You CAN install hardwood floors on a concrete slab.
More Info: It is possible to install hardwood floors on a concrete slab as long as you first install proper subflooring. The two most important aspects of hardwood over concrete are expansion and moisture control. Be certain to pay close attention to these two factors in order to install your flooring correctly and to extend the life of the hardwood.
Wait for the Best Time to Install
If you are considering installing hardwood floor on concrete in a new construction scenario, you must ensure that the concrete has had adequate drying time. The standard industry rule of thumb is to allow one month per one inch of concrete. This means that if the cement slab is three inches thick, you need to wait at least three months before moving ahead with any projects.
Use Proper Subflooring
In order to ensure proper insulation and structure of your home, you must use the correct type of subflooring materials between your concrete and hardwood. Two options are notably the best plywood or sleepers. If you use plywood, you will want to choose a vapor barrier material first. Asphalt felt is a good option, when applied over an asphalt tar that will reduce moisture transmission. Once that has been installed and allowed to settle for a day or two, lay out plywood sheets to cover the surface. Leave 3/4 of an inch space at the walls and about 1/2 inch between sheets of plywood. Using a nail gun to ensure adhesion, start in the middle of the plywood, and attach it to the concrete below.
Install Acclimated Flooring
Before installing hardwood flooring, it is imperative to allow it to acclimate in the room where you will be installing it. This means that the flooring will expand or contract as necessary to adjust to the room’s temperature properly. Once it has done so for several days, you can install it over the subflooring material.
“How long does it take concrete to dry?.” Portland Cement Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. www.cement.org/tech/cct_drying.asp.
Liewen, Catherine. ” Installation – Solid Footing .” Hardwood Floors Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. http://hardwoodfloorsmag.com/articles/article.aspx?articleid=228&zoneid=2.
“Lowe’s How-To Videos | Home Improvement Videos | Instructional Help Videos .” Lowe’s How-To Videos | Home Improvement Videos | Instructional Help Videos . N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. http://lowesditv.com/?video=Prep%20a%20Concrete%20Subfloor%20for%20Hardwood%20or%20laminate.