Updated On

April 9, 2024

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    The type of subfloor material you use for finishing your basement dictates how long the concrete foundation flooring and top floor will last. If you’re currently weighing your options about which subfloor material to choose, it’s a guarantee that the name Dricore will pop up. Is it worth your investment? Or should you stick with plywood instead?

    Find out with this Dricore review.

    • DRICORE® has several products all related to the insulation of and mold protection of floors and walls. DRICORE products include:
    • Both the original Dricore subfloor and its newer R+ model are equipped with Air Gap Technology.
    • Dricore is very easy to install thanks to the tongue-in-groove subflooring panels that lock together without using glue or tape.
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    What’s Our Overview of Dricore Subfloor?

    Former Kruger employee Bob Smith had serious moisture leaks and mold contamination in his basement in the early 90s. His experience as a contractor and a genuine interest in finding a better fix than a plywood subfloor led him to the creation of Dricore in 2001 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. 

    DRICORE® has several products all related to the insulation of and mold protection of floors and walls. DRICORE products include:

    • SMARTWALL:  Launched in 2013, this pre-fab drywall panel is ready to be installed on your basement’s walls for water buildup prevention.
    • Insul-Armor: A lightweight insulation foam made specifically for subflooring. This foam is designed with Dricore’s Air Gap Technology; you install it  between your concrete floor and finishing hard-surface floors like laminate, LVT, LVP, or engineered hardwood. 
    • DRICORE PRO Concrete Repair: This kit supports DIYers to the core. It lets users fix cracks in concrete walls and floors without adding square footage. The kit comes with super-thin carbon fiber and the epoxy-and-polyurethane crack injection kit, which you can also buy separately.

    Despite the many products available, this review will focus on the company’s original product, the DRICORE® Subfloor, and the double-strength variety DRICORE® R+

    Both Dricore® Subfloor and Dricore® R+ are floating subfloors created with a high-density polyethylene moisture barrier that allows concrete floors to breathe and solve basement issues with water leaks, mildew, and moisture. 

    The main difference is that Dricore® R+ is manufactured with an extra layer of polystyrene foam (XPS) and oriented strand board (OSB), which results in a higher R-value of 3.0 and improved insulation. 

    What Are The Pros & Cons of Dricore Subfloor and Dricore R+?

    Air Gap Technology: Both the original Dricore subfloor and its newer R+ model are equipped with this technology. The underside of Dricore works as a physical barrier to the moisture that would have risen up from the concrete foundation into your finished flooring. With this technology, the water vapor only wicks up to the Dricore level, resulting in warmer and dryer floors. 
    Ideal even for low-ceiling basements: Unlike plywood and other alternatives, Dricore doesn’t add a lot of height after installation, so even low-ceiling basements can benefit from this technology. 
    Durability: Both models are advertised as ideal for home gyms and music rooms since Dricore is strong enough to handle gym equipment, pianos, pool tables, and other heavy furniture.
    Overall softer floors: Regardless of the type of flooring you decided to finish with, installing Dricore subfloor or Dricore R+ softens the floor and improves overall comfort.
    Versatility: You can cover Dricore subflooring products with any flooring material, including tile, carpet, laminate flooring, or engineered hardwood. You can even incorporate a type of heating system and install it directly on top of Dricore. 
    Low R warmth value: While these subflooring products do reduce the coldness exuding from your concrete floor foundation, unfortunately, the R-value of Dricore is only a 1.4. If you want something higher, DRICORE R+ offers R-value 3.0 warmth level.
    Expensive: Dricore is more expensive than DIY plywood+foam. DRICORE R+ is over 30% more expensive than the original Dricore subfloors. 

    What’s The Price, Costs, And Hidden costs of Dricore Subfloor?

    DRICORE® Subfloor costs about $6 to $9 per 2×2- square foot panel. 

    DRICORE R+ costs higher, at around $10 to $15 per 2×2-square foot panel. 

    Prices may vary depending on which store you buy them from. 

    The good news is there aren’t any hidden costs. Since Dricore was created and marketed for the do-it-yourself homeowner, you will no longer need to pay for in-house installation (or the fees attached).  

    What’s The Installation Process of Dricore Subfloor?

    Dricore is very easy to install thanks to the tongue-in-groove subflooring panels that lock together without using glue or tape. Even a single person can perform the installation in a single afternoon. If you’re busy, this is a perfect weekend project. A 500-square foot floor space can be done in an hour, as long as you follow these expert tips:

    • Fix cracks on your concrete floors – Start your project by cleaning, removing debris, filling out large cracks, and drying the cement completely. If your foundation has cracks, Dricore offers a repair kit exactly for this. 
    • Check if your floor is leveled – Dips greater than 1/4-inch need to be leveled with cement. If the dip is larger, you can use Dricore leveling shims instead of cement. Leveling shims are sold separately. The company recommends 1 pack of leveling shims for every 60 panels of Dricore subfloors.
    • Sweep, mop, and remove debris – This is a simple, yet necessary, step for installing Dricore. 
    • Acclimate your Dricore subfloors – Remove them from the box and pile them up in a safe spot in your basement.
    • Prepare flooring spaces – Proper expansion space is essential to Dricore installation. Use 1/4-inch flooring spacers for existing walls, or 1-inch spacers for foundation walls if you’re framing on top of the subfloor. 

    You might need to cut the subfloors to fit irregular spaces, so prepare a circular saw or jigsaw. 

    Related: Dricore vs Dry Barrier Comparison

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    The best way to check if you did a good job installing Dricore subfloors is by bouncing around the newly installed subfloors and testing for movement. 

    How To Care And Maintain Dricore Subfloor?

    Dricore uses an engineered wood core, which is very resilient to peeling, warping, or splitting, even if the wood core expands. The underside may get wet, but since that side uses water-resistant polyethylene, it’s supposed to serve as a barrier and not let water or moisture from going up the top flooring. 

    There is no maintenance needed since you’ll be placing your preferred flooring on top of the Dricore subfloors. If the subfloors get destroyed, they are backed with a 25 year limited warranty. 

    So, Is Dricore Worth Your Investment?

    Dricore is marketed for the DIY homebuilder. Installation is a breeze and doesn’t require special tools. 

    Compared to plywood, the original Dricore subfloors win in reducing moisture absorption. They also come cheaper than direct competitors like Tyroc, Barricade, Andry, and Warmboard. However, if you compare Dricore R+ to these products, Dricore R+ wins hands-down in providing thermal break and moisture protection, it just comes at a higher price. 

    Read also: Dricore vs Platon: Which Subfloor is the Best?

    Get a Flooring Installation Estimate From Local Experts
    Typical Cost: $6 – $24 per sq foot
    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Matt Greenfield

    Matt Greenfield

    Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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    Roxanne Downer


    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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