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Old 11-28-2007, 08:31 PM
 
238 posts, read 1,248,582 times
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Does anyone know what is the best way to install a hardwood floor on a slab (new construction)? Does a subfloor need to be put on top of the foundation slab? Would it better to have a hardwood floor installed by a flooring professional vs a builder?
TIA!
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,639 posts, read 41,061,104 times
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We had hardwood floors in our previous home. The downstairs did not need a subfloor because the cement was already level, but the upstairs needed a subfloor because the wood under the subfloor was not level in all areas.

You should be fine with either the builder or a hardwood specialist. A builder works with wood anyway, so he *should* be able to install a hardwood floor, but just in case your builder doesn't work with hardwood flooring a lot you might want to be on the safe side and go with the professional flooring installation.
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:25 AM
 
Location: Pocono Mts.
9,480 posts, read 12,122,363 times
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No subfloor is needed. I would go with professional flooring contractor, that is all a builder will do anyway, is subcontract one. Then you also get to go to their showroom to see the different options you have for hardwood flooring.
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Old 11-29-2007, 07:43 AM
 
600 posts, read 3,450,667 times
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DDR,
If you want hardwood flooring installed over a concrete slab, there are only two ways to do it:

1 - It can be glued to the slab
2 - It can be a floating floor system.

NOTE : You cannot have a 3/4" thick hardwood floor on your slab. Well, actually, you can, but you must perform construction gymnastics to achieve it.

Hardwood flooring is available in two basic types: Solids that vary from 5/16" thick to 3/4" thick, and engineered, which vary from 5/16" to 5/8". The traditional 3/4" wood is a nail-down only application. The others I mentioned can be either glued, stapled (over wood subflooring) or floated.

Please do not ask your builder to install your hardwood flooring. He may be an excellent builder/carpenter, but his skills and tools are not matched to the ones that a flooring professional brings to the table. It's sort of like asking my friend, the house painter, to do your family portrait.

If you have specific questions, I'd be happy to address them here, or in a direct message.

Regards,
Streamer1212
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:09 PM
 
238 posts, read 1,248,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamer1212 View Post
DDR,
If you want hardwood flooring installed over a concrete slab, there are only two ways to do it:

1 - It can be glued to the slab
2 - It can be a floating floor system.

NOTE : You cannot have a 3/4" thick hardwood floor on your slab. Well, actually, you can, but you must perform construction gymnastics to achieve it.

Hardwood flooring is available in two basic types: Solids that vary from 5/16" thick to 3/4" thick, and engineered, which vary from 5/16" to 5/8". The traditional 3/4" wood is a nail-down only application. The others I mentioned can be either glued, stapled (over wood subflooring) or floated.

Please do not ask your builder to install your hardwood flooring. He may be an excellent builder/carpenter, but his skills and tools are not matched to the ones that a flooring professional brings to the table. It's sort of like asking my friend, the house painter, to do your family portrait.

If you have specific questions, I'd be happy to address them here, or in a direct message.

Regards,
Streamer1212
Great info, Steamer! Thanks. I do have reservations about builder installed hardwoods plus the builder's cost for HW is expensive!!!! I think I will have them install vinyl or whatever is standard and then have the hardwoods installed afterward by someone local. This way we get a better selection of flooring & pricing, and more personalized service.
What is better to use on the slab, engineered or the solid?
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:28 PM
 
600 posts, read 3,450,667 times
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Engineered wood floors (3/8") are much better than a 3/8" solid for a couple of reasons. The big one is that they are, in fact, enginered. The plywood type construction creates a far more structurally stable floor than a thin solid. Solid wood flooring at 3/4" relies on its bulk to resist movement, torquing, warpage, etc., whereas an engineered floor relies on its structural design. They are also created under ideal conditions, whereas the thin solids, milled in the same environment are still only as stable as the original lumber from which it is cut. It's a good product, but the engineered is better.

A lot of folks assume that because of its similarity to plywood, that the eng. flooring is, or looks, cheap. In fact, the eng. flooring is a bit more expensive. Why? Once again, because it is engineered.

Buyers are concerned about the ability of their new hardwood flooring to be "re-sanded" or "refinished". Here's a note about that: Most of the time, a homeowner decides that their wood flooring looks a little rough, banged up, worn looking, and they call someone to get a price for having their floors "redone". The homeowner's assumption is that the wood must be "sanded", when in reality, all that usually needs to be done is what's called a screening, which is simply removing the old finish mechanically. "Sanding" implies that a layer of wood must be removed, and is only necesary when a floor has been gouged or pretty substantially damaged. That's why the veneer of an engineered hardwood can be relatively thin and still be screened and re-coated with a finish without extensive invasion into the wood by the flooring pro.

I hope this has been helpful,
Streamer1212
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:36 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 13,269,074 times
Reputation: 2192
My understanding is that solid hardwood is not suitable for a concrete installation, but engineered flooring is. I have an engineered oak floor with a walnut strip around it. Put it down 10 years ago and it still looks beautiful and I have dogs. My flooring was rated for 3 sandings. And Streamer is right, most of the time, all that is needed is a new finish anyway.
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