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Installing Hardwood Floor over Concrete

I have always loved hardwood floors and would like to have one in my dining room.  I finally convinced my husband to install this, but I can't seem to find the information on how to install this over cement.  A list of products needed and a simple how to guide would be wonderful. 

We have installed slate, ceramic, a paver patio and a fence on our own, we have the time and inclination, I just want to do it right the first time.

Thanks for the help


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Posted 2011-09-25T17:55:11+0000  by costellofam costellofam

You can absolutely install a wood floor over concrete if you fulfill 2 preparation steps:


1/ Install a flexible water membrane .. must spread 2 coats that cross each other.

Sold at home depot.


2/ Then instal (Glue / Nail) a wood based underlayment 4 by 8 panels (eg. 4 mm Luan wood is the minimum or 1/2 inch PT or OSB to comply to code possibly / Pressure Treated is bad for your health if good for your floor ... cannot be in contact with human habitat.) must be anchored/glued to the concrete slab on top of the waterproof membrane.

Available at home depot


basically you transform you slab into a beam foundation with 4 by 8 PT or OSB


FYI: Float the floor if too uneven ...

Home depot: self leveling.


Make sense.  It is not because someone does not know that it cannot be done.  Just find those we know and who did it. 


If you do not want to glue it, then take 3/4 inch thick plywood (thicker to allow nail with tongue and groove) and nail your wood floor to it.  FYI: Across the panels rather than parrallell.


It is a very simple thing to do.  Just the nail fun for wood floor is expansive but you can rent for a couple of days.


Of course a contractor will charge you a fortune to get it done ... but nowadays noone works a day work for less than $500.  Gas and lunch are expansive nowadays! 


Et Voila:

Done it!


Anything Else.?





Best Answer

Posted 2011-09-27T17:10:01+0000  by lucf

No matter what type of flooring you want to use, always install it per the manufacturer's instructions.


This is exactly like the engineered floors vs. click-lock floating systems discussed earlier.


If you decide to glue a floating floor, just like engineered that wasn't rated for it, you'll be likely voiding your warranty and having tremendous issues further down the road...since that floor wasn't made to be adhered down.


I repeat DO NOT glue down a floor unless the manufacturer specifically states you can.


As for the hollow sounds underfoot of the click-lock, if you install it correctly and use high quality planks/underlayment, that 'clicky' sound shouldn't be experienced versus using more inferior products (thin planks/cheap underlayment).


Quarter round molding and transition pieces help lock in the planks, allowing it to float firmly over the underlayment/subfloor.


Let me know what flooring you decide to use, and I'm glad this information has assisted you.





Posted 2014-01-25T18:36:16+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Thanks for the detailed response.


At a local home improvement store, I was recently able to compare a floating floor vs. a glue-down floor, by walking on each of their displays.


The floating floor sounded, and felt, hollow and 'clicky', while the glue-down felt solid and quiet.


Would gluing directly to concrete offer a quiet installation?



Posted 2014-01-25T18:22:20+0000  by DrSpencer

You are quite welcome.


I find it a bit strange that the HOA calls for a sound deadening underlayment over a concrete subfloor; the properties of it are so dense that unless it is thin floors....almost any foot traffic below won't hear it.


If they are really sticklers for that kind of underlayment as you say, I'd opt for real wood click-lock flooring in lieu of glue down engineered flooring.

click-lock wood flooring


As the diagram shows, it installs just like laminate, except it is real wood. As long as you install it correctly over the sound deadening underlayment of your choice, you won't see any difference between it, engineered or even real wood solid hardwood flooring.


This is the only viable option (click-lock floating) I'd advise over an underlayment. If you chose to glue engineered planks directly to the underlayment, it could void the warranty, as the glue needs a solid/non-flexible surface to firmly attach to.


With that said, you can get a real wood floor, it just needs to be one that would be floating. It's actually easier to install it versus a glue down method and still looks just as good.  In fact, its hard to tell any floating or glue down wood floor once its installed correctly.


If you choose to glue any engineered flooring directly over an underlayment, and the manufacturer doesn't recommend it, you'll have more problems that what it is worth.


That's not to say it could work; but since there are so many brands and styles of engineered flooring, its best to research the floor first to make sure if it can or can't be done.


Let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-01-25T17:58:35+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hi Joseph-I have a concrete subfloor (not gypcrete).


I understand that it is commonly accepted to simply glue engineered hardwood directly to a level concrete subfloor. But what if my HOA requires a sound deadening underlay?


Can I glue a cork underlay to the concrete subfloor, then glue engineered wood over that?


Gluing, as opposed to floating, is more quiet, isn't it?


Thanks, once more.

Posted 2014-01-25T17:14:03+0000  by DrSpencer

Hey again DrSpencer,


I hope that laminate underlayment answer I gave to your previous question assisted you.


As long as the manufacturer states that your engineered flooring can be glued down directly to the subfloor, then you never have to use an underlayment.


Since there are so many makers and styles of engineered and click-lock real wood floors out there, the best way to find out how it is installed is by referring directly to the manufacturer.


If the floor calls for it to be glued down, make sure you use a urethane-based adhesive to ensure that the planks are firmly secured.


What type of floor do you specifically have?


Let me know,  if you have any further questions, keep us updated here.






Posted 2014-01-25T16:34:03+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

When gluing engineered wood flooring to a concrete subfloor, do I need to use an underlayment, or just glue directly to the concrete?


Posted 2014-01-24T21:29:13+0000  by DrSpencer

Hey MCL,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


It honestly wouldn't matter what finish the slab will be, as long as it is in a clean, level, and properly installed state.


The tack strips are just a few concrete nails, so you don't have to worry so much with that. As for the glue, you'd first need to make sure the engineered flooring you choose can be glued down. Some float, thereby eliminating any adhesive.


Make sure the glue (if it is needed) is urethane-based. This creates a strong bond, and also doubles as a moisture barrier for the planks if it is installed correctly.


So in conclusion, you can do a light broom finish if you want. If it costs more, don't do it, since it really will be irrelevant to the new floors you'll install over it.


Let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-01-11T15:08:41+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

New question;


I am pouring a slab soon and will install carpet and eng flrg over it.  I am thinking about finishing slab with light broom finish instead of slick finish to help glue adhesion for eng flr and carpet tack strips.  Y'all see any concerns??? 

Posted 2014-01-10T13:52:01+0000  by MCL

Hey sisbio,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


Elastilon  Strong Self Adhesive Installation Membrane is a great item to use for installing hardwood floors over concrete.


I did a post earlier this year regarding this great product. As I showed in the post, Elastilon CAN be placed directly over concrete, in any room or level of your home!


As long as your existing concrete slab subfloor is clean, level and free of debris you can install your new wood floors using this great underlayment.


If there are any further comments or questions you have regarding your floor install, please let us know. 


Hope to hear from you again,





Posted 2012-12-22T16:47:33+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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