How to install wooden flooring on concrete
Installing wooden flooring on concrete can be a challenging project and requires careful preparation. Therefore, it’s important to understand what needs to be done before attempting to install the flooring. This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about preparation before installing wooden flooring on concrete:
- What type of concrete is suitable for installing wooden flooring?
- What type of subfloor should be used for wooden flooring?
- How should the concrete be prepared before installing wooden flooring?
- What type of adhesive should be used to install wooden flooring on concrete?
Is the concrete surface level?
Before deciding to install wooden flooring on a concrete surface, you need to take some time to inspect the existing floor. While many concrete floors are extremely solid and level, others might have some minor irregularities or bumps that can impact the wooden planks’ ability to lie evenly and flatly on the surface. It is important for the surface to be as level as possible for your new floor to not only look good, but also last a long time.
Minor imperfections in sloped areas can be corrected with self-leveling concrete products available at most hardware stores. If you’re installing hardwood floors over slab-on-grade or radiant heated concrete, leveling compound should be used between the subfloor and your hardwood planks instead of directly on top of the concrete, which can cause warping and cupping in conjunction with moisture trapped between layers.
In addition, check for any low spots that could retain standing water when mopping or washing your floors in the future. You will want to fill those in before laying down your wood planks, otherwise they will prevent your new floor from being completely flush with the underlying surface.
Finally, it would also be helpful to use a spirit level when assessing whether or not your underlying surface is level as this will show any inconsistencies from one side of the room to another.
Should the concrete be tested for moisture?
Yes, the concrete substrate should be tested for the presence of moisture before laying wooden flooring on it. Testing for moisture is essential to ensure that your wooden floors do not become damaged by wet conditions or suffer from expansion or contraction due to changes in temperature and humidity levels.
The most common type of moisture testing for wooden flooring installations on concrete is called a ‘calcium chloride test’. During this test, you will need to cut small square shapes (generally 6 to 8 inches) into the surface at various points and place calcium chloride tablets in each hole. The tablets will absorb any moisture present in the concrete, allowing you to assess how much moisture may be present. If the test results indicate a high level of moisture present (over 4 pounds/ 1000 sq ft/24 hours), you may need to consider an alternate installation method such as glue-down flooring or a sealed wood subfloor system.
The calcium chloride test is not suitable for use on new concrete substrates, as these tend to have abundant amounts of unevaporated water vapor. In this case, further investigation with thermohygrometers and additional tests such as EMF meters or electric resistance tests are needed in order to accurately measure and assess the amount of subsurface moisture present before installation can begin safely.
What type of underlayment should be used?
When installing wood flooring on concrete, it is important to pick the right type of underlayment. Underlayment helps absorb unevenness in your base, protect the wooden floor, and help deaden sound.
The most commonly used underlayment is foam padding, but other types of padding may also be a good option and are often worth considering.
- Foam padding typically comes in rolls of various widths and thicknesses which allows you to select the appropriate size for your space. It creates a soft cushioning between the wooden floor boards and the concrete surface below. Be sure to install the foam padding with its adhesive backing or use staples to hold it in place if necessary. Some also use expandable polyurethane sprayed into place for extra protection against moisture or movement within the subfloor.
- Another popular underlayment is cork which not only absorbs sound but also reduces foot traffic noise on an upper level of a house due to its elastic nature. As with foam padding, be sure to install this type of flooring along with staples or adhesive backing.
- This can provide additional support and stability over stiffer materials like concrete or plywood subfloors.
- Finally, another option is hardboard underlayment which is engineered from wood fibers combined with waxes or resins and pressed into panels that are designed for low-impact shear strength suitable for laying floors over concrete surfaces. Hardboard must be cut down into sections (to fit your room) then nailed or stapled onto the existing slab before installation begins for maximal durability and performance results!
When installing wooden flooring on concrete, there are some important steps to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation. In this section, we will be covering some of the most commonly asked questions on how to install wooden flooring on concrete.
We will go over the different tools and materials needed, the steps to take, and any potential problems that may arise:
- Tools and materials needed
- Steps to take
- Potential problems that may arise
What tools are needed for installation?
Installing wooden flooring on concrete requires some special tools and materials. To ensure that the job is done properly, you should have the following items on hand:
- Pry bar
- Utility knife
- Chalk line or straight edge
- Wooden trowel
- Vacuum cleaner or broom
- 6D finish nails
- Circular saw (if cutting boards)
- Nail set
- Screw gun and screws (3” and 2”)
- Moisture barrier (for dampness in subfloor)
- Wood adhesive or construction adhesive (green color recommended)
- Flooring felt underlayment for noise control
- White craft glue for installing parquet tiles
- Appropriate length spacers for wider planks/tiles
How do I cut the planks to fit?
