Installing Hardwood Flooring

Learning how to install hardwood flooring is important for a long-lasting floor that won’t cause you problems. Your big question right now probably is who is handling installing hardwood flooring in your home or office. Are you installing wood flooring on top of concrete or vinyl flooring, adjacent to carpet, or directly to a plywood or OSB sub-floor? Will you get fancy by installing herringbone hardwood flooring, or stay simple and go in conventional straight lines?


Installing hardwood flooring can be a cinch, or it can be a nightmare, depending on the sub-floor you are working with and the pattern you want to create. Do you do it yourself or hire it done?


There are three general methods installing hardwood flooring in your home.


  1. Floating
  2. Gluing
  3. Nailing


When it comes to choosing the best installation method, your sub-flooring should be taken into consideration to narrow down your installation options. If you have plywood sub-floors you can choose any installation method, but if your sub-floors are concrete, floating or gluing are advised. One trick of having a professional looking job is to start at a focal point, like a fireplace hearth and work from there. Once you establish your starting point, snap a chalk line so you have a straight reference point.

You can install wood flooring on concrete with proper care. Installing hardwood on top of vinyl or linoleum flooring may not take any preparation, other than starting with a clean surface. Installing hardwood flooring to carpet will often require a reducer strip to account for the different thicknesses.

Patterns for wood floor installations can be lots of fun. You could consider installing herringbone hardwood flooring pattern. Or think about a diamond shape. Maybe using different colors of wood can create a pattern like a throw rug with one color of wood acting as the border around the simulated rug. There are so many ways you can create interest with your hardwood floor installation.

Let’s look in detail at the different installation methods.





The floating method of installing hardwood flooring has become very popular in recent years. Floating is a very stable installation method since it’s not attached to the sub-floor. It floats above it, allowing for the natural expansion and contraction of a natural product. Unlike other installation methods where each plank or strip is installed individually directly to the sub-floor, a floating installation involves gluing or clicking the boards together.
This method is very common with engineered and laminate hardwood flooring. Before beginning your floating hardwood floor installation decide if you want an underlayment (made of foam, plastic, or cork) to help insulate noise transmission. If you want that muffling, then the underlayment must be put down first. The wood flooring is then laid on top of the underlayment. The glue used along the edges can be water-based or petroleum-based, and it is applied to the groove of the plank and the boards are then tapped together using what is known as a tapping block. Excess glue is wiped off with a damp cloth. Repeat the process until the room is complete. That’s it!

The clicking method (or CLIC) literally involved clicking the tongue and groove edges together for each board you lay. it’s faster and cleaner because you don’t have to take the step of applying glue, and then wiping excess off the surface.

The floating installation is an excellent do-it-yourself method and someone with little or no experience can get great results.


Glue Down:



You opt for a glue down installation primarily when installing an engineered strip or plank floor over a concrete sub-floor. Glue down installations can be very stable once properly installed. The glue down method can be used with plywood sub-floors, making the wood floor quieter than with either floating or staple down floors because there is less creaking.

Before installing using the glue down method for your wood floor, you need to ensure that your sub-floor is level. If your sub-floor isn’t level, you can have serious problems such as popping because of improper bonding due to insufficient contact between the sub-floor and wood plank. If your sub-floor is uneven you will need to use a leveling compound before installation. Once the sub-floor is level, you can proceed with gluing your flooring using the manufacturer’s recommended adhesive. As the adhesive dries it shrinks, pulling your wood floor tighter to the sub-floor and giving a stronger attachment.

Installing glue down hardwood flooring on concrete takes care. Make sure the concrete is dry and not wicking moisture from the ground to your wood, causing it to warp. Check the levelness of the concrete and fix areas that aren’t level and smooth. Consider an underlayment to help insulate against cold temperatures.

Glue down installations are recommended for those who have experience working with the preparations methods that are described above. Be careful of fumes when working in an enclosed area too.

