Solid Hardwood Floors
Nail-down installation on a plywood sub-floor:
Solid hardwood floors are usually ¾” thick, varying in width and length. This type of floors is typically nailed down atop a 5/8” thick plywood sub-floor. Beneath the plywood, a moisture vapor barrier is installed consisting of plastic sheeting and mastic sealant, all fastened to the concrete slab using ¼” spikes. The hardwood flooring gets nailed into the tongue of the board, concealing the nails. The total floor thickness using this application is 1 ½” up from the concrete slab. The benefits of a nail–down installation include:
- Tighter fit for a sleek, modern look
- More impact absorption; easier on the joints when walked on
- Superior moisture vapor barrier from below
- More expensive than a glue–down installation
- Takes more time to install
Glue-down installation directly to the slab:
Solid hardwood floors can also be glued down direct to your concrete slab. A rubber–like liquid moisture vapor barrier is applied directly to the concrete slab to create a moisture seal. Once dry, the hardwood floor is then installed using a compatible adhesive. Straps and wall jacks tighten the fit and are removed the next day once the adhesive has dried.
- Less expensive than a plywood sub-floor installation
- Shorter installation time
- Lifetime warranty through manufacturers against moisture and adherence failure
- Ideal for remodels; keeps the floor at ¾” thickness, making it easier to transition to a different flooring surface
- Future repairs are more difficult
- Cannot walk on newly-installed floor until the adhesive dries, typically 12 hrs.
ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORS
It is uncommon to install an engineered wood floor over a plywood sub-floor because engineered hardwood floors already have a plywood core designed for stability. This allows them to be glued down directly to the concrete slab, which represents the most common installation practice for this type of a floor.
When there is a plywood sub-floor in place, the engineered hardwood floor can be nailed down or glued down as well.
- Time. It takes half the time to arrive at a finished product in comparison to a solid, unfinished installation.
- Thickness. Some engineered wood floors can be as thin as 3/8” and can go up to as thick as ¾”. This allows for flush transitions to another flooring in the home when remodeling.
- Price. Engineered wood floors can cost as little as half of what a solid wood floor may cost.
- Color and finish selection is limited to what is produced by a manufacturer
- Colors are discontinued every few years due to trend changes, making it difficult to add more flooring in the future or make matching hardwood floor repairs
- Most often, the floor cannot be refinished. Once worn down to bare wood, the floor must be replaced.
- Edges are beveled on most pre-finished hardwood floors due to a very slight unevenness.
- Specific attention is required when installing engineered hardwood floors in our dry climate. The potential of failure with engineered wood floors is greater than with a solid wood floor due to their thin wear layer.