When you’re installing wooden flooring on concrete, it’s essential to ensure that the planks fit perfectly. To do this, start by measuring the length and width of the room and finding the center point from each wall. The area nearest to the center of each wall will have either a half-plank on one side or a full plank on both sides.
Using a handsaw, miter saw, table saw or circular saw, cut the planks to fit snugly along all four walls. If your room is not perfectly rectangular there are other customized cutting tricks for making sure everything fits together snugly; however, if you don’t feel comfortable attempting these yourself it is always best to enlist a professional contractor who specializes in woodworking and floor installation. When cutting planks around any fixture, be sure to measure twice before making final cuts.
Once cuts are complete, assemble boards following manufacturer’s instructions and nail them down with quality nails suitable for use in concrete subfloors. As an additional safety measure add thin strips of wood as spacers between boards during assembly prior to nailing so that boards can easily expand or contract as temperatures change within the home.
What type of adhesive should be used?
When installing wooden flooring on concrete, it is important to choose the right type of adhesive to secure the flooring boards in place. A strong bonding adhesive should be used, such as a solvent-free rubber adhesives that are designed specifically for use with wooden flooring. These products provide superior bonding and allow for optimization in terms of contact area between the substrate and the adhesive, load-bearing capacity and ease of installation.
Additionally, some oil-based adhesives may contain harmful solvents that could damage floors or cause unpleasant odors. It is recommended to check product labels or ask an expert flooring expert if you have any doubts or questions before purchasing an adhesive product.
Finishing your newly installed wooden flooring on concrete is a great way to ensure that it will last for many years. Finishing your flooring will help protect it from wear and tear, limit water damage, and give you a beautiful, finished look.
Here, we’ll discuss some of the frequently asked questions about finishing your wooden flooring on concrete:
Should the planks be sealed?
Once you have installed the wooden planks over the concrete, it is important to seal them in order to create a moisture barrier and protect your flooring. Sealing the planks will help to prevent water damage, reduce staining from any spills, and ensure that your flooring lasts for many years.
It is best to use a polyurethane sealant for all unfinished or previously finished wood floors, as it will create a protective layer that firmly adheres to the surface of the planks and prevents moisture from seeping into them. If you already have a pre-finished floor, you may need to apply additional coats of polyurethane sealant to ensure full coverage of all joints and seams.
When selecting a sealant for your wooden flooring, look for one that is primarily composed of urethane or polyacrylic resins so that it provides maximum protection with minimal odor. Additionally, some sealants may contain tracing elements such as mildewcide compounds that provide an extra layer of defense against mold and molds in damp environments.
How do I clean and maintain the floor?
Maintaining an attractive and long-lasting wooden floor on concrete requires regular cleanings and periodic refinishing. To keep the floor in its best condition, it is important to periodically sweep, vacuum, or mop it to remove any dirt or grime buildup. Avoid using overly wet mopping techniques that can lead to swelling of the wood planks.
Minor scratches and self-leveling issues can be touched up with a coat of polyurethane or other finish approved by the manufacturer of your flooring product. For more comprehensive refinishing needs, you should seek professional assistance, as heavier sanding may be needed.
To protect your wooden floor from furniture scuff marks and wear and tear, consider providing
- felt pads
at heavy traffic areas such as entrances and kitchen workstations. This will also benefit from having appropriate area rugs that you can spot clean as needed with a mild soap solution.
Are there any special considerations for high traffic areas?
When installing wooden flooring in high traffic areas such as an entryway, commercial hallway, fitness room, kitchen or dining room, it is important to pay extra attention to the quality of the subfloor and ensure that the concrete is properly sealed. High-traffic areas may require additional layers of underlayment to reduce noise and prevent wear over time.
In addition, you should use thick wooden boards that are close together so they can bear more weight. If possible, have a professional inspect the subfloor and provide an opinion on the installation plan. For large installations and intricate patterns like borders or parquet floors, get it done professionally if possible.
Finally and most importantly, make sure you pay attention to expansion gaps between walls and floors as these are especially important in high traffic areas where moisture levels can be unpredictable. Proper expansion gaps also allow for expansion and contraction of wood planks due to environmental fluctuations in temperature or humidity levels.