Nail Down:



Nail down installations are used when installing solid and engineered wood flooring. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts more than engineered and laminate flooring, so take care to acclimate the wood to your home’s interior before starting the installation.

Longer pieces should always be placed at entries and doorways if you are working with random lengths and the shorter pieces should be integrated throughout the floor. Nail down installations require that you place spacers around the perimeter of the room to allow the floor to expand and contract. When positioning your boards the groove side should be against the wall. Nails should go through the face of the boards and nails should be long enough to penetrate the sub floor by at least 1 inch.

Nail down installations will require some basic carpentry skills and specialized tools such as a floor nailer, miter and jamb saws. This method of hardwood flooring installation is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project.

Stapling, a variation of Nailing:



Staple installations have become very popular and is mainly used with engineered wood flooring. The staple down method is used over plywood or wood sub-floors. Certain woods may require specific staple sizes to ensure a secure installation; your manufacturer can give you this information.

Staple down installations are recommended for those with a moderate amount of skill using power tools. When stapling hardwood flooring, a special stapler is required. This can be rented from most equipment rental stores
Now that you know the installation methods available, you will be able to choose which is best for your hardwood flooring installation. Will you tackle the project, or hire it done?

248 thoughts on “Installing Hardwood Flooring

  1. We had hard wood put in on OSB subflooring. The wood is starting to come up and buckle all over. My husband thinks they did not use long enough nails when they put it down. Please give me any suggestions you have as to what happened. We will contact the flooring company this week. I am sick about it!

  2. There could be any number of things wrong with your floor. Short nails is a possibility, but not the likely candidate.
    How long did you acclimate the wood before laying it? If you didn’t get it used to your particular climate, it could absorb humidity, expand and buckle and cause a problem; it could also dry up, contract and split.
    You could also have a moisture problem below the floor. The OSB could absorb excess moisture, start to buckle and pass the excess moisture to the hardwood flooring.
    Check out these ideas with your installer. There could be a simple solution in store for you.

  3. Dear Flooring Lady, I have a 7/16 solid I am installing over concrete. My installer wants to install it like this-
    1. Asphalt mastic w 6 mil ply imbeded ontop of concrete.
    2. 5/8 plywood nailed into concrete
    3. 7/16 solid stapled to ply.
    I have subfloor concerns-
    I think glueing AND nailing the ply to the concrete is better than just nailing. I know that this would require me using a sealer and glue and increasing the cost but I want a trouble free floor.
    What do you think will the nails alone be enough for the subfloor?

  4. Trouble-free is what we’re all about too. Why do you have the need to glue and nail your subfloor? The approach your installer is suggesting seems like an interesting way to go, but I don’t know what your ground water/water table situation is so can’t gauge just how much moisture-proofing you need.
    Can you tell me more about why you want to take your approach?

  5. The installers way is acceptable in most texts however I am wondering if glue would hold the ply better to the concrete because many other installers swear that it does.
    My calcium choride is currently a 2 so he is being extra careful and the mastic probably overkill but ok with me.
    I am not actually concerned with moisture as I allready no I need a good barrier I am concerned with floor performance and ever single installer just says the opposite as the one prior.

  6. We want to put down wood over concrete. Is a vapor barrier of plastic ok to use even if you have moisture or not? If we don’t do the spot test to see if moisture is present is it ok to use plastic underlayment and feel secure that no problems will appear with moisture in the future ?
    We have all carpet now over concrete and without ripping up some carpet we have no place to test.
    Can we test another way for moisture without ripping up some carpet?
    Thank you!

  7. You do want a vapor barrier between your concrete and wood flooring. But not just any plastic sheeting is a vapor barrier. I’ve used Raven Industries engineered film and been very happy with the results.
    My suggestion is to not worry about testing for moisture but to act as if it’s going to be a problem and use the vapor barrier regardless of where you live and your climate. Concrete absorbs moisture, and when that happens it will go into the wood flooring and cause problems. The moisture could also get trapped between the concrete and wood and mold — you don’t want that problem — so just avoid it with a good vapor barrier.

