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Can Solid Wood Flooring Be Installed On Concrete

Put On A Vapor Barrier

Gluing down prefinished solid hardwood flooring directly over concrete slab

Now here comes a step that you must not skip. Note that concrete subfloor can become damp as moisture may travel from high-humidity areas to low-humidity areas. Now if you dont put a moisture barrier on the concrete, the moisture from below would travel up to the hardwood flooring damaging the planks and the bondage between them.

Use a trowel at a 45-degree angle to apply the vapor barrier all over the concrete. As you apply the layer, level it moderately on the concrete. The rest will be done by itself.

Start from one end of the floor and keep applying while moving back to the doorway. Dont walk on the moisture barrier or apply a double layer. Let the vapor barrier dry and settle on the concrete for 24 hours.

Note that the vapor barrier has an odor. Therefore, keep the room ventilated during the application and settling period.

Installing A Hardwood Floor Over A Concrete Slab

Even if your home was built on a concrete slab, you can still enjoy the beauty and charm of hardwood floors. Experienced professionals pay close attention to managing moisture and minimizing wood floor expansion and contraction when preparing to install hardwood floors on concrete slabs. Here are items you should consider before the job is started.

At or Above GradeWith dry concrete and the right subfloors and vapor retarders, solid hardwood floors can be installed on slabs that are either on-grade or above-grade . Moisture can pose problems for solid hardwood floors below ground level, so engineered wood floors are the best choice there.Protect the Flooring

Wood floors should not be subjected to very wet conditions. Before delivery to the site, the building should be closed-in with outside windows and doors in place. All concrete, masonry and sheet-rock should be completely dry. In warm weather, the building should be wellventilated. In winter, heating should be maintained near occupancy levels at least five days before the flooring is delivered and maintained from that point on.

Test for DrynessNew concrete is heavy with moisture, and it must be a minimum of 30 days old before moisture testing begins. Determining moisture content of both the wood flooring and the subfloor is an important part of quality control in the flooring installation process. Detailed qualitative and quantitative testing methods are provided by the National Wood Flooring Association.


Continue Laying The Rest Of Your Wood Flooring

Once the starter rows are secure, spread 750mm of adhesive along the length of the room for the next row. Place the tongues into the grooves of your planks and press the planks firmly into the adhesive. You should never slide planks through the adhesive as this can push adhesive into the tongue and groove joints.

Use 3M blue masking tape or ratchet clamps to hold planks securely in place as you are installing. Use caution if using a rubber mallet to butt material together because it can burnish or mar the finish.

Its a good idea to test for proper bonding by occasionally lifting a board look for good coverage , then place back it into the adhesive. Be sure to clean any adhesive off the surface of planks before it cures.

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Woods Advantages Are More Than Skin Deep

Wood flooring offers many more advantages than just aesthetic appeal in both homes and commercial settings. It is easy to clean and is significantly more stain-resistant than carpeting. Wood is also strong and durable, and if properly cared for, its hard surface can last for decades. When a wood floor inevitably shows signs of wear from years of regular use, many can simply be refinished rather than replaced entirely. Wood floors also add value to any building, increasing the resale value as much as 10 percent or more.

A wood floor also contributes to better indoor air quality. Unlike carpeting or even the grout lines of a tile floor, wood floors do not trap dust, pollen, particulate matter or other common allergens. Wood floors can even improve acoustics, which is one reason that hardwood gets used frequently in dance or music studios.

Why Are Subfloor Sleepers Bad

28 Amazing Installing Hardwood Floors On Concrete Slab

The detriments of sleeper systems are clear even after you account for the added time and monetary cost. The architecture of the space needs to accommodate the wood subfloor system which can reduce ceiling height. Acoustically, you could accidentally create a drum that echoes underneath the floor. Worse, if the concrete subflooring is not sealed properly or if there is a leak under the floor, the area under the solid hardwood floor could become quite humid, which will result in squeaky warped planks.

In this worst case scenario, the hardwood floor would need to be repaired or replaced at an even higher cost.

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How To Install Hardwood Over Concrete

There are three ways to lay a floor over concrete. You can attach it directly to the concrete or install a subfloor first and then attach the floor to that. The most straightforward method is not to attach it but float the floor on top.

The Hard Way – Nails or Screws

If you plan on attaching the floor directly to concrete , youll need to drill holes through the wood and into the concrete. This requires a heavy hammer drill and a bit the same size as your nail or screw. Here is a video showing the process. Note that in the video they also use glue, which is our next method.

The Messy Way Glue

If you are going to glue your hardwood directly to the concrete, you need to know what youre doing and work fast. You only have 30 minutes before the glue sets and becomes too hard to use. There is no room for error.

