Sign In to join the community | Help


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


Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2011-09-25T17:55:11+0000  by costellofam costellofam

I am sorry I am late to this post but I completly do not agree.  Real hardwood can be put town on concrete, even below grade if done properly.

Aa a sales rep for we have on many occasions done this and it works.  The owner of the company even did it below grade in his own home over 5 years ago and today still looks great.


Here is the trick


First of all you need to lay out a 3-5 mil plastic vapor barrier on the floor.  Bring is up the walls so you can trim it when done.

Secondly take 7/16 plywood or osb and lay it tight across the floor.  This can be attached pretty much any way you want.

Then take another layer of the same osb or ply and run it the other direction so the seams do not line up.  I would actually either 45 the second layer or cut the first strip in 2 foot lengths so the seams can not ever match up and then go to full panels.

After that you have a great floating subfloor that you can nail to.  I personaly like the OSD method with the sealed side down.  This give you yet another layer of barrier.


If you do this right you should turn out very happy with your floors.

Posted 2012-08-10T17:24:27+0000  by thenry

Hey there thenry,


Thanks for joining us on the community!~


Much appreciated with the feedback, but I think we may have you a bit confused. Neither myself, nor Joe or George would disagree with you that it certainly can be done, in fact we've even gone into the how-to of laying it on concrete, like in Joe's topic: How to install solid hardwood flooring over concrete.


The thing that they are trying to get at though is that it's not something any of us would recommend to the average homeowner or DIY'er, simply because of all the extra steps you have to go through to properly do it. And also, the problem that few, if any, manufacturers will warranty their products below grade.


Thank you for the input though. Hopefully you can help some of our other users on here with your knowledge in the future. = )

Posted 2012-08-10T17:55:19+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Hello and welcome to the How-to-Community.


Henry your reclaimed Picklewood looks really interesting...I can just imagine how nice would it look installed.


Respectfully, I’d like to comment on the installation method you've mentioned in your post.


You're correct, continuous plastic sheeting laid over basement concrete slab will certainly minimize the moisture from the slab bellow to the acceptable moisture levels for solid hardwood flooring to be installed.


However placing plastic sheeting DIRECTLY on to the basement slabs it’s really not a best practice. Further, this can create a moisture trap in between plastic and slab bellow.


This moisture trap can accumulate to the point where it condensates, with the conditioning of the space, resulting in a friendly mold and mildew environment.


This is especially the case with older basement slabs that were poured without vapor barrier bellow the slab.


Nowadays building codes are stricter and require plastic sheathing to be placed bellow the slab to minimize moisture and in some instances Radon penetration from soil bellow.


Delta (Cossela-Dorken)makes a dimpled plastic membrane (Delta-FL) that when installed with dimples down creates an air gap in between slab and the vapor barrier (membrane). The air-gap created by DELTA®-FL allows the water vapor pressure above and below the concrete slab to equalize, while preventing the moisture to migrate further inwards.



There's also another product called Prova Flor that works on a similar principle..


Hope this helps,




Posted 2012-08-14T20:37:16+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Is that good to install elastilon underlayment for solid wood on the top of concrete slab?

Posted 2012-12-15T22:04:10+0000  by sisbio

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

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 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

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 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

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
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question