Design Tips

Concrete (slab) & Hardwood floors

There are three different ways to install SOLID hardwood flooring to concrete (slab). No matter which of the three applies to you, you MUST follow the manufactures installation recommendations or risk losing your manufactures warranty. Best case scenario, whoever you end up purchasing your material(s) from have them do the install. If anything goes wrong down the road you are covered through them, as it was most likely faulty installation on their end. A manufacture will not validate a claim if someone other than their licensed distributor did the install.

Here are the three ways to install hardwood on a concrete slab:

  1. The most common way is install solid hardwood flooring to a concrete slab is to glue down directly on the slab BUT you must first complete a “moisture” test to see how much moisture is in the floor. If no moisture then all that is needed is to glue directly to slab (only). Make sure you use the manufactures recommended special glue. If there is moisture then the ONLY answer is to move to one of the two options remaining for installing but whatever you do, do NOT glue to slab.
  2. The slab has to be floated with a moisture barrier over slab which means it’s NOT nailed down but glued in the tongue and grove of hardwood flooring. The floating has nothing to do with whether or not there is moisture, once again follow the manufactures recommended installation guidelines.
  3. Put plywood onto of slab and shoot concrete nails to hold down plywood then nail down the hardwood whether it’s solid or engineered. This is the most expensive.


If the installation is in a condo then it’s what’s called a “light-weight” concrete for fire protection which means you CANNOT nail or glue. The light-weight slab must be floated.

Not all hardwoods or concrete slabs are alike. If you remember one thing from this Tips topic, always, always, ALWAYS read and follow the manufactures installation guidelines. It will save you a lot of money and hassle in the end!

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