Can I Install Wood Flooring Over Concrete?

One of the most common questions we receive from both homeowners and professionals alike is if wood flooring can be installed over concrete. The answer is, YES! In fact, many homes are built on a concrete slab rather than a crawl space. So, if you want wood floors and are dealing with concrete, don’t worry. Here’s how to manage the job with both solid wood and engineered flooring:

Methods to Install Wood Floor Over Concrete
by Andrew St. James, COO, Goodwin Company

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I. Solid wood over concrete

A) Direct glue down – requires boards with no crook or bow, not over 6” wide
a. Full spread
i. Over sealed concrete, compare or refer to Bostik Best over MVP trowel on
ii. Multifunction adhesive, Bostik Ultra SingleStep
iii. Adhesive and Bone Dry

b. Sika type partial glue for sound reduction – same requirement as full spread

B) Nail to plywood installed over concrete – most common method

a. Mechanically fastened plywood over vapor retarder (PE, PE + asphalt, Fortiflash)
b. Float 16” strips of plywood over vapor retarder (NWFA1 Ch 6)
c. Float double plywood fastened together over vapor retarder (NWFA1 Ch 6)
d. Glue down plywood to concrete

C) Sleepers

a. Sleepers glued to concrete (NWFA1 Appendix I) not for all widths and thicknesses
b. Sleepers over rubber pads for dance floors or sports floors

D) Plywood over sleepers for plank or shorts
II. Engineered

A) Direct glue down – most common, if concrete is sealed and floor is well made with water resistant backer and quality glues will dry out fine if dried out relatively quickly

B) Float over pad – disadvantage if leak or floor occurs

C) Install plywood and nail – will only dry out after leak if second story or higher

D) Self Adhesive sheets – no known NWFA sanction

E) Over sheet vinyl – more common in some areas, no known NWFA sanction

1 NWFA, National Wood Flooring Association Installation Guidelines, Call for further references

Goodwin is happy to work with you and provide technical expertise and guidance. For more information, feel free to give us a call!

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