Edge Type: Tongue & Groove ,Exposed tongue & groove plywood roof sheathing in new design  ,Plywood have a tongue and groove profile on their two long edges. This eliminates the need for support (blocking) under adjacent panel edges to prevent them from deflecting independently of each other when load is applied.

I’m just curious – in reading more about subflooring I see that a lot of sources are saying to use plywood with tongue and groove. Why? What is the benefit of tongue and groove plywood as opposed to plywood (of the same thickness) with flat edges? Does the interlock help the subfloor be more stable? Does it protect against leaks?

The way we lay flooring is to use subfloor adhesive and lay a bead down the whole length of the groove. You wedge it together till the gap totally closes. Doing this in addition to using tongue and groove plywood/OSB accomplishes two things:

  1. You have an airtight floor membrane. This gets rid of heat loss and also the intrusion of moist damp air possibly mold contaminated from the crawl space.
  2. You have a much stronger floor that is seamless which can carry more weight and not have bounce because the edge is supported by and locked into the adjoining sheet.

Why you shouldn’t use standard plywood , if you just butt plywood up to create the subfloor, you get this neat sawing action from the unsupported edges that slowly fills the crawlspace with sawdust as the wood eats away at itself, causing the seams to open up. It also groans nicely if you have the right amount of frictional contact and leaves you with a spongy floor because there is no support from the mating plywood sheet along the length of the seam to prevent differential motion between the two sheets.

That sawing action happens to both T&G and square edge, whether or not you glue them. Fully joining two sheets of T&G is the main reason for non-environmental failure in sheathing. There should always be a 1/8″ gap between sheets to allow for expansion and contraction of the sheets.

Tongue and groove products offer extra stability at joints. It reduces movement and helps avoid uneven points in the sub-flooring where two pieces come together.


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