Many people love hardwood floors, but often feel they cannot put down an engineered or laminate wood floor on a concrete subfloor. However, this isn’t the case. With professional installation, natural hardwood floors can be installed on top of a concrete subfloor. When installing hardwood floors over concrete, there are a few additional steps and considerations to ensure the wood’s longevity. Mike’s Custom Flooring will share how to properly install hardwood floors over concrete subfloor.
How to Install Engineered & Other Wood Flooring on Concrete
Step 1. Removing Original Flooring – When installing hardwood floors over concrete you will need to remove all existing materials. Some people will leave laminate or tile intact and attempt to install hardwood floors over the top. This is a big mistake. It is important to have the sub floor exposed and properly prepped.
Step 2. Moisture Protection for New Hardwood Floors – When installing hardwood on top of concrete, installers will use a floating, glue down, or nail installation method. Therefore, it is essential to add a moisture barrier. A moisture barrier comes in different forms such as a liquid paint you apply on the concrete, or a plastic or silicone sheet material. Which method used varies by installer. However, it is essential to have the moisture barrier installed to protect the hardwood. It is recommended to have a professional apply the moisture barrier to ensure the longevity of the flooring. When wood is exposed to moisture, the wood can expands and swell to the point it can cause crowning. When the wood contracts, it can cause planks to separate leaving behind gaps. Moisture can even be trapped underneath the wood which can cause the wood to develop mold, mildew and wood rot. Damp wood can even draw termites to the site where they will begin chewing away at the damp wood flooring.
Step 3. Installing Hardwood Floors – Once the subfloor has been properly prepped the installer can begin laying down the wood floors. Some of the most preferred methods of installation on top of concrete is interlocking floating wood floors or glue down. For nail down method, it will require additional steps. The nails will need a surface to nail down into. Often plywood and planks are installed on top of the concrete to provide a surface for the hardwood floorboards to be nail into. Again, when installing over concrete it is recommended to seek a professional installer to ensure each step gets done correctly.
Best Hardwood Floor Species to Install Over Concrete Slab
There are a number of types of hardwood or species of woods. Each vary on their tolerance to moisture. It is recommended that you choose a wood species that is more tolerant to moisture as concrete can absorb and hold moisture for long periods of times. The moisture barrier can greatly protect the wood, but it still is recommended to seek the right species. Most people will recommend using an engineered wood floor for concrete subfloors. However, don’t feel limited to engineered woods. There are many hardwood species that are also great candidates.