Before gluing, youll need to apply a paint on moisture barrier to seal the concrete since you cant use plastic sheeting or an underlayment. Check out this video as Bob Villa watches some pros install solid hardwood to a concrete floor at grade. Gluing floor is not a job for an inexperienced DIYer.

The Easy Way Clips

The best way for any DIYer to install a hardwood floor is to use clips. Easiklip flooring is the only hardwood flooring system that floats and uses clips to hold each board together. It installs very quickly. Watch how the Easiklip system lets a few installers install 860 square feet of floor in only 10 hours.

Do You Need Underlay For Solid Wood Flooring On Concrete

Because you are likely to be fixing your solid wood boards to the subfloor, underlay is not usually used, but there are slatted underlays you can buy for the purpose, with pre-cut slots that allow the floor to be glued directly to the subfloor .

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Does Solid Wood Flooring Need To Be Glued

Solid hardwood floors must be fixed into position by either gluing or nailing down to the subfloor. If you have a concrete subfloor, then you should glue your hardwood down, if you have a wooden subfloor then you can choose either method of installation.

As Background There Are 3 Ways To Install Hardwood Floors :

Can I Install Solid Hardwood Flooring Over Concrete?

engineered hardwoods can be glued )

3. Floatthis is when the hardwood is clicked into each other but is not attached to the floor. The floor is secured via the base molding around the edges. Both laminate and engineered hardwood floors can be floated.

So, if you have a plywood sub-floor, the world is your oyster. You can choose any type of flooring and any type of method .

If you have a concrete -, then you have choices to make

1. You can install either an engineered hardwood floor or a laminate floor on top of cement. Laminate will cost less engineered hardwood will improve the value of your home.

2. If you really want to install a solid hardwood floor, it will cost extra as first you will need to install a 3/4 plywood subfloor. Adding this extra layer will definitely cost you more and add some height. Sometimes, the additional height is not an issue at all. But, if you have low ceilings, you may feel a bit more closed in, and more importantly, you may have issues with your doors. If you have solid wood doors, these can usually be shaved if you have a metal door, you are definitely limited. You also need to consider the height differences vs. the rest of th flooring in your home. Sometimes the height difference is insignificant and other times, it can be a bit of a mess. Usually its easy to put in transitions pieces between levels, but some people just dont like height differences across rooms. .

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Can I Install Hardwood Floors On A Slab

If you want to install a new floor but currently have a concrete slab for flooring, you might be wondering whether its possible to install a hardwood floor. Fortunately, even if your home was built on a concrete slab, you can still choose to put in new hardwood flooring. Using a professional installer will ensure that the job is done correctly. When installing a hardwood floor on a slab, its necessary to carefully manage moisture levels and minimize issues from expanding and contracting. A professional knows just how to do this and can ensure everything is installed correctly and looks incredible.

These are the steps that you and your contractor will need to follow to install hardwood floors over a concrete slab.

Work In Small Sections

Continue with installation and work in small sections this will allow you to reach across the adhesive to install the wood flooring without putting any weight on it. You should never work on top of the flooring when installing with the glue down method, so never lay planks further than you can comfortably reach.

Dont spread more adhesive than can be covered by planks within the time recommendation listed in the adhesives instruction label. Take note of your adhesives drying time so you can plan and lay your wood flooring in sections accordingly.

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Other Plywood Methods Floating Subfloors

Other methods of using 3/4″ solid wood floors on concrete would be a floating subfloor. Yea…really…what’s a floating subfloor you ask? The same moisture barriers are used but with two layers of 1/2 or 5/8″ plywood. Plywood is installed opposite of one another, overlapped at the seams, then stapled or screwed together with shorter fasteners. The preference here is not to puncture the moisture barriers.

Considering the reliability and performance in relation to keeping moisture at bay I did expect this application to gain more prominence, but higher quality 3/4 inch engineered floors have become the reliable choice with lower overall costs and time to complete shorter.

What It All Means For Your Projects Specifications

Floating Wooden Floor On Concrete

What does this mean for the architect, engineer, or specifier working on a commercial building project where wood flooring is to be installed over a concrete floor slab? Simply put, it is imperative that a projects specifications always identify and require the exact concrete moisture test to be performed. This is an easy addition to the projects plans, given that the in-situ RH specification is available for free download at .

Recognize that only the in-situ RH test has been shown to give reliable results that lead to consistent, successful project outcomes. And recognize as well that unless this specific test is spelled out for the general contractor and/or the flooring professional, some in the industry may unwittingly choose to employ another test that may place the project at risk. Therefore, always be very specific about which concrete moisture test you want to be conducted.