  8. I have 3/8″ solid hardwood flooring and plan to install it in my Basement. After some research I have decided to first put down a concrete moisture sealant paint, the a 6mil vapor barrier, followed by a subflooring system called dricore. Dricore subflooring system is basically a plastic moisture barrier base attached to 1/2″ OSB. The plastic base raises the OSB off of the concrete slab 1/4″. I don’t know how I should then lay my hardwood flooring to the OSB subfloor. Essentialy it is a floating floor and I would love to glue it directly to the OSB, but dricore says not to. Have you ever heard of this dricore system or have any suggestions?

  9. The answer to the vapor barrier question is just two posts above this one: Raven Industries has wonderful engineered film vapor/moisture barriers. I have it in my crawl space to control the moisture/humidity that would impact my flooring. It works very well.
    I don’t know about Dricore, but it sure seems like over-kill with everything else you are doing. And my go to the expense of that? Or the sealant paint either. If you have water problems, maybe you need to investigate a sump-pump in addition to the vapor-proof film.
    If you live in a cold-winter climate, what are you doing about insulation? Have you considered having a slightly raised floor and using hard insulation foam board below the OSB/plywood subfloor? You could glue or nail your flooring to that. And you could also have in-floor radiant heat installed before you lay the hardwood flooring.
    If Dricore says not to use glue-down with it, it seems to me you either need to nail (staple) the flooring or not use the Dricore and use a glue-down installation

  10. I am renovating my leased fitness unit laid with a commercial flat carpet flooring. I would like to change the flooring without removing the carpet. I am thinking to install a T&G plywood over it and secure it with a reducer strip. Can I do that? The nature of my business is self-defense/fitness and small-time ballroom dancing. Thanks.

  11. You indeed can do what you are thinking about. It would be quick and relatively inexpensive. Let me suggest you buy interior-grade plywood so the floor is smooth, without splinters and knots.
    I also think you might try to do it without the reducer strips so the floor is flat, no ridges or bumps to interrupt the sliding or movement of your dancers and self-defense students. Since you are talking about using T&G plywood the pieces will fit together nicely. If you find there are gaps you don’t like between the boards, caulk the gaps to seal them. And if you buy paintable caulk, then you can paint and seal the floor for a finished look that’s also cleanable.

  12. I plan on installing bamboo hardwood in my living room. The sub-floor is aspanite. I was told that instead of installing plywood over top of the aspanite to ensure solid nailing, that I can use a combination of nailing and glueing, as long as my nails catch the floor joists. What do you think?

  13. Why not just glue the whole floor down? The glue allows for expansion and contraction and the nails would prevent that movement. Why mix the methods?
    BTW, for those unfamiliar with the term aspanite, it’s another term for OSB — oriented strand board.

  14. i want to glue a 18mm hardwood floor to my exsisting floorboards but i have put a self level screed down first will that be ok to glue straight on top

  15. If you use a good, flexible adhesive you can do this. Bostik’s Best flexible urethane adhesive is the one I recommend because of its durability under extreme conditions.
    Make sure the self level screed is completely dry before starting the floor installation for best results.

  16. We are installing 5/16″ wood in our kitchen. When we ripped up the old flooring there was a mold problem. We have remediated it & are putting in an underlayment but I’m concerned about the mold returning. I plan to put a moisture barrier between the underlayment & wood planks but is there anything else special I need to do on the existing subfloor?

  17. If the water source that attracted the mold has been removed (think leaks and absorbed ground moisture) and the mold has truly been remediated, I think you have it covered. Be sure the subfloor is thoroughly dry before starting the reflooring to avoid additional mold problems.

  18. I’m laying down 3/8″ engineered hardwoods throughout the house on a wooden subfloor. However, after nailing down the boards using a pneumatic floor nailer with 2″ nails, I’ve got bumps where the nails were put in. I’m just trying to find an explanation of why that might be occurring? It doesn’t look bad, but it’s certainly noticeable under certain lighting conditions. Please help!

