A hardwood floor is one essential of a beautiful home.
If you plan to install a floor yourself, there are a few things to know before you start. The type of floor you buy makes a big difference in clean up during the job and years to come.
Laying down a hardwood floor is a significant investment. However, if you plan to install a wood floor over concrete, there are extra considerations we’ll cover to protect your investment.
At Cleaner Confessions, we want your floor to last for decades without problems.
First, we’ll look at preparing the cement floor. Next, we’ll cover how to choose the right hardwood floor and the proper installation method.
Most Homes Have Cement Slabs
54% of all homes in the U.S. sit on a cement slab foundation. Even in homes with basements, the basement floor is concrete, so virtually all homes have one floor made of concrete. While functional, it’s not pretty or comfy under your feet.
There is nothing more beautiful or comfortable than a solid wood floor. According to HGTV, a finished basement with a hardwood floor can return up to 70% in resale value. However, you can’t just put down any wood floor over concrete and think it will last. Installing a wood floor over concrete requires some preparation and planning to protect the wood.
We have the perfect solution for you, but let’s look at the other considerations before you lay down that first plank.
Testing and Preparing a Cement Floor
Here are the four actions you should do to have a perfect installation for your new wood floor.
1. Check for Moisture Content
Cement is like a sponge. It wicks up water from the ground and into your home. One of the easiest moisture tests is to tape down a 1-foot square piece of clear plastic and leave it for about 12 hours.
If you see condensation or wet concrete, you have a moisture problem. Sealing the slab is mandatory, and you’ll still want a secondary moisture barrier for the wood floor.
You can rent or purchase a moisture meter to check the floor’s moisture amount for more qualitative analysis.
2. Fill Any Cracks and Check That it’s Level
Concrete slabs will settle and crack over time. Before you can install the hardwood floor, fill any cracks.
Be sure the slab is smooth and level. You’ll find many products and videos on how to repair cracks and level concrete slabs.
3. Install the Moisture Barrier
A moisture barrier prevents water from wicking up through the cement slab onto the wood floor. You can use a liquid sealer, applying it with a brush or roller.
This option is suitable for basements or slabs that have lots of moisture coming up through them.
Another moisture barrier is a sheet of plastic, sealed at the seams. It forces moisture toward the walls, up and away from the wood floor.
4. If Necessary, Install a Subfloor
A subfloor is a second floor between the hardwood floor above and concrete below. It prevents the wood from contacting the concrete directly, plus it gives you something to glue or nail into since the moisture barrier is under the sub-floor.
The advantage of a subfloor is that it acts as both a sound and heat insulator. Some subfloors combine water barrier features.
Now that you’re ready to install a hardwood floor, what is the best choice?
Why A Floating Hardwood Floor Is The Easiest
A floating floor means that it lays on top of the concrete slab or sub-floor. The floor’s weight keeps it in place. The benefit of a floating floor is that you don’t need glue or nails. Nails can puncture the moisture barrier and eventually cause rot and mildew in the wood.
Engineered hardwood is another option, but you may need to glue it, which won’t work on plastic sheeting moisture barriers. It can hold up to moisture conditions, but it’s not waterproof. Unlike MDF, solid hardwood can last for decades. You can sand and change the color if you need to repair it or change your room’s look.
For the easiest installation, you want a pre-finished floor. That means the stain and protecting polyurethane finish has already been applied. You won’t deal with the mess and fumes of finishing the floor in your home.
Buy a DIY Hardwood Floor for Concrete
The best is floating, pre-finished floor that is the ultimate in eco-friendly flooring. You can take it to your new home if you move.
Once you own it, it’s easy to install or remove using patented aluminum clips. There is no glue or nails required. You can re-install it anywhere you go. It is the best solution for adding a solid hardwood floor over any concrete sub-floor.
Go after combining pre-finished, 3/4-inch sustainable white oak and reusable aluminum clips. It’s the most effortless floor for inexperienced DIYers who want an environmentally-friendly flooring solution for basements or homes on slabs.