all sorts of flooring that is placed on the plywood. Plywood also has great holding power. 

The internal properties of plywood are basically three or more than three layers of wood that have been glued together. Generally, these wood layers are known as veneers.  Additionally, they are glued in alternating grain direction. 

They are glued in this manner because it improves wood bonding and is thought to have optimal strength. Plywood is presumed to be quite stable and versatile, with a strength-to-weight ratio that does not corrode.                 

Plywood basically works in two ways. One; removing the existing floor entirely and then refinishing the plywood subflooring beneath it. And two; installing new plywood that has been cut into planks, squares or other shapes. 

And then they are installed atop of the existing subfloor. Therefore, the thickness of the plywood would depend on the type subflooring you require. 

Is 12mm plywood OK for flooring?

12 mm plywood is OK for flooring. For subflooring, a plywood with 12mm thickness is just right. When it comes to subflooring, it is better to use plywood rather than using other materials as it is rigid. Plywood subflooring is considered better as it is stronger and sustainable. 

Apart from being sustainable , it also has the capability of giving you the ideal wood like appearance. Which means you get both looks and durability in one material. 

Rather than the thickness of the plywood there are some other factors that also have an impact on how the plywood would act. There are different grades of plywood that can be used for flooring. 

The best grade quality of plywood is known to be A-type and X-type is known to be a scrape grade quality.

Moreover, plywood is used in planks or other shapes. And they have a particular amount of thickness. Additionally, 12mm thickness is the most commonly used plywood size regarding flooring. 

Four factors that determine plywood thickness for floor 

There are multiple factors that will help you determine the thickness for the floor. These factors will more or less affect how the plywood performs. Here are a few factors that can help you determine the thickness of plywood for floor: 

Supporting the structure: 

The basic intention of installing a subflooring is supporting the structure of the house or the floor. It works as the support system for the floor that will sleep on top of it. Suflooring initially goes in between joints or bonds in order to provide support. 

Moreover, the  subflooring needs to be strong enough to hold up the flooring. Therefore, choosing the right thickness is mandatory. 

A smooth surface: 

One of the most important factors for subflooring is a smooth finishing. Having a smooth surface is necessary if you want to have a good flooring. 

In order the plywood has a thickness less than ½ inches , there is a chance that the plywood will dimple or cup in the middle. Additionally, this will create issues in the flooring over time.

Insulation of noise: 

Noise insulation is a necessary factor when it comes to choosing an ideal thickness for plywood. Moreover you will notice that old houses that have a wooden structure, tend to creak. This creaking sound is created from the subflooring. 

When the subflooring is not thick enough, the creaking sound is created. And if you are hearing a creaking noise there is no other option than removing the old subflooring and placing a new one. 

Replacing a subflooring with a plywood that has a good amount of thickness will help you get rid of the creaking noise. The creaking noise is basically caused when there are nails proking though or if the subflooring is wearing down. 

Therefore, to resist cracking the thickness needs to be at least ½ inches of the plywood used for subflooring. 


Having a subflooring is necessary. However, it can wear out overtime. Like everything else. Subfloorings will age too. They will begin to wear out as people will walk on them. Moreover, The plywood of the subflooring will also capture moisture and degrade the material of plywood. 

Therefore, if you want the subflooring to last for a decade or two, then make sure the plywood used for subflooring is thicker. 

Is plywood or OSB better for flooring? 

Plywood is better for flooring. Plywood and OSB are two different materials that are used for flooring. The term OSB stands for Oriented Standard Board. OSB is basically large flat flakes of wood that have been arranged in layers. 

Whereas, plywood is layers of wood that have been arranged in opposite directions for better bonding. 

Plywood usually appears to be solid wood, on the other hand this is not the case for OSB. Moreover, plywood is water and heat resistant, and OSB are not that strong. They are more on the flexible side. 

Plywood is a great option for subflooring and additionally, they are easy to install. However, if you are looking for a cheaper option than OSB wins the game! Therefore, plywood is better for subflooring when the major factors are considered.  

What plywood is best for flooring? 

There are different types of plywood available that can be used for flooring. Here are a few plywood options that is considered best for flooring: 

Aircraft plywood :

This is one of the best kinds of plywood that you can find. It is the most durable kind you can use for your interiors. This particular type of plywood is made of veneers and can look pretty thin. 

However, it is mostly used in industrial usage or to make furniture as it can carry heavy loads. 

Marine plywood: 

Marine plywood is one of the best kinds of plywood that  you can for flooring. In order to be approved as a marine grade plywood the plywood type needs to be B-grade or higher. And a plywood that is higher in grade is a great option for flooring. 

This is one of the most high-graded plywood available in the market. 

Interior plywood: 

Interior plywood is ideal for flooring when they are not exposed to moisture. They can be used in bedrooms or living rooms. However, when looking for plywood that can be installed in the bathroom you would want to use exterior plywood. 

This type of plywood can get exposed to moisture. 

Final Thoughts 

The ideal thickness of plywood for flooring can range in between ⅛ to an inch. Moreover, there are multiple factors that should be kept in mind while choosing the right thickness for plywood. If the plywood used for flooring is not thick enough, it can cause creaking overtime.