Next up on the product review list: DRIcore. This subfloor product is intended for concrete basements and other such spaces to help keep them dry and mold free. My home is built on a slab, so I decided to look into this product when I was buying flooring materials per my Dads suggestion.
DRIcore looks like particle board on top and like a plastic version of diamond plate on bottom. That ‘diamond plate’ configuration allows air to flow freely under the subfloor. This design helps prevent mold in the event of a flood or a spill. Each square is slatted on the side to fit together (like laminate flooring). According to the manufacturing info, interior walls can be installed right on top of DRIcore. This subfloor is also has a R-value of 1.7 to slightly insulate. (Per their website, product stats state that this would bump up interior floor temps about 6F).
I don’t actually know anything about subfloors – but using DRIcore sounds way easier than building one myself! Optional shims can be purchased to spot-level on the fly. Each piece attaches to the diamond plate shapes on the bottom to fill in low areas by building up the ‘feet’ of the DRIcore. This corrects small discrepancies in the levelness of the concrete floor being covered, saving the hassle of leveling with messy concrete. I didn’t need these, myself. If you used them please leave a note letting me how you made out!
There was only one thing I didn’t like: the smell. This stuff has a pretty strong chemical stench – which went away after about a week. I wasn’t living there at install time so it was not a big deal to me. I should also note that I purchased an entire skid (and then some). The smell I experienced may have been worse than normal as most of my order was shrink-wrapped. In my experience, shrink-wrapping happens immediately following manufacture, thus sealing in freshness and stinkiness alike! If you are sensitive to powerful scents, allow your subfloor to breath while you acclimate the product and also plan for a day or two of open windows after install.
Final word: I would purchase again. My first floor floors are actually warmer to walk on in bare feet. This was worth cutting all the doors down and the price tag. DRIcore installed very fast and it cut easily for a custom fit. Overall, my subfloor went down in a fraction of the time that the laminate floors took to lay. (Even though I didn’t do a lick of install work on that one, Dad and Steve did it all, I really just unloaded the stuff, swept up the mess and, of course, paid for it!)
Tips: Before you go all crazy, running back and forth to the store: This product is actually 23.5″ square, not 24″. Calculate accordingly! I used the manufacturers product calculator and had about 14 panels to return after my install.
The product is going to raise your floor about 7/8″ so you may need to cut doors down to fit. Even if you don’t have solid wood doors, most will still have a few inches of solid material at the bottom to allow for adjustments. Also, if you are installing wood or laminate on top of the subfloor you need to account for that differential, too. My doors all needed to be cut over an inch to accommodate my Dricore and laminate. Be sure and confirm your situation before you do your purchasing.
You can find more information and a project calculator on the manufacturers website. The manufacturers website also provides a search tool to find dealers but you can find the at Big Blue and Big Orange.