Learning Center

Find the answers to all your flooring questions.

Wood Flooring FAQ


Can I install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab?


Generally, it is not recommended to install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab, though it is possible and has successfully been done before. Installing a solid wood floor over a concrete slab requires many additional steps compared to installing over another subflooring material. Before beginning the installation, a plastic underlayment must be laid over the slab and taped at the seams. After the plastic film is down, moisture-resistant marine plywood is attached, thereby giving the solid wood floor a wooden subfloor to attach to. Once the marine plywood is down, the solid wood floor may be installed. It is important to double check the manufacturer’s recommendations, as it is possible to void warranties by installing the floor this way. For more information see: How To Install Solid Hardwood Floor Over Concrete Slab Sika AcouBond is a new underlayment product available that may allow for an easier solid wood installation over a concrete slab. Check the manufacturer’s warranty information to ensure it covers this type of installation before beginning, and check for any recommendations they may have.

What wood floor can I install over a concrete slab?


Manufacturers do not recommend using solid hardwood flooring over a concrete slab, though with improvements in wood floors, most engineered plank floors can be installed over a concrete slab. These materials can be glued directly to a clean, dry, and well-cured concrete slab. Some of the engineered flooring can be floated over the slab with a special underlayment, and then glued at the tongue and groove for installation. Some “hybrid” type engineered hardwood floors may use a floated glueless “click lock” system for installation. For more information see: How To Install Hardwood Floor Over Concrete Slab Note: Before installing any wood floor over a concrete slab, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for guidance. Ensure that the installation will not void the warranty. Remember, the concrete slab should be clean, dry, and fully cured for at least 60 days prior to the installation, and planks should be acclimated to the room’s climate for at least 48 hours before installation begins.

Can we install a hardwood floor over an existing vinyl floor?


This one is a tricky question to answer because yes, it is possible, but no, it may not be a plausible solution for your home. If the vinyl floor in question is thin and tightly secured to the subfloor, you may be able to float a wood floor over it. There are certain instances where it may also be possible to use the staple installation method where the wood is stapled to the vinyl flooring. Check with the manufacturer of the flooring for installation recommendations and to ensure this type of installation will not void the warranty.

What do I do to remove scratches in my wood floor?


The exact course of action will depend on the type of wood floor, type of finish, and depth of scratches in the top layer. If the scratches are minor, only in the surface of the urethane finish, purchase a touch up kit from the location where the original flooring was purchased. Always use the manufacturer’s recommended finish products to keep the warranty in good standing. Test the product in a small area hidden by furniture to ensure it will work correctly. If the scratches are deep, it is best to have a professional come in to do a screen and re-coat. In this process, special screens are used to sand the surface of the floor which allows the new coat of urethane protectant to adhere to the surface of the wood. Certain wood floor types are easier to repair by replacing the damaged boards. For best results, leave the repair and replacement of damaged floors or screen and re-coat to a professional.

Can I install a hardwood floor if I have pets?


Yes. Many homeowners with hardwood floors have pets, but the issue lies in the fact that the floors are not really built to withstand the wear and tear pets can create. The pet’s claws will scratch the floor when they walk on it. If they urinate in the home, the chemicals in the urine can permanently discolor the floor. To remove the damage caused by pets, the floor must be sanded and refinished.

Can an engineered wood floor be refinished?


Maybe. Depending on the quality of the floor, there may or may not be enough of a real hardwood finish layer to sand down and refinish. The higher quality engineered wood will have about 1/8’’ finish layer. This layer can be sanded and refinished one or two times before the entire floor would need to be replaced. If there are heat registers in the floor, remove the vent cover to get a closer look at the side of the wood to determine the remaining thickness of the finish layer. For best results, hire a professional to sand and refinish the floors.

Can I use throw rugs on my hardwood floor?


Yes, but before using any rug on the floor, be sure to check that the rug is “non-staining” so the colors will not bleed from the rug onto the floor. Check the rug’s backing to make sure it is not rough, as this could cause the rug the scratch the finish when it is moved around on the floor. Lift the rug and clean the dirt, dust, and other debris out from under it regularly, as this could also damage the floor’s surface. Periodically move the rug to help prevent shading of the wood underneath it.

How do we stop a solid hardwood floor from gapping?


Gapping cannot be stopped entirely, as wood will swell and contract naturally with the change in humidity of the room. To combat the issue, use a humidifier during hotter months to keep the year round humidity relatively stable. Certain species of wood will expand and contract more than others. Using an engineered hardwood floor will reduce the appearance of gapping as these are more dimensionally stable than solid hardwoods.

What should I use under furniture legs?


Several furniture stores carry felt pads designed for use under furniture legs to help prevent the furniture from scratching the floor. Some brands may stick to the bottom of the furniture, while other brands may require the pad be nailed into the furniture leg. Regardless, never hit the furniture pad directly with a hammer. Follow the directions that come with the pads you purchase for best results. To help prevent further scratching and damage to the floor surface, periodically check the pads to clean dirt, dust, and debris out from under them.

What is solid wood flooring?


