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Installing Wood Flooring Over Concrete

You can install a wood plank floor over concrete if you first install a layer of 3/4-in. plywood. We show you the best way to do it.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

  • TIME
  • TimeTimeTime Weekend
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    Plan on a day to prep the room and lay the plywood and a second day to lay the planks. Add another day to apply a finish, if you don't have pre-finished flooring.

  • COMPLEXITY
  • ComplexityComplexityComplexity Moderate
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    You have to cut and fit large sections of plywood. You'll need a hammer drill for fastening it to concrete.

  • COST
  • CostCostCost $100 - $500
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    Figure on spending $100 - $200 on the plywood and other materials for an average room, plus the cost of the plank flooring.

How to install a wood plank floor over concrete

If you love solid wood floors and your home rests on a concrete slab, you're not out of luck. But it's considerably more difficult to install a 3/4-in. wood floor over concrete than over a wood subfloor. You'll first have to install 3/4-in. thick wood underlayment. The combination of the underlayment and flooring raises the height of the floor 1-1/2 in., so be sure the extra height doesn't create problems around cabinets, in doorways or at transitions to other types of flooring.

Also, be absolutely sure that the concrete doesn't get damp because of exterior water problems.

Lay 6-mil polyethylene sheeting over the concrete to minimize moisture migration from the concrete up into the wood flooring. Then fasten 3/4-in. treated plywood to the concrete with concrete screws spaced every 16 in. Alternatively, screw rows of treated 1x4s to the concrete 16 in. on center. Lay the 1x4s perpendicular to the direction you intend to install the floor planks.

Then nail the flooring planks with a standard flooring nailer (see photo for details).

Tip: If the 1-1/2 in. height change is too much, consider laying a laminated wood floor instead. It will add less than 3/4 in. of height. You can either glue it down or float it (the edges are either glued or snapped together).

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October 25, 4:26 PM [GMT -5]

I've heard that you should first install a layer of rigid foam boards on the cement first. My preference would be to use the foam boards. I think it would make the floor warmer. I'm not sure if a layer of plastic would still need to go underneath

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Installing Wood Flooring Over Concrete

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