  19. Thx for the response! Yes, the boards are tongue and groove and were nailed through the tongue (fairly deeply, might I add). I hope this makes sense, but the bumps are raised woods, specifically at the groove section of the board. The bump on the board is occurring from the tongue of previous board, right at the nailed spot. I’ve purchased 1 3/4″ nails to try out this weekend. I’m wondering if the 2″ nails were too long?? I’ve been renting a floor nailer, using about 90-100 psi.

  20. First of all, and I should have asked this initially, when you say nail, I trust you mean staple. A nail with a head would be the wrong thing here. I can see that pushing wood up from the groove where the nail in the tongue hits it.
    A 2″ nail indeed seems too long — you would enjoy the look of your subfloor from underneath where the nails come poking out. The staple needs to be long enough to go through the tongue and into the subfloor. You don’t gain anything by having it go through the subfloor, unless you have in-floor radiant heat, and then you have gained a leak. ;-)

  21. Hello, I have OSB on the floor joists right now, should I be putting plywood down on top of the OSB before I install the hardwood flooring? I have heard that the OSB splinters apart and then you get a creaky floor.

  22. I don’t think you need to put plywood on top of your OSB, unless you are going to put heavy wood planks, bricks or stone down for your flooring. OSB is yet another controversial building material; some think it’s the best building product while others think it’s awful.
    Most builders I know across the country think OSB is fine for floors. Right or wrong, I have bamboo flooring on top of OSB and am not having any problem with it.
    I’m not sure how long it takes for OSB to splinter and give you squeaky floors, but it’s probably nothing you need to worry about.

  23. I have a job that requires hardwood (prefinished 3/4″ T&G) to be layed over an existing vinyl floor. the floor seems very solid. No squeeks. Should I proceed?

  24. From what you have told me, I don’t know why you wouldn’t proceed. The vinyl flooring is in good condition? The addition of the T&G wouldn’t put the top of the floor above the bottom of the doors or cabinets (or the dishwasher base either)? Then go for it, if you want the job.

  25. I am installing hardwood flooring where I had carpet. It is butting up against the kitchen lino with a 1/4″ plywood underlayment under the lino. I also have ceramic tile on the other end of the room (front entrance) also with 1/4″ underlayment. Do I need to lay 1/4″ plywood underlayment under the hardwood flooring to raise the area to the same level as the kitchen and front entrance?

  26. Measure the thickness of your flooring and compare that to what your lino and tile thickness is. You should find the hardwood is as thick as the tile with underlayment and probably a bit thicker than the line with underlayment. I think you will be fine with just putting the hardwood flooring down directly. If you need any height adjustment, it will only be a little, and a cork underlayment would be a good depth to consider.

  27. Hello, I am installing 3/4″ brazillian cherry 5″ plank over 3/4 plywood. The instruction say i have to glue it and nail it. Why is this ?

  28. I am installing 3/8 inch engineered flooring on top of superflowcrete self leveler. there are several plywood subfloors below the self leveler and the leveler is no thicker than 1/2 inch anywhere. i am going to be gluing this down. do i need some sort of vapor barrier?

  29. The instructions for the plank flooring say to glue the plank to the floor, not the t&g. It says to do this when the plank are 4″ or larger. They are Somerset floors.
    What do you think?

  30. I’m installing 3/4″ hardwood flooring with a pneumanic stapler. Everything is going well but when I get to the opposite wall there is no room to place the stapler and hit with the rubber mallet. How to I nail down the remaining strips of flooring without it looking ugly?

  31. Philip, I don’t see why you would need to both glue and nail your flooring. To be really safe, contact the manufacturer to ask why they have those instructions, see what it does to the warranty if you do only one method of attachment, and make your decision.
    The one point I’m strong on is the proper acclimatizing of the flooring material to your home. Make sure the wood is adjusted to the room it’s going to be installed in for days, if not weeks, before proceeding.

