If you’re planning to update your home’s floors, you might be considering wood flooring. The traditional look of hardwood flooring has remained popular over the years, and is still in demand today. Wood floors offer many benefits aside from aesthetics. They are easy to clean and maintain over time with new staining. If your home was built on a concrete slab, you may be wondering if wood flooring are possible for you.
What Is The Problem With Concrete For Wood Floors?
When a home is built on a concrete slab, there is the chance that the concrete was not properly dried, during construction. If it was not fully dried, then there can be moisture problems that would affect any flooring installation, and especially wood flooring.
Areas of the concrete should be measured for excess moisture to ensure the slab is dry, before any flooring is installed. Contractors typically wait 30 days after pouring the slab before taking any measurements. Typically, the slab must be at least 60 days old before flooring can be installed.
How Can Moisture In Concrete Affect Wood Floors?
Wood flooring is known for being durable and strong. For optimum durability and strength, the moisture content in wood must be well-managed. A cycle of absorbing moisture from humidity and releasing back into the air, helps wood to retain its attractive appearance. However, too much moisture all at once can cause cracking or buckling in your wood floors.
Before any wood floors can be installed, the structure must be sealed against any possible sources of moisture. All windows and doors should be in place. During winter, the heat must also be functioning and should be at occupancy levels for five days before the flooring is even delivered to the structure.
How Can Wood Flooring Be Installed Over Concrete?
When the concrete slab is at ground level or above, it is fairly easy to install wood flooring with proper subfloors (plywood-on-slab and sleeper are both recommended options for concrete). A vapor retarder can also be used to ensure slab moisture does not reach the wood flooring. Make sure the concrete is flat and clean with no high or low spots, before starting installation.
However, moisture can cause bigger problems with concrete slabs below ground level. If you are looking to have wood flooring in a basement or other dwelling that is below ground level, then you may need to select engineered wood floors instead of typical hardwood. The engineered wood flooring and the concrete slab then need to be assessed for moisture content before the final installation.
The Bottom Line
A concrete slab won’t prevent you from the wood flooring you want. The job will just require some extra steps and careful decisions to ensure successful installation and to prevent problems. Given the special needs and techniques required for installing wood floors over concrete, you may want to consult with professional flooring specialists. They can assess your home’s unique factors, offer appropriate options, and make sure to use the best methods to ensure long-lasting wood flooring.