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
I. Solid wood over concrete
A) Direct glue down – requires boards with no crook or bow, not over 6” wide
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
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
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!
One of the many myths about wood floors is that they are difficult to clean and maintain. That may have been true long ago, but now, with the high quality finishes available, wood floor upkeep is quite simple. In fact, it is no more laborious than cleaning any other type of flooring surface. Many people even claim maintaining a wood floor is much easier and more trouble-free. I personally feel wood is the easiest flooring to maintain.
It is a good practice to sweep and dust your floor on a regular basis. Keeping dirt off the floors helps preserve the finish. The manufacturer of your finish can make a recommendation as to which cleaners will work best and not leave a contaminating residue on your floor. Goodwin is also happy to help you research and select the brand and option best for you.
According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), regular sweeping or dust mopping is generally sufficient to maintain polyurethane and surface finishes. Be sure to never wax a surface finish floor or use vinyl or tile floor care products. You may also use cleaners recommended by the manufacturer.
NWFA suggests wax and penetrating-stain finishes be maintained the same way. If the manufacturer recommends, you may also use a buffer to maintain the shine.
If the manufacturer recommends, you may be able to use a dampened mop to maintain some surface-finished floors if you feel it is needed. The NWFA discourages damp-mopping a waxed floor. Remember, excess moisture can cause damage. If you should spill something on your floor, wipe it up immediately with a damp cloth and clean with a recommended cleaning product.
And, that is pretty much it. Keeping your floors clean and shiny is really that easy! I agree cleaning wood floors was more difficult back in the days prior to the high-end finishes we have today. Goodwin recommends and uses only premium finishes on all of our wood. And, our friendly experts are always available to answer any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!
Pros and Cons of Choosing This Rustic OptionGoodwin receives numerous requests for distressed flooring. We achieve this more “rustic” look by using various staining, scraping and contouring techniques on our already beautifully aged antique woods. Some companies scrape newer woods to achieve this look, but Goodwin guarantees all of our solid flooring is at least 200-500 years old.
Goodwin’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew St. James, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a distressed wood floor:
- A well-made, precisely handcrafted distressed wood floor adds ambiance to any room of the house.
- Distressed products are handcrafted to achieve a variety of interesting looks.
- A lower grade of wood can be used, translating to some cost savings.
- Genuine antique products (such as the wood used in Goodwin’s distressed flooring) possess a quality that is just not obtainable with newer wood products.
Does the resilience of Heart Pine stand up to the normal wear and tear of pets? Yes it does! Let’s look at the Janka hardness scale (see our earlier post) for assurance. The Janka scale for Hard Maple (commonly used for basketball courts) is 1450. When people speak of pine flooring not being suitable for pets, they are referring to White Pine, which has a Janka scale rating of 380.
Heart Pine registers 1220 on the Janka hardness scale, which is equivalent to Red Oak and almost commensurate to basketball court strength. Contrary to popular belief, true Heart Pine flooring is actually harder than Cherry, Teak and Walnut. The key here is “true” – you definitely want to make sure the Heart Pine your are considering is “all heart”.
Many floor re-finishers also believe the type of finish is important. Try to avoid hard shell coatings with pets in the home. This type of finish is more likely to show marks.
The following tips have links if you want more detail. Or call and talk with our in-house technical expert, Andrew St. James.
Begin with a few choices:
· Do you want a unique floor with a story?
· Light, medium or dark? Consistent or color variation?
· Pin stripes, bold arches or subtle graining?
· Single or random widths?
· ‘Character’, pristine or in between?
· How about knots or do you want ‘clear’?
Maybe you just want to see a few of these characteristics in River Recovered Heart Pine… Legacy Heart Pine… River Recovered Heart Cypress… or Sustainably Harvested Woods.
Antique Heart Pine is the most frequently specified reclaimed wood.’Virgin growth’ heart pine, the ‘wood that built America’. is all heartwood, very hard and comes in many grades.
2. Which finish should you use on reclaimed wood?
The finish you choose can dramatically change the look of your floor. While most reclaimed wood is sanded and finished smooth to the touch, you can have a distressed floor. Distressing simulates old, old floors or barn siding and is usually done on milling machines, though it can also be done onsite by craftsmen.
How you want to maintain your wood floor determines if you want polyurethane that requires a professional to repair or if you want an oil finish that you can refresh when scratches occur. The oil finishes are very natural and low sheen; however, they can be made to have degrees of shine. They are especially appropriate for heavy traffic and come with easy maintenance products.
3. Would solid or engineered reclaimed wood work best for you?
Engineered wood is a growing market. Goodwin began engineered flooring to help conserve the rare River Recovered® wood. While solid wood floor may remain the ‘gold standard’ for those who can accommodate its greater demands, now you can have ‘USA made’ engineered flooring that looks and lasts like solid and is easier to fit into the construction cycle.
4. Not all reclaimed wood is equal…
To consistently manufacture a well made reclaimed wood floor that is properly kiln-dried, precisely milled, graded to established standards and backed by in-house technical expertise requires a considerable investment. Reclaimed wood can be a confusing niche. You may want to know some terminology when specifying antique heart pine. Building design professionals may want our free continuing education course on Architectural and Design Uses of Reclaimed Wood.
5. Installation tips to help your reclaimed wood perform well for a lifetime and beyond.
Once you have chosen your floor, what about installation? How to select a wood floor professional, even tips on existing subfloors are on our blogs. It is possible to get any stair parts or millwork in the same grade as your floor.
Engineered floor installation, when glued to concrete, needs to have an elastomeric type adhesive made for engineered wood. We generally suggest a vapor retarder over the slab. Even if the slab is dry now a seal coat ensures against future leaks or storms.
Just a few of the important tips to help ensure your solid wood floor installation:
1. The sub floor needs to be flat and level to within 3/16” over 10 feet for nail down or flat within 1/8” over 6 feet for glue down installation.
2. The moisture content of the wood floor and the sub-floor need to match the expected indoor temperature and relative humidity once the building has been occupied. Be sure to use a pin type moisture meter on dense reclaimed wood.
3. Enough ‘cleats’ for nail down jobs will help prevent the floor from moving too much. You should nail a 6” inch wide floor every 4”, an 8” inch wide floor every 3”, etc.
Call 800-336-3118 anytime we can help with your reclaimed wood questions.