Project Overview

The best way to ensure your floor is flat is to have a level subfloor. We’ll show you how to level a subfloor yourself using a straight edge and a plane. You’ll learn how to find the high spots on your joists and the best way to plane your joists down. 
Continue to step-by-step instructions
This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How to build a subfloor

Step by Step Instructions

1 Find the high spots on the joists in your subfloor
2 Plane the high spots on the joists in your subfloor
  • Step 1. Find the high spots on the joists in your subfloor

    Run your straight edge across several joists at once. If the straight edge seesaws on any of the joists instead of sitting flat, then that joist is sitting higher than the others. Move the straight edge up and down the high joist to see where the high section starts and finishes. Mark the high area up with a pencil. Repeat across the floor to find all the high spots.
  • Step 2. Plane the high spots on the joists in your subfloor

    Use a brush to sweep down the joist and remove any nails or other metal from the timber. Use your plane to trim the high section of the joist down. Only take off 1-2mm at a time. Keep checking the level with your straight edge as you go. Once the straight edge sits flat across all the joists, your job is done.

Tools and Materials


  • Ear muffs
  • Electric plane
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Straight edge

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