How To Choose the Right Subfloor Material for Bathroom?


When remodelling a home, the biggest challenge arrives when you’re to completely renovate your bathroom and surrounding area. The biggest worry of all being the choice of material for the subfloor.

Bathroom is the only are that has to face extremely high levels of moisture on a daily basis. Choosing material that aren’t resistant to moisture for a long period of time can double your expenses in the coming future. So how to choose the right one? 

Before you learn what subfloor material is ideal for you, let us tell you what a subfloor is, just in case you didn’t know before.

A subfloor is that area beneath the final floor or finished floor that helps keep the surface flat so the final floor can rest on it without compromising structural integrity. The subfloor also help tiles from breaking.


Generally, many contractors use exterior grade plywood as a subfloor material. Since plywood is made from multiple layers of wood veneer using glue, it has high resistance. However, constant exposure to moisture can deform, swell or bend the plywood over time. Not just that, using regular screws can also lead to moisture leaking inside the plywood hence you must use best screws for subfloor, which are treated with water resistant and anti rust coating.

So what’s the option here? A cemented backed board with a thin layer of mortar can prevent water from seeping in.

Oriented Strand Board

OSB creation process is similar to that of plywood. The only difference being, in the case of OSB instead of using wood veneer, strands of wood are pressed together using glue and hydraulics. As a result, you get a structurally sound board that has better water resistance and glue plays a big part in that. 

The only problem with OSB is its swelling around the edges when board comes in contact with water or any sort of moisture. This is why not many people prefer OSB as their primary Subflooring material. To prevent tiling from cracking, the installation requires a flat and solid surface and for that, Plywood remains better than OSB.

Enhanced Plywood

As the name suggests, plywood is treated with special type of water resistance coating that makes Enhance plywood resists possible problems caused by moisture while also lasting much longer compared to traditional plywood. Because plywood tends to be solid, it suited choice for subflooring. As it doesn’t flex when lay on flat surface, tiles don’t break and survive for several years.

Enhanced Oriented Strand Board

Enhanced OSBs are created using resins that are water resistant thus unlike its normal OSBs, it never swells around the edges. As a result, it seems like the perfect subflooring material. Some manufacturers sell Enhances OSB with upto 50 years of warranty, all the more reasons to spend a few bucks more.


If you go cheap while subflooring, you’re going to have problems sooner than expected as cheap materials don’t tend to last and don’t have proper coating or any coating whatsoever. Do a little research on price and offers, invest slightly more to buy reasonably priced stuff that at least promise to last a decade or more, otherwise you’ll be flushing your hard earned money into drains.


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