For more information about what to do to avoid moisture problems when using wood or concrete, contact Wagner Meters by calling worldwide toll-free at 541-291-5123.

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How To Lay Flooring On A Concrete Subfloor

Originally posted 30th September 2019. Last updated 4th March 2022.

Post Authors
Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

As subfloors go, concrete isnt the easiest to deal with and it can be somewhat difficult to know where to start when laying any type of flooring on concrete. However, concrete is compatible with all floors. So, whether you go for vinyl or wood, here is a handy guide to laying flooring on concrete.

Choose The Best Material

Its essential to choose the best option from the available types of floors for your hardwood installation on a concrete slab. Solid hardwood floors are suitable for installing both at ground level and above ground level, assuming the concrete is dry and that the right subfloor and vapor retarders are used. However, below ground-level spaces can have problems with moisture. For these spaces, it can be better to use engineered wood floors instead. Choosing the right material for your wood floors is an essential first step. They can be installed more successfully if youre smart about it from the start, so work with your contractor to make the right choice.

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A+ Hardwood Floors Knows Proper Flooring Installation Techniques

Hardwood floors can be an excellent addition to any home, adding style and beauty to nearly any room. The natural and organic grains combined with the soft hues of natural wood can instantly create a warm and inviting feeling. If you have a concrete slab main floor or basement, you may be wondering if its possible to install hardwood flooring directly on top of the concrete. The short answer is yes. However, there are some things you will want to consider before making this decision. A+ Hardwood Floors is your local hardwood flooring expert in Denver, CO and we know all there is to know about installing hardwood over concrete. Well help you decide if its the best decision for your home and complete a flawless installation. Please reach out to us today for additional information.

What Is Your Grade Level

Installing Hardwood Floors over Concrete

The grade level is the location of your cement slab. Your slab can be above grade, on grade, or below grade which means above ground, ground level, or basement respectively. Youll need to know which classification you have because it determines the moisture amount and whether its even a good idea to continue with the project. Many manufacturers dont recommend installing hardwood flooring on concrete slabs that are below grade or basement level.

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The Subfloor Under Layer

The best way to achieve hardwood flooring over concrete is by installing ¾ inch thick wood over the concrete. This underlayment will allow you to install your chosen hardwood easier. It is important to note that adding in an underlayer to your flooring will raise the floor about 1-1/2 inches. Be sure to measure accurately so this extra height does not create problems for cabinets or doorways. If this is too much, consider laminated wood flooring instead.

Can You Install Vinyl Flooring Over Tile Carpet Hardwood Or Concrete

By: Author Lindsay Reed

Vinyl is an excellent flooring material, and its also quite versatile, but can you install it over tile, carpet, hardwood, or concrete?

Dealing with pre-existing flooring can be tricky, so many people prefer to lay a new material over the top of the old one to save themselves time and money.

However, you want to ensure that the new flooring material that you put in is suitable for this kind of installation.

You can install vinyl flooring over tile, carpet, hardwood, and concrete. However, you want to ensure that the previous flooring material is in good condition and does not have any major dips, cracks, splits, or uneven surfaces that will sabotage your vinyl flooring installation.

For so many homeowners, vinyl flooring is a go-to option. This is often one of the most affordable, versatile, and easy-to-use materials that you can lay your floor with.

However, one of the key features of vinyl flooring is its installation process.

Many materials require you to dismantle the pre-existing floor before you can begin installing the new one, which can be laborious, time-consuming, and costly, especially if you are dealing with contractors.

On the other hand, vinyl enables you to skip this step and lay down your floor on top of different materials without needing to do any dismantling.

With that being said, it is important that you properly gauge the condition of the pre-existing flooring before you commit to laying down your vinyl.

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Ensuring The Concrete Is Dry

A concrete subfloor must be moisture tested with a concrete floor moisture metre before any hardwood flooring is installed. When testing for moisture, the relative humidity of the screed must be below 6% MC . If using under floor heating within the concrete subfloor, it must have been running for at least seven days before moisture testing to ensure an accurate reading is given.

If the subfloor is an old concrete or screed floor and is not dry then a primer can be used to seal the floor. It must then be re-tested for moisture before hardwood flooring is installed.

If the subfloor is new screed then it is best to let it dry naturally, although there are products available to seal it. These products are not suitable to use with under floor heating so the floor must be dried naturally. To speed up the drying process heating systems and de-humidifiers can be used. However, be careful not to dry the screed out too quickly, otherwise it may crack.

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