You love the aesthetics and durability of hardwood flooring, but you face a unique installation challenge: you’re building over a concrete subfloor.

If you choose the wrong wood flooring product for your job, you could create conditions for moisture problems, mold, warping, and ultimately structural damage. In general, engineered hardwoods and Pre-finished hard wood floors are best, particularly if you’re building on concrete below ground level.

If the flooring surface is relatively smooth (e.g. a finished basement) you can glue engineered hardwood to the floor. If the concrete is somewhat uneven, you could try to smooth it out – a potentially expensive proposition – or install a floating pre-finished hardwood floor.

Don’t underestimate the potential of the concrete to change or warp due to humidity and other environmental conditions. Even an earthquake can shake things up: here in Northern California, we live in and around fault lines, after all. To that end, err on the side of using a more flexible, accommodating flooring solution than you might normally use.

If you’re building above ground or on the ground level, you have  more flexibility. The cheap and simple way to go is to use an engineered hardwood solution, like we discussed above. Alternatively, you can put in a plywood sub-floor and then build a solid hardwood on top of that. That second solution might look better, but it’s more time consuming and potentially more costly. When you add the plywood on top of the concrete, you also need to secure the plywood which can add complexity and difficulty to the project.

Whether you’re redoing a basement, remodeling a backyard concrete porch, or reappraising your South Bay Area home’s entire floor situation, you may benefit from discussing your project with an experienced flooring contractor. After all, even if you make simple, seemingly subtle errors in terms of the material you select, the installation tools you use, and the finishing products you use, the cost could be substantial and annoying. You do not want a “December surprise” – a rash of mold and mildew building up underneath plywood you recently glued down.

To that end, get your flooring project on track, on spec, and on budget by talking to the team here at Elegant Floors today. Give us a call at 650-961-1339.

Installing Hardwood Flooring Over Concrete: A Simple Guide