If you have a room with a bare concrete slab, you might want to soften it up.
Concrete isn’t the most attractive or comfortable material for a floor. This may become an issue if you are finishing a basement and want to make it cozier.
Wood flooring is a great way to give an organic touch to your home’s floors. Unlike concrete, it has a nice, comfortable step and a warm feel that is great for a living area.
Installing wood flooring over concrete is relatively simple, but must be done correctly. If proper care isn’t taken, you could end up with warped or swollen floors.
Installing Wood Flooring Over Concrete: Basic Idea
You will want to make sure that you do everything you can to protect your wood flooring. Concrete is very susceptible to ground moisture, which can leak out under the wood.
The proper steps you must take to ensure this doesn’t happen are:
- Clean the slab
- Lay down a moisture barrier
- Install a ¾” plywood subfloor
- Install the wood flooring
Why Replace Concrete With Wood Flooring?
Your basement or utility room’s original purpose may not have been to be a liveable area. The designers of your home probably left the bare concrete to save money and keep it cool.
However, if you are looking to finish one of these rooms, concrete is not a very comfortable surface.
Concrete will not only be hard to walk on, it has a very cold feel. This might be good in the summertime, but once winter hits no one will want to spend time there.
Wood is also an easy material to work with and can be refinished or modified down the line. This is a lot harder to do with tile or laminate, so wood may be your best option.
Clean the Concrete Slab
The first thing you will want to do before anything else is get your concrete slab clean.
Sweep and mop the slab to make sure you remove any dirt or debris. If this is not removed, it will be very difficult to install the moisture barrier and make it stick.
Install a Moisture Barrier
Next, you will want to apply a moisture barrier that will go between the concrete and the subfloor.
Moisture barrier membrane is your best option for this type of application. Not only will it prevent water from coming up, it can fill in cracks.
Moisture barrier membrane comes in 5 gallon buckets and has the viscosity of paint. However, once it dries, it is hard just like the concrete itself.
Apply the membrane with a roller or brush. You can even apply it with an industrial sprayer if you have the equipment and space.
Apply it in a thin coat completely covering the concrete slab. Let it cure for a full 48 hours before you walk on it or move on to the next step.
Install a Plywood Subfloor
Once your moisture barrier membrane is cured, you can install the subfloor.
Your subfloor should be made from ¾” plywood covering the area you want to lay the flooring onto.
Cut and lay the plywood by measuring in quadrants. Lay down the subfloor and secure it with concrete screws evenly spaced apart by 16 inches.
Once your plywood subfloor is installed, you are ready to lay your wood flooring.
Lay Your Wood Flooring
Measure and cut your flooring planks however you want them to be arranged on the subfloor.
It is always best to have them cut and ready to go before you begin securing them. Secure them with a pneumatic brad nailer or flooring nailer for the easiest installation.
Work in those same quadrants that you worked in when laying the subfloor to parcel out the work.
Once you have installed the planks, you can finish the floor however you want.
Apply a stain or sand the planks smooth. Then you can add a polyurethane top coat to protect them and give them a shine.
- Can you put a floating floor over concrete?
You can put a floating floor like laminate over concrete.
However, it is important to note that concrete can shift and move depending on where you live. A floating floor may come apart if these moves are more than an inch or two.
- Is underlayment the same as moisture barrier?
An underlayment is not the same thing as a moisture barrier. However, they can serve the same purpose.
If your concrete slab doesn’t exude any moisture, an underlayment can work fine as a protectant.
- Can I use plastic sheeting as a moisture barrier?
You can use plastic sheeting as a moisture barrier. It will not be as long lasting as the liquid membrane will be, though.
If you are planning on keeping your wood flooring for a long time, membrane is your best option.
Installing wood flooring on concrete is a great way to add some comfort to a concrete slab.
By following our instructions, you can be sure that your wood flooring will last for many years. By keeping that moisture away from the underside, you can avoid any potential issues.