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How To Install Hardwood Floors On Concrete

by Arizona Hardwood Floor & Supply • May 22, 2023

Installing hardwood floors on concrete can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can be accomplished successfully. It requires patience, attention to detail, and the use of suitable materials, but the end result can transform your home with timeless beauty and warmth.

Hardwood Floor Installation On Concrete

If you’re wanting hardwood installation on concrete, there are a few important things you should know before getting started.

Acclimate the Wood

Before you begin installing your engineered hardwood floor, it’s important to acclimate the wood to the environment where it will be installed. This is especially important if you live in an area with high or low humidity or if the concrete floor has been recently poured.  Concrete slabs should be a minimum of 90 days old and checked for moisture content. Acclimation helps the wood adjust to the moisture levels in the environment, which can prevent warping or cupping later on.

To acclimate the wood, stack it in the room where it will be installed and let it sit for at least 2-7 days. Make sure the room is at the same temperature and humidity level that it will be once the floor is installed. This will give the wood time to adjust to the environment before installation. 

At Arizona Hardwood Supply, we acclimate hardwood flooring to the correct moisture levels for our climate.

Prepare the Concrete Surface

The next step is to prepare the concrete slabs for the wood floor installation. This involves cleaning the surface thoroughly and ensuring it is flat for the hardwood flooring planks.
Start by sweeping the concrete surface to remove any debris or dirt.

Once the surface is clean and dry, use a self-leveling compound to level any uneven areas on the surface. This will ensure that the wood floor lays flat and will prevent any gaps or buckling in the future.

Install the Moisture Barrier

The team at Arizona Hardwood Supply checks the moisture content in the concrete to see if a moisture barrier is needed.

Moisture And Hardwood Floors

It's important to be mindful of moisture when it comes to hardwood flooring, as it can cause serious damage. Excess humidity or moisture from the concrete slab or over-cleaning with too much moisture can lead to warping and buckling of the hardwood floors. Wood is highly absorbent and can expand and deteriorate when it absorbs moisture.

In the drier area of Arizona, wood swelling from moisture isn't really a problem like it is in more tropical climates like Florida, for example. In Phoenix, where Arizona Hardwood Supply is located, the issue can be wood planks shrinking from the warmer but less humid climate. It's recommended that when you're installing hardwood floors in your home, make sure your floor planks are at a maximum of 8 inches wide. This will make shrinkage less noticeable.

Install the Wood Flooring

Glue-down method: This involves applying a layer of adhesive to the concrete surface and then laying the wood flooring directly onto the adhesive.   This method provides a secure and long-lasting hold for engineered hardwood flooring

Nail-down method: This involves nailing the wood flooring directly to a plywood subfloor and moisture mitigation system. This method provides a strong and durable bond and is usually recommended for solid wood flooring.

Floating method: This involves laying the wood flooring over the underlayment without any adhesive or nails. The planks are connected using a tongue-and-groove system, and the weight of the flooring holds it in place. This method is easy to install and adjust but may not provide as strong of a hold as the glue-down or nail-down methods.

No matter which installation method you choose, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure a proper installation. Make sure to leave a small gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for the expansion and contraction of the wood.

Finish the Floor

Once the wood flooring is installed, if you did not choose a prefinished floor it’s time to finish the floor. This involves sanding and sealing the wood to protect it and enhance its appearance. You can choose from a variety of finishes, including oil-based, water-based, and wax finishes.
Start by sanding the floor to remove any rough edges or imperfections. Then, apply the finish according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure to apply it evenly and in a well-ventilated area.

Allow the finish to dry completely before walking on the floor or placing furniture on it.

Hire Hardwood Flooring Installation Professionals

Installing wood floors on concrete may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a rewarding DIY project. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can create a beautiful and long-lasting wood floor on a concrete surface.

If all this sounds daunting, don't worry. At Arizona Hardwood Supply, we can make hardwood floor installation painless by taking care of it for you. Give us a call today, and our team of hardwood flooring experts can answer any questions you may have.

If you're eco-friendly, you'll be pleased to know that all our hardwood flooring is responsibly sourced, which means trees cut down for your home's flooring are replaced; another tree is planted in its place.

Contact Arizona Hardwood Supply

If you're interested in learning more about hardwood services and installation, we invite you to take some time to visit our  Wood Flooring 101 page.  We welcome you to visit us at any of our Valley locations. Give us a call at (623) 742-9663 (WOOD) to speak to one of our friendly estimators, or click here to contact us