This article is divided into three sections. Be sure to also read What You Need To Understand Before Deciding To Use Hardwood Flooring Over A Concrete Slab. Then read Installing Solid Hardwood Floor Over A Concrete Slab.
Engineered hardwood flooring has become more popular with homeowners because of the desire to use hardwood flooring in a variety of different rooms where solid wood flooring is not recommended. Engineered wood flooring is much more dimensionally stable than solid wood flooring, which means it will not expand and contract as much as solid wood flooring will with variations in humidity and moisture. This makes engineered wood flooring a better choice for installing over a dry concrete slab.
Engineered wood flooring can be glued or floated over the top of a fully-cured concrete slab. The slab needs to ne clean, dry and be extremely flat as mentioned earlier. But it is not necessary to first install plywood or a sleeper sub-floor system before installing the engineered wood planks. Although, you could install a sub-floor system first if preferred.
Like solid wood flooring, be sure to acclimate the engineered wood flooring before installation. This requires all the flooring to be in the room for 2-3 days prior to installation to adjust the moisture content in the wood planks to be approximately the same as the room. The boxes of flooring need to be opened and spread out to allow all planks to acclimate.
Glue-down installation requires a premium urethane or acrylic wood adhesive be properly troweled over the concrete slab and the engineered wood planks laid into the adhesive and locked together at their tongue and groove joints. Today, the recommended wood adhesives are much more environmentally friendly, but are not cheap and take considerable amount of time to trowel, which will add to the overall labor costs.
Many hardwood flooring manufacturers (but not all) allow their engineered wood floors to be floating over the top of a fully cured concrete slab. A heavy polyurethane moisture barrier is laid and sealed on top of the concrete slab first. Then special glue is applied at the tongue and groove plank joints to lock them together. No nails or staples are used so the floor literally floats of the top of the concrete slab.
Be sure to read the manufacturerâ€™s recommended installation guidelines before going ahead with the purchase and installation of your hardwood flooring over a concrete slab. Realize too that most hardwood flooring installation failures over concrete slabs are not normally covered by the manufacturerâ€™s warranties. That is an installers problem so be sure you checkout the reputation of the installer before proceeding with the flooring project.
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