Solid wood flooring is made from continuous planks of wood, whereas engineered wood flooring is made with several plies of wood compressed together.

Do solid wood floors increase the value of your home?


Solid wood floors are considered a high quality building material. They last a long time and are fully renewable without much effort. In addition to these benefits, they are aesthetically pleasing which increases desire for the feature.

Reseal your travertine flooring from time to time to keep the pores closed and the finish intact. Never use chemical or acidic products. Check the manufacturer instructions for the proper care regimen.

Are solid wood floors expensive?


Increases in demand have caused the prices to fall. As more people realize the benefits of solid wood floors – easy to refinish, restore, and renew – more people want them. Though the initial investment may be steep, the return is life-long and therefore makes it an excellent investment.

What is the difference between solid wood and laminate?


Solid wood flooring is made from one plank and is solid all the way through, with no engineering or gluing. Laminate flooring is a high-density base, with a photographic image of a wooden plank, finished with an acrylic lacquer. Laminate floors feature no solid wood.

What is engineered flooring?


Engineered flooring is made from plies of wood stacked in alternating patterns, finished with a hardwood veneer. These floors provide more flexibility than solid hardwood flooring as they can be used in areas with higher moisture content due to a stronger dimensional stability that resists warping. The floors can only be finished one to two times, however, because of the reduced amount of solid wood on the plank.

Is solid wood flooring suitable for use with radiant heat underfloor heating systems?


This is fine, as long as the heating tubes do not touch the wood. A plastic underlayment sheet should be placed in between the tubing and the wooden floor.

Can solid wood be installed on stairs?


It is possible, but it can be slippery. We advise you consider your personal circumstances before making a decision. If there are children or pets in the home, it may not be a good choice.

Is there a type of hardwood that is more durable than others?


While some hardwoods are harder than others, they are typically no durable. The hardwood you choose should be based on budget and aesthetic preference.

Which solid wood should I choose?


The floors and wall are where the most color in a room is going to come from. Since hardwood is available in a variety of colors, it is important to choose one that complements all the other elements in the room.

Where can I install solid wood flooring?


Solid wood should not be installed in basements where water is an issue, because water can cause expansion and contraction of the wood, causing it to warp. As such, it is ideal for above ground installations in rooms other than the bathrooms in a home.

Which installation method is best?


The best installation method depends on the type of wood flooring, the installation location in the home, and the type of subfloor. Installation options include: nail down, glue down, and floating. Solid floors can be nailed down. Laminate floors can be glued down. Floating involves attaching the wood floor to an underlay, rather than removing it and attaching it to the actual subfloor.

What is floating flooring?


Planks are glued together and then attached to a plastic sheet or underlay, which is secured to the floor. This is only possible for certain kinds of wood flooring, and is ideal in situations where tearing the existing floor out or installing on the real subfloor is not practical

Are solid wood floors difficult to maintain and clean?


No, with the urethane coating present on the floor, you have a durable, smooth finish on the wood. As long as you do not clean the wood floor with a damp mop, it is easy to clean. Water should not be used to clean a wood floor because it will seep into the wood and lead to warping.

How can I clean and care for my wood floor?


Sweep dirt away from the floor with a soft cloth broom. Use cleaning and polishing products specially designed for the clean and care of wood floors. Do not use water to clean the wood floor.

(6) Comments

  1. My sub floor is 3/8″ plywood. Is the thickness suitable for nail down hardwood floors? The boards will be laid across the floor joists.

  2. what is the width of gap acceptable between two pieces of white oak hardwood flooring when a floor is installed? I recently had a white oak rift wood installed and have gap where I can slide my credit card between the seam, is that acceptable?

  3. I have a 60 year old cabin on a lake. Its built of wood on a block foundation with about a 2 foot craw space over dirt. There is no vapor barrier over it or on the wood floor about it.
    This is a single story cabin with plywood flooring over 70% and real particle board (small particles clued together, not strand or chip) over the other 30%.
    All flooring is well screwed downed and very secure.
    The bath room has new sheet vinyl in it and is what the flooring you recommend will be resting up against at the bath doorway.
    The cabin is used in the summer only, in Southern Kentucky and almost never heated or used in the winter. So I winterize it in the winter and turn everything off as well.
    I’m looking at around 650 sq. feet to cover the two bedrooms, Kitchen, and living room.
    I’m also working within a budget of under $2.00 a square foot if possible, but I really want the best recommend material to use.
    I want the real look of hardwood but not the work or cost.
    Thinking Laminate or Vinyl of some sort.
    Can you give me the pros and cons of each and recommend a underlayment if required.
    There are a lot of seams in the wood flooring with gaps so I was thinking if using thin vinyl I would have to fill them in with something.
    I guess I really want to know you recommendations on what material to use in the above situation.
    Thanks in advance,
    Mike Jager

  4. We have a lake home in Minnesota, we are not there full time in the winter.
    The house is heated by hot water heat ( baseboards) to about 50 degrees in the winter.
    There is a full heated ( to 50 ) basement underneath.
    I have been warned that this is not a good situation for a solid wood floor installation.
    What do you advise?

Comments are closed.