Installing Hardwood Floor On Concrete

Are you considering installing hardwood flooring on your concrete subfloor? It’s a smart choice!

Table of Contents

Hardwood floors add warmth and character to any space, and with proper installation and maintenance, they can last for decades. However, before you start the installation process, there are a few things you need to know to ensure your new floors look and perform their best.

First, you’ll need to properly prepare the concrete surface to ensure a secure and level foundation for your hardwood flooring. Then, you’ll need to choose the right type of hardwood flooring that can withstand the unique challenges of being installed over concrete.

Don’t worry, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can successfully install beautiful, long-lasting hardwood floors in your home or business.

Preparing the Concrete Surface

You’ll need to ensure that the surface is clean and free of debris before you can move on to the next step. Start by sweeping and vacuuming the concrete surface thoroughly. This will remove any loose dust, dirt, or debris that could interfere with the installation or adhesion of the hardwood flooring. Additionally, use a damp mop to remove any stubborn dirt or grime.

After cleaning the surface, you’ll need to level any uneven areas in the concrete. Use a self-leveling compound to fill in any low spots or dips in the surface. This will ensure that your hardwood flooring will lay flat and smooth. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the self-leveling compound, as the drying time and application process may vary.

Once the surface is clean and level, you’ll need to apply a moisture barrier to prevent any moisture from seeping into the hardwood flooring. There are several options for moisture barriers, including plastic sheeting, epoxy coatings, and adhesive membranes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the moisture barrier you choose, and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

With a clean, level, and moisture-free concrete surface, you’re now ready to begin installing your hardwood flooring.

Choosing the Right Type of Hardwood Flooring

When deciding on the ideal type of wood for your new surface, it’s important to take into account factors such as durability and style.

There are many different types of hardwood flooring to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. For example, oak is a popular choice due to its durability and classic look. However, if you’re looking for a more exotic option, consider bamboo or Brazilian cherry.

Another important factor to consider when choosing hardwood flooring for a concrete surface is the installation method. Some types of hardwood flooring are easier to install than others, and some require special tools or techniques.

For example, engineered hardwood flooring is a popular choice for concrete surfaces because it can be glued or floated over the concrete slab. Solid hardwood flooring, on the other hand, may require a subfloor or special installation techniques to ensure stability.

Ultimately, the type of hardwood flooring you choose will depend on your personal style preferences, budget, and the specific requirements of your concrete surface. When making your decision, be sure to consult with a professional flooring installer to ensure that you choose the best option for your needs.

With the right type of hardwood flooring, your concrete surface can be transformed into a beautiful, durable, and stylish space.

Acclimating the Wood to the Environment

Acclimating wood to the environment is an essential step in ensuring the long-term stability and durability of your new flooring. Before installation, it’s important to allow the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the area where it will be installed.

This process involves storing the wood in the room where it will be installed for at least 72 hours to allow it to properly acclimate. During the acclimation process, it’s important to maintain the room temperature and humidity levels to mimic the conditions where the flooring will be installed.

This means keeping the temperature between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity between 30-50%. Failure to properly acclimate the wood can result in issues such as warping, buckling, and uneven installation.

Overall, acclimating the wood to the environment is a crucial step in ensuring the longevity and durability of your new hardwood flooring. By taking the time to properly acclimate the wood, you can avoid potential issues and ensure a smooth installation process. Remember to follow the recommended acclimation time and conditions to achieve the best results.

Installing the Moisture Barrier

To make sure your beautiful new floors stay pristine, it’s important to lay down a moisture barrier before proceeding with the installation process. A moisture barrier is a thin layer of plastic that helps prevent moisture from seeping into the hardwood floor and causing it to warp or buckle. Without a moisture barrier, your hardwood floors could become damaged and require expensive repairs or even replacement.

Before installing the moisture barrier, it’s important to ensure that the concrete subfloor is clean and dry. Any dirt, dust, or debris can compromise the effectiveness of the barrier, so take the time to thoroughly sweep and vacuum the area. Additionally, if there are any cracks or gaps in the concrete, be sure to fill them with a concrete patching compound before laying down the moisture barrier.

Once the subfloor is clean and dry, it’s time to lay down the moisture barrier. Start by unrolling the plastic sheeting and cutting it to fit the dimensions of the room. Overlap the edges of the sheeting by about 6 inches and secure it in place with adhesive tape.

Take care not to leave any gaps or holes in the barrier, as even a small amount of moisture can cause damage to your hardwood floors. With the moisture barrier in place, you can move on to the next step of the installation process with confidence.

