Working with DRIcore Subfloor in a Basement

The next stop in our basement bathroom remodel was to put in subfloor on the concrete floor that we self leveled but we had to find a way to make sure it was waterproof for our sometimes leaky walls. The answer was DRIcore subfloor, which we ended up getting and installing ourselves. I first found out about DRIcore from watching Income Property on a reno they did in a basement and knew it was just what we needed. I mean, if Scott McGillivray and Bryan Baeumler are using it, why shouldn’t we!?

Briefly, this is what DRIcore is, straight from their web site

DRIcore is a floating subfloor made with a raised high density polyethylene moisture barrier base bonded to an engineered core designed to allow air to flow underneath the subfloor system keeping floors warm and dry.

This is how we worked with DRIcore in our basement bathroom, and while DRIcore is not paying me to talk about this product, nor did I receive any compensation for this, I wanted to tell you about it as a solution for an renovations you might need in the future. It took us a while to figure out how we renovate a bathroom basement, so I hope this helps you too. Here we go, subfloor!

DRIcore Subflooring

First, we got our DRIcore at Home Depot. It’s in a small section in the lumber area and costs about $6.97 per each 2×2 foot panel where I live. All of the panels are the same. To determine how much we needed, we measured the area of the floor for the bathroom and closet next to it, which we planned to subfloor also, and divided out the square footage of each panel. That gave us our number of panels. Of course we bought extra since we knew we’d have to make cuts and there might be mistakes. What? Mistakes in DIY? Never!

Here is what the panels look like. Each is made from a wood core with these polyethylene (plastic) “feet” on each to prevent the wood from touching the floor. It’s a really genius idea and we couldn’t wait to get started using it. Finally we were making progress!

Two of the sides are tongued and two are grooved, to make them fit together. And you can buy little square levelers to help with your project too. Must have a level floor!


Dan did all of the installing for this, I have to say. This was not my part of the reno. I get to paint and all that fun stuff coming up soon. Here are some photos of the subfloor going in and tips for DRIcore installation.

Since this was in a small space, we ended up doing a lot of cutting of the panels. The below pictures shows the area that will be our shower. We had to piece some of the panels together of course, and cut a circular hole for the drain. The important thing to remember when cutting these is that you will cut off (with a circular saw) either a tongue or groove so you have to pay attention to that so your pieces fit together. You have to figure out how you are laying out the floor and use the correct side of the panel. Be sure you are cutting off the side to match the corresponding piece you’ll put next to it.

Now this may not recommended by the DRIcore folks, but in order to use all of the pieces we bought, we ended up using the router to make grooves in some of the panels so they would fit to another piece after that original grooved or tongued part was cut off. Dan used a straight bit to cut a channel to match the width of the needed “groove” and it ended up working really well. Since we had a smaller area than other projects we had to make lots of cuts, but if you are doing a square room – you are lucky! You probably won’t even have this problem and it would be super easy.

Now you may not also have a router, but definitely get extra panels if you can. Use a 2×4 when hammering the pieces in to make sure they are snug together. The DRIcore web site has a great installation section and videos for DIYers.

Dricore Subfloor Installation

The other step in putting this floor down on concrete inside a bathroom that would be partially tiled is to anchor the DRIcore to the concrete with Tapcon concrete anchors. These are heavy coated specially made concrete “screws” that will go right through the subfloor into the concrete below.

Use a hammer drill to pre-drill the holes and then use an impact driver (kind of like mine from RYOBI) to drive them into the cement. Here is where the muscle comes in! And the fancy tools too 🙂 The Tapcon anchors come in different sizes. That was a little tricky since we were drilling into our 113-year old foundation, you don’t exactly want to be drilling forever, so the right length is key to a good fit.

We anchored the DRIcore only in the area that will be the shower since we will be tiling it and you don’t want the floor to shift at all. We didn’t do this to the whole floor, since we’ll be putting down a vinyl roll out floor we found on sale. If you were tiling or putting a wood floor, I’m sure it’s recommended to anchor the subfloor.

Tapcon Concrete Anchors

Here is the shower area finished. It’s a pretty big space, although with cement board and tile, will definitely get smaller. We have to figure out how to actually put this shower together. It’s a big stumbling block for us, since it’s an unusual size and the drain is off centered, we don’t really know how to build it yet. Suggestions welcome!

The bottom pic is of the area next to the shower where we will have a small kind of indent where I’ll probably put shelves or hooks for towels. As you can see a preview – we have drywall up! That means framing is done and I can get on with painting.

DRIcore Subfloor in Basement

We also put the subfloor around the doorway of course and under the 2x4s that were already in the space. We kind of did this backwards and left the framing up after we demoed the space, then put in the floor. You can see some of the spacers we used both below the floor and in the shower area.

DRIcore Subfloor

And here is the whole room. Sorry for the night time pics. You know when DIY happens – at about 12:30 AM.

DRIcore Subfloor

Thankfully things are moving along! Now if only Scott or Bryan would come on over and tell us what to do in that shower, we’d be all set 🙂

Any questions about our basement renovation? Hope this helped you!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post, nor have I been compensated in anyway by any of the above mentioned companies. I just use these products and think it would help a DIYer like me to know about them.


  1. Hi Jessica, can you tell me if the dricor smelled or off gassed at all? Thanks, Jean

    • Hi Jean,
      This is a good question and I have to say it doesn’t smell at all nor did it off gas. My husband agrees and he is the one who installed it. Hope that helps.


  2. jackson roberts says:

    damn, all those screws just make holes in you’re dri-core moisture barrier. you’re not suppose to do that, to that extent.


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