Plywood Underlayment

What is Plywood Underlayment?

Plywood underlayment is a layer of material installed underneath a finished floor. The term plywood underlayment is not interchangeable with the term subfloor. The subfloor is the structural plywood that is used during construction. It is usually a composite product such as OSB that is manufactured for its strength and engineered structural qualities. Plywood underlayment is the layer of plywood that is fastened over the structural subfloor. It creates a uniform, smooth surface for resilient flooring, vinyl tile, ceramic tile, carpet, engineered flooring, and wood floors. If your structural subfloor is not sound, then you should repair or replace it prior to installing your plywood underlayment.


Patriot Timber Products offers two premium, warranted plywood underlayments: SurePly® Premium Underlayment and IronPly® Premium Underlayment. Both of these plywood underlayments were engineered to specifically provide durability and ease of use.


What Tools do you need to install Plywood Underlayment?

  • A quality plywood underlayment such as SurePly® Premium Underlayment or IronPly® Premium Underlayment.
  • A circular saw for cutting the plywood underlayment panels to the correct size.
  • If you wish to score and snap the plywood underlayment, you will need a utility knife and straight edge.
  • Pneumatic fastener tool - either for staples, nails, or screws depending on the fastener you choose.
  • You can fasten your plywood underlayment using one of the following: galvanized, coated chisel-point staples with a 1/4" maximum crown; galvanized, coated ring shank underlayment nails with a 3/16" diameter head; or flathead wood screws treated with a moisture-resistant coating (such as galvanized or zinc). Do not use drywall screws. Do not select a fastener that is uncoated, cement or rosin-coated, as they may rust and discolor your finished floor. The length of the selected fastener should be a minimum of 5/8", but not so long that it protrudes through the bottom side of the subfloor.
  • Seam filler if you choose to lay the plywood underlayment with an expansion joint.
  • Materials needed for the application of the seam filler (clean bucket, water, mixing tool, trowel - refer to the bag of seam filler for the necessary materials). A broom or vacuum to clean the subfloor prior to laying the plywood underlayment and prior to laying the finished flooring on top of the plywood underlayment. Materials needed for the installation of your choice of flooring.

What features make a Plywood Underlayment superior?

The old standard for resilient vinyl flooring was lauan plywood (commonly referred to as luan) or Meranti plywood. Lauan and Meranti are no longer the standard since better, sustainable alternatives are now available. There are a lot of plywood underlayments on the market which leads you to the question, what makes one plywood underlayment superior to another plywood underlayment? When making a choice, consider the following key elements:

  1. Does the plywood underlayment have a fastener pattern for ease of installation?
  2. Is the plywood underlayment warranted? Does the plywood underlayment manufacturer provide an installation guide or installation video specifically for the plywood underlayment panel? Is the guide/video easy to follow?
  3. Does the plywood underlayment manufacturer provide a phone number for you to call if you have questions regarding the installation of their plywood underlayment? Do they offer online support with PDF downloads?
  4. Is the plywood underlayment flooring industry approved?
  5. Is the plywood underlayment manufactured to be environmentally friendly? Are the panels manufactured using no tropical hardwoods and using 100% plantation and sustainable wood sources?
  6. Is the plywood underlayment NGBS Green Certified for points towards ICC-700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) green home certifications?
  7. Does the plywood underlayment fit into your budget for the job? Does the plywood underlayment manufacturer offer different plywood underlayment options at different price points?

What are my Plywood Underlayment Options?

Patriot Timber Products offers two warranted plywood underlayment options. The first is SurePly® Premium Underlayment. SurePly® plywood underlayment is backed by our Lifetime Warranty for residential and nonrated commercial applications. The "x" stencil pattern on the face of the underlayment panel provides the installer or homeowner with a guide for fastener attachment. SurePly® plywood underlayment is approved by the major flooring manufacturers and the TCNA (extra heavy rating) for use under ceramic tile. Each panel goes through a five-point inspection process. No special tools are required for SurePly® plywood underlayment installations. We provide online support along with a step-by-step installation video. We can also be reached at 1-877-787-3759 should you have plywood underlayment installation-related questions. You can also find our SurePly® Premium Underlayment Installation Instructions and Installation Video at

The second option that Patriot Timber Products offers is IronPly® Premium Underlayment. IronPly® plywood underlayment is backed by our Lifetime Warranty for residential applications. This panel also has the "x" stencil pattern on the face for ease of installation. IronPly® plywood underlayment is approved by the major flooring manufacturers and the TCNA (extra heavy rating) for use under ceramic tile. IronPly® plywood underlayment goes through the same five-point inspection process as the SurePly® plywood underlayment, but is offered at a lower price point, giving customers more options in the plywood underlayment marketplace.

Patriot Timber Products also offers a third plywood underlayment alternative, RevolutionPly® plywood. This panel is an economically priced lauan (luan) and meranti plywood substitute. RevolutionPly® plywood, like SurePly® plywood underlayment and IronPly® plywood underlayment, is a Green panel. You can learn more about RevolutionPly® at Here you will find our product installation guide along with our product video. You can use all three plywood underlayment panels with confidence knowing that they are manufactured without the use of tropical hardwoods and are manufactured using 100% plantation and sustainable wood sources.

How do I install Plywood Underlayment?

Patriot Timber Products is proud to provide our SurePly® Installation Video. We also provide plywood underlayment installation instructions for all three plywood underlayment panels. The step-by-step installation instructions in PDF format for SurePly® Premium Underlayment, IronPly® Premium Underlayment and RevolutionPly® plywood can be found at, and or by calling 1-877-787-3759.

Return to Top