Jeremy Stewart, long considered the doyen of the flooring industry in South Africa offers a wealth of knowledge in all things flooring in this column. Jeremy’s experience covers over 35 years where he has served on numerous committees, Chaired various associations and is a celebrated local and International speaker on flooring.  

The importance of subbase design and installation 

When it comes to flooring, the focus is often on the surface’s aesthetics, colours and textures. However, beneath this lies an unsung hero that plays a crucial role in the success of any flooring project – the subbase. The durability and success of the chosen floor covering depend on the condition and quality of this hidden foundation. Neglecting it can lead to complications down the road. 

 Subbase design 

The subbase is the base on which your chosen flooring material rests, so it must withstand structural, thermal and mechanical stresses and loads throughout a floor’s lifespan. It should accommodate expansion, contraction and the formation of cracks. 

Before installing the desired floor covering, a thorough examination of the subbase is crucial. Overlooking this step and avoiding necessary repairs before installation increases the risk of premature failure, disruption to the project and incurs significant expense to fix. 

 Achieving success 

In the intricate dance between the subbase and flooring, the installer takes centre stage. It’s their responsibility to inform clients about potential risks with questionable substrates such as flawed concrete, cracked floors, loose tiles or contaminated surfaces. When encountering these issues, installers must proceed with caution. 

Some problems can be fixed with standard techniques or concrete repair, but in severe cases the only solution may be to replace the entire subbase. These shortcomings can lead to the early demise of the new floor covering, highlighting the importance of thorough subbase scrutiny. 

Subbases must meet precise specifications and be suitable for their intended purpose before laying the final floor covering. This approach minimises future complications, ensuring a seamless, long-lasting floor. 

Issue: Achieving a successful flooring installation. 

Solution: For new floor installations, adhering to sound design and installation practices is crucial. 


For more information, contact Seamless Flooring: 

Tel: 0861 782 789 



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