Laying the Hardwood Flooring

You’re finally ready to bring warmth and beauty to your space by laying down the stunning hardwood planks. With the moisture barrier in place, you’re now ready to start installing the hardwood flooring. Here are some steps to help you through the process:

  • Start by laying down the first row of hardwood planks, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap along the walls for expansion. Use a tapping block and mallet to ensure the planks are snugly fit together.

  • As you move along, stagger the planks in a random pattern to give your floor a more natural look. Use a saw to cut the last plank in each row to fit, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap at the end as well.

  • Once you’ve completed laying all the planks, use a pry bar to remove any spacers and install the baseboards over the gap along the walls.

Give yourself a pat on the back, because you’ve successfully installed a beautiful hardwood floor on concrete!

Now that the hardwood flooring is laid, it’s time to move onto the finishing touches. Sand and stain the hardwood to your desired color and finish, and then apply a sealant to protect your investment.

With proper care, your new hardwood floor will bring warmth and beauty to your space for years to come. Enjoy your new beautiful floor!

Sanding and Finishing the Flooring

Now it’s time to give your new beautiful addition the finishing touch by sanding and staining it to your desired color and finish.

Sanding the hardwood flooring is a crucial step in achieving a smooth and even surface. Make sure to use a floor sander with the appropriate grit sandpaper for your type of hardwood. Start with a coarse grit and gradually work your way to a finer grit, ensuring that you sand in the direction of the grain.

Once the sanding is complete, it’s time to apply the stain and finish. First, make sure the floor is clean and free of any dust or debris. Apply the stain using a brush or rag, making sure to work in small sections and wiping away any excess.

Allow the stain to dry completely before applying the finish. Choose a finish that suits your lifestyle and needs, whether it be a glossy or matte finish.

In the end, you’ll have a beautiful and durable hardwood floor that will last for years to come. Remember to take the necessary precautions to protect your new investment, such as using furniture pads and avoiding wearing shoes that could scratch the surface.

With proper maintenance, your hardwood floor will continue to shine and impress for many years.

Maintaining Your New Hardwood Floors

Maintaining your new hardwood floors is essential to ensure they remain in top condition for years to come, so don’t forget to clean them regularly and take precautions to protect them from scratches and damage.

One of the most effective ways to keep your floors looking their best is by sweeping or vacuuming them regularly to remove dirt and debris. Additionally, you should avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the finish on your floors and instead opt for gentle cleaning solutions specifically designed for hardwood floors.

Another important aspect of maintaining your hardwood floors is protecting them from scratches and other types of damage. To prevent scratches, you should always use felt pads or furniture coasters under heavy furniture, and avoid wearing high heels or other shoes with hard soles on your floors. It’s also a good idea to place mats or rugs at entryways to trap dirt and debris before it can be tracked onto your floors.

Finally, it’s important to have your floors professionally refinished every few years to keep them looking their best. Over time, the finish on your floors can become worn and faded, which can make them look dull and unattractive. By having your floors refinished, you can restore their natural beauty and keep them looking great for years to come.

So, if you want to keep your hardwood floors looking their best, be sure to follow these tips and take good care of them!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If your hardwood floors are experiencing issues such as buckling or cupping, it’s important to troubleshoot these common problems in order to maintain the overall appearance and functionality of your flooring.

Buckling occurs when the planks of your hardwood floor separate from the subfloor, creating a raised area in the middle of the floor. This is usually caused by excessive moisture in the subfloor or a lack of space for the wood to expand and contract. To fix this issue, you may need to replace the affected planks or use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the room.

Cupping is another common issue that can occur with hardwood floors. This is when the edges of the planks curl up, creating a concave shape. Cupping is typically caused by an imbalance of moisture between the top and bottom of the planks. To fix this issue, you may need to address the source of the moisture, such as a leaky pipe or high humidity levels. You may also need to sand down the affected planks to even out the surface.

Scratches and dents are also common issues that can occur with hardwood floors. While these may not affect the functionality of your flooring, they can detract from its overall appearance. To prevent scratches and dents, be sure to use furniture pads and avoid wearing shoes with hard soles inside the house.

If scratches or dents do occur, you can use a wood filler or sand down the affected area and apply a fresh coat of finish. By troubleshooting these common issues, you can maintain the beauty and longevity of your hardwood floors for years to come.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed hardwood flooring on your concrete surface. With proper preparation, choosing the right type of hardwood, and following the steps outlined in this article, you now have a beautiful and durable flooring option that will last for years to come.

To maintain your new hardwood floors, be sure to regularly clean and maintain them with the appropriate products and tools. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the finish, and be sure to address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

With proper care, your hardwood floors will continue to add beauty and value to your home for years to come. Enjoy!