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Installing Hardwood Flooring Over Concrete

Hardwood floors are durable, low maintenance and easy to clean. Read manufacturer’s directions before installation to maintain warranty coverage.

More in Floors

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  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Demolition of Old Flooring

If you have carpeting, pull up the carpet, foam padding, tack strips and nails. Grind all nails or tacks.

Step 2: Remove Baseboards

To save money, try to reuse your baseboards, a fresh coat can give them a new look.

Carefully score the top of the baseboard with a utility knife to separate it from the wall. If you skip this step you can potentially rip the drywall. Insert a pry bar to pull the baseboard away from the wall. If you can’t get a pry bar into the scored crevice, start with a flat-edged tool like a spackle knife to work the baseboard loose, then try the pry bar.

Step 3: Prepare Floor

If the concrete has been painted, you will need to remove it to guarantee adhesive will stick. You can rent a concrete grinder from a rental store. Wear a mask and goggles when grinding the floor. Sweep and vacuum all dust and debris.

Step 4: Apply a Moisture Barrier

A liquid moisture barrier can have a very strong odor. Open up windows and use fans to circulate air.

Apply the moisture barrier holding a V-notch trowel at a 45-degree angle. The moisture barrier will level itself out. Start at the farthest point in the room then work your way out of the room. Let moisture barrier set for 24 hours. The surface should not be tacky when touched. Do not walk on the surface. Use odorless mineral spirits to remove moisture barriers from your hands and trowel.

Step 5: Prepare Flooring Layout

Lay the floor parallel to longest wall in the room. Always have an exit plan when laying out the floor. You don’t want be trapped in a corner and have to walk on the newly installed floors. Cut pieces as you go.

Step 6: Apply Adhesive and Flooring

Always read manufacturer’s instructions when applying the adhesive. Using a V-notch trowel, apply the adhesive to floor in small sections. Only spread enough for a few rows at a time. Use a tapping block to click pieces together (Image 1). Stagger end joints from row to row. Tape seams together with painter’s tape (Image 2).

Tap 1/4-inch shims in between the edges of the floor and the wall to leave room for expansion (Image 3). Weight down the first few rows with something heavy, but use a rag underneath the weight to protect the floor. Use a damp cloth to clean off adhesive from surfaces. Let adhesive dry for 24 hours.

Step 7: Finish Work

Remove spacers and tape. Replace baseboards. Install transition pieces.

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Projects

Resources

  • Hallmark Hardwoods-Heirloom Walnut Natural 9/16” x 5’ x random lengths
    Bostik Moisture Vapor Retarder
    Bostik Urethane Wood Adhesive

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