The Detailed Installation Guide

Preparation

The concrete floor and foundation should be relatively dry and free of large cracks, excessive moisture penetration or flooding problems prior to installing DRIcore Subfloor panels. DRIcore is not meant to be a replacement for good foundation maintenance. Any moisture issues including leaks, excessive moisture, mold/musty spots, foundation cracks, window leaks, exterior drainage or hydrostatic pressure issues, should be resolved prior to DRIcore's installation to avoid potential contamination to the finished project and surrounding building materials.

Any dips or low spots in the concrete surface greater than 1/4" should be trowelled level with a Portland cement compound or leveled with a self-leveling compound to ensure an accurate installation.

Determine the number of DRIcore panels and leveling kits needed to complete the room(s). To do this, calculate the total number of square feet of your floor (length x width). Divide the number by 3.3. This formula allows for a percentage of additional panels normally used as partial waste, while cutting around pipes and other obstacles. Please note: The actual panel dimensions are 7/8" x 23.5" x 23.5". Check out the DRIcore Calculator!

Subfloor panel preparations

  • Make as much space as you can spare in the area where you will be laying the DRIcore panels. Remember, you'll need space to stack the panels, which should be away from where you begin laying the floor.
  • Sweep or vacuum the entire surface to remove any debris that may interfere with the proper seating of the DRIcore panels. Visually inspect the floor area for bumps or ridges that will need to be removed before you begin.

Installation tools needed

  • A circular saw and/or jigsaw
  • A hammer or rubber mallet 
  • A carpenter's square
  • A tapping block and pull bar
  • DRIcore leveling kits (based on the formula 1 kit / 60 panels)
  • A sufficient quantity of 1/4" flooring spacers, to create the proper expansion space between the panel edges and the walls, or other fixed surfaces
  • A dust mask or respirator for cutting panels outside
  • A pair of safety glasses for eye protection

  • DRIcore is a floating subfloor. However, in some instances, we suggest that you fasten the panels to the concrete floor.

  • We recommend that the panels have a 1/4" space away from all perimeter walls and room obstacles, such as support posts or stairs, to allow for airflow and some expansion. Check with the lumber department for 1/4" wood strapping, off cut stock or other inexpensive 1/4" dimensional lumber that you could use as spacer material.

  • For homes where the basement may have an existing subfloor or covering over the concrete surface that may trap, block or absorb moisture, we recommend that it be removed prior to installing the DRIcore panels.

  • Access to floor drains or clean-outs should be maintained and not restricted. Be sure to check with your local authority for building code recommendations before covering any basement floor drain or clean-out access. It is not a requirement to install a basement drain prior to installing a DRIcore subfloor. If you install DRIcore panels over a drain access, cut an access opening in the panel that rests over the drain. You can either reinstall the cut piece to cap off for future removal and maintenance or take the drain cover from the existing opening and use to cap off the top of the DRIcore material or finished flooring material to allow for access.

  • There are many conditions which can contribute to excessive moisture in a basement - house location, soil conditions, poor exterior drainage, construction, lack of or failure of waterproofing methods, hydrostatic pressure etc... Maintenance, repair and understanding how to control these factors will help to limit and prevent leakages or flooding from occurring.


Setting up the layout

  • First, choose the longest straight wall as your starting wall. Select one of the corners on this wall as the place to lay the first panel. Choose the corner of the room that will result in the least amount of cutting required for the entire room.

  • Measure the distance between your beginning point and end of the wall where the first panel run will terminate. Trim the starting panel back to allow for at least a 3" panel section at the end of the first row.
  • Check your starting corner for squareness. If your starting corner is not at a 90o angle into the room, then the wall edge of your first row of panels will require cutting to ensure squareness of the panel to the inside of the room.

  • Begin in your selected 'start' corner of the room and lay the 1/4" spacing material along the two walls. Eventually you will have these spacers placed around the entire perimeter of the DRIcore area. (If you're working in a basement where there is already a stud wall around the perimeter of the basement, apply tthe same 1/4" spacers between the panel and the stud wall.)


Installation

  • In your selected starting corner, lay the first panel with the tongue side flat against the spacers. Slide the next panel into place by connecting the tongue side into the groove of the first panel. Use a tapping block with a hammer to make sure this second panel is snug to the first panel, and to the wall spacer. Repeat this panel placement the length of the wall.

  • Once you reach the last panel in the row, chances are good that you'll have to cut the panel to fit. Measure to fit tight against the 1/4" spacer. Cut the panel to size and press into place with the pull bar. Ensure the last panel is at least 3".

  • Before you start the second row, check the first row for leveling and adjust any panels that bounce, with a DRIcore leveling shim. Note that each row of DRIcore panels should be staggered at their seams.

  • Row #3 looks just like Row #1. Starting Row #3 with a full size panel will create the natural seam offset. Row #4 would be staggered again as in Row #2.

  • The first three rows are the most critical to the success of a well formed subfloor. Take your time, and place down one row at a time installing tightly to prevent any seam separation.

  • Continue to install the floor, checking for leveling and adjusting with DRIcore leveling shims as necessary. Work from one side of the room to the other, one row at a time.

  • When you reach the last row to complete your installation, chances are good that you'll have to cut the panel to fit. Measure for fit, keeping in mind the additional (1/4") expansion space from the wall that is required. Cut the panel to size and press into place with the pull bar.

  • When all of your panels are in place, you may be able to  remove the 1/4" spacers from around the perimeter of the room depending on the finished flooring application. See finished flooring section of the FAQ's for more information.


