How to Install Wood Flooring Over a Concrete Slab
LESLIE: Now we’re going to welcome Albert from Oregon to The Money Pit who has a flooring question.
Albert, what are you working on?
ALBERT: Hi there. We’re currently going through a remodel of our home and we have the concrete slab or foundation on our home, single-level. But my wife wants to get rid of the linoleum and put in a wood floor in the dining room and kitchen area. So my question is, there’s new adhesives that I’ve heard about out there but putting a wood floor down, there’s really not much anchoring other than the glues. What would be the best type of wood flooring to put down on that?
LESLIE: Well, because you have a concrete foundation and it’s all right on top of that foundation, you don’t actually want to go with a real hardwood floor. Because the concrete is hydroscopic – is that the word, Tom? Hydroscopic?
TOM: Yeah, it’s very absorbent.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s very absorbent and it’s going to take that water and any sort of moisture that comes in from the ground is going to get right to that hard wood. But you can go with a laminate floor and you can go with an engineered hardwood.
ALBERT: So the – and the engineered floors are slightly different than the laminates?
LESLIE: Well, an engineered hardwood is – you’ve seen sheets of plywood, right?
LESLIE: Well, it’s very similar to a sheet of plywood in that it has many layers and then the top layer is an actual wood veneer. So it looks like real wood but it’s sturdy and withstands any sort of moisture. And a laminate floor is actually plastic that’s made to look like wood planking and that usually just gets some sort of a – it’s like a foam sheeting. It’s like an underlayment and you can put that right on top of the concrete slab.
TOM: And Albert, remember that when you buy the engineered hardwood floor, it comes in varying levels of durability. If you get the commercial grade, it’s incredibly durable and much more durable than, say, a residential grade. So if you had areas where you thought you were going to have a lot of wear and tear, maybe people are going to be grinding dirt on it, you might want to lean towards a commercial grade over a residential grade.
ALBERT: Understood. That’s great. I’m having a contractor doing it and at this point I was thinking that the contractor, he’d be able to have this. Any particular brands you would recommend?
TOM: Not particularly. But just make sure that when you look at the hardwood, that you understand that you’re looking at engineered which is the laminated product. Looks like plywood where you have layers that go in different directions. Don’t choose solid hardwood because that’s just going to buckle when you put it in a concrete area.
LESLIE: Albert, when you’re laying down the new floor, make sure you take out any appliances that might get jammed in there if you put the new floor up to it; like the dishwasher. So pull it out, lay your new floor, put that under and make sure you still have room to get it in and out.
ALBERT: OK, great. Good advice. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Albert. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.