The Leveling Kit

  • The leveling shims have been designed for use with the DRIcore panels for areas where your basement floor is uneven. They simply fit over the cleats on the underside of the DRIcore panels, raising the panels to the desired level.

  • Place the leveling shims over the area of the panel where you feel the height adjustment is necessary. Slide the square until it "nests" or "cups" into place on the underside of DRIcore panel.

  • In some cases, you may need to stack 2, 3 or more leveling squares together to get the right height adjustment needed to level the panel.

    NOTE: Any dips or low spots in the concrete surface greater than 1/4" should be trowelled level with a Portland cement-based compound.


Making Interior walls

  • An interior stud wall can be set right on top of your new DRIcore subfloor and is in fact, the preferred method of installation. Install your 2X4 frame directly on top of the subfloor, measuring for a "snug" fit between the subfloor and ceiling.

  • Once the frame is in position, simply screw the bottom plates of the 2X4 frame to the DRIcore panels, using 2" wood screws. To finish the anchoring process, we suggest fastening the bottom plate to the concrete floor using either 3" concrete nails or concrete fasteners.

  • Only minimal fastening to the concrete is required. For example, for every 8' length of base plate, install only two concrete anchors. Note: If you are planning to use metal studs in place of wood, the base track for the studs should be affixed to the DRIcore panels with 5/8" wood screws as a maximum. Metal stud base plates should be anchored in concrete every 2' when installing over DRIcore panels.


Finish With Flooring

Carpet - To prevent panel uplift when stretching carpet, fasten DRIcore panels to the concrete floor with flat head 1/4" x 2 1/4" or 2 3/4" concrete fasteners every other panel at perimeter edges and one in the panel in the centre of the room. Use a 3/16" x 4 1/2" drill bit to bore the holes. Install tack strips on top of the DRIcore panels around the perimeter of the room, to hold the carpet down. Install pad and carpet. Do not glue the underpad or carpet directly to the DRIcore panels.


Laminate
- Install the floor manufacturer's foam pad and finished flooring on top of the DRIcore panels. The installation of a continuous vapour barrier on top of DRIcore is permitted as long as it is not sealed to the perimeter wall. Only remove the 1/4" wall spacers after the laminate floor has been installed.

NOTE that the installation of a continuous vapour barrier on top of DRIcore is permitted as long as it is not sealed to the perimeter wall. Only remove the 1/4" wall spacers until after the laminate floor has been installed.



Engineered/Solid Hardwood - Follow the wood manufacturer's guidelines as to what can be installed at or above grade and below grade. The National Wood Flooring Association defines below grade as any part of a concrete floor that is 4" or more below the soil level. Before installing glue-down or nail-down floors a 3/8" plywood underlayment should be fastened to DRIcore using 18 gauge 3/4" or 7/8" narrow crown staples. When installing nail-down floors test a piece of the finished floor to make sure the fastener does not puncture the plastic membrane. Remove the 1/4" wall spacers after the wood flooring has been installed. NOTE: Do not glue engineered hardwood floors directly to DRIcore panels.

Ceramic Tile - Fasten each DRIcore panel with five, flat head and countersunk, concrete fasteners to the concrete floor to prevent movement or shifting of the finished ceramic tile floor. We recommend one in each of the four corners and one in the centre of the panel. Use flat head 1/4" x 2 1/4" or 2 3/4" concrete fasteners and a 3/16" x 4 1/2" drill bit to bore the holes. Next install an approved tile underlayment over DRIcore making sure you follow their installation guidelines for installing over a wood subfloor. NOTE: DRIcore must lay perfectly stable. A sound recommendation would be to have one person walk the floor. Step heavy or bounce, with another looking for vertical movement of panels. If there is noticeable movement, mark the areas in question with an X and insert another concrete fastener.

Please note that we also do not recommend gluing underlayments or other wood flooring materials to DRIcore.

Sheet Vinyl and Vinyl Tiles - A 1/4" plywood underlayment approved for use with sheet vinyl or adhesive-backed vinyl tiles should be fastened to the DRIcore panels. We do not recommend lauan plywood as an underlayment. Use 3/4" flooring fasteners that do not penetrate the moisture barrier on the underside of the DRIcore panels. Do not glue the plywood underlayment to DRIcore panels. Do not glue adhesive-backed vinyl tiles directly to DRIcore panels. Glue the vinyl floor to the plywood underlayment according to the vinyl manufacturer's installation instructions. Only remove the 1/4" wall spacers after the vinyl floor has been installed.

Height Transitions: Wood transition or reducing strips that are available in the floor and molding departments should be used to bridge floor height variances.

Exterior Door Transitions: Here are a few ideas for installing DRIcore up to an existing exterior door area that, when combined with the finished flooring material, is higher than the door threshold:

  • Install ceramic tile, in a small section large enough to allow for the door opening, as a transition up to DRIcore panels and the finished floor.

  • For steel exterior doors that cannot be trimmed, raise the door header, if possible, to account for the heights of DRIcore and the finished floor.

  • For wood exterior doors, trim the door and raise the door threshold to accommodate for the new floor height.

The success of any finished floor depends on the characteristics and the quality of the materials used and the nature of the installation. DRIcore (AGT Products Inc.) does not extend any express or implied warranties to finished floors installed over its DRIcore product. Click here for complete warranty details.

Special Health Protection Information - Personal Protective Equipment: Wear goggles or safety glasses, work gloves and approved dust mask when cutting panels. Use an approved respirator in dusty or enclosed environments.

Ventilation - Minimize airborne wood dust by always cutting panels in a well-ventilated space. Promptly clean up any accumulations of wood dust and do not use blow-down or other practices which may generate high dust concentrations when cutting panels.


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