  32. Carl, it can get tight against the far wall, but people manage daily. Is your stapler angle too steep, perhaps?
    As far as using the mallet to tap the last planks into place, you may have to use a “lever” against the plank that you tap with the mallet.
    I don’t remember what my flooring installers did, but the end results were as beautiful as the rest of the floor.

  33. I am attempting to lay a 3/8 floating floor on top of silent walk materials and sub-floor, The problem is the fireplace is made of flat faced concrete rock (man made) and grout. These materials are on the 3 sides (u-shaped) of the fireplace that extends into the flooring area. I am faced with significant irregular shaped rocks that I either have to contour the flooring planks or grind a 3/8 to 1/2 slot into the rocks and grout and slide the planks into the slot formed by the grinding. What is your suggestion for flexible shaping or is it better to grind the slot into the rock?. Thank you for your help and assistance. Mike B

  34. Without having seen it, my vote is for shaping the planks around the fireplace. If you grind the stone away you are left with that groove forever. What a charming look if you ever go with a thin flooring material there!
    After trimming the flooring planks to go around the fireplace, use a sandy caulk to seal the space between them. The sandy caulk will move with the floor so you won’t get cracks and chipping grout. And there are lots of great colors, like with grout, for your sandy caulk so you can make it virtually disappear.
    I’d love to see a picture of the job when you are done. I’d even be glad to post it here for others to see and get ideas from.

  35. Hi there,
    I am currently installing 3/8″ Brazilian Teak via a glue-down method over concrete. I glued down two starter rows and let them set for a few days. As with the huge variation in color and grain pattern of this wood, I decided to dry lay the rest of the flooring so I could get the pattern I wanted. In doing so I notice that every so often there are places where the wood does not fully touch the other planks, in essence creating very tiny millimeter-sized gaps noticeable if you look really close.
    Is it normal to have these tiny gaps across the flooring? If not, how does one correct this issue? Almost all of the planks align perfectly, except in a few instances.
    I have seen some ppls wood installs with severe gaps and it doesn’t seem to bother them, but I wanted my flooring job to be near flawless. Am I being unrealistic, or is there a way to not have any minute gaps at all, and have all planks aligned and flush with one another? Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to offer.

  36. I totally understand your desire for a perfect, flawless installation of your beautiful hardwood floor. I was disappointed in my bamboo installation because of the same sorts of gaps you are seeing, and because the edges are beveled.
    The reality is that it’s really difficult to get a perfect plank. If you had the luxury of buying a lot more wood than you needed you would probably be able to find enough “perfect” planks to create the installation you desire. Otherwise, try putting the lesser planks at the edge of the room or under area rugs or furniture.
    You didn’t mention whether the wood is pre-finished or if you are going to finish it in place. If you are finishing it in place, you can fill the larger gaps with a carefully matched wood putty/filler before the finish goes on (and do let it dry thoroughly before the finish goes on). The smaller gaps will be filled with the finish and virtually disappear.
    Working with natural products has pros and cons — the gaps are one of the cons for those of us wanting a perfect looking finish. Once the floor is in place and you are using the room, you’ll hardly notice them, and with time you won’t notice them at all.

  37. Thanks for your response! The wood is prefinished, with a micro-beveled edge. I will take your advice and ask everyone to please leave their magnifying glasses at home when they come to inspect my job. Thanks again.

  38. I wish the edge on my bamboo were micro-beveled. :~)
    Not only should your friends not wear their magnifying glasses, they shouldn’t play on the floor! Seriously, even you will hardly notice the difference down the road.
    The other thing that has me unhappy about my pre-finished flooring is that the wheels of my dinning room chairs leave “dents” where they roll. People tell me I’ll get to used to it, and I hope to soon. The mantra I’ve been given that I’m sharing with you is: “the dents and gaps add character”.

  39. I live in a condo complex on the 2nd floor. I am putting down and engineered floating hardwood floor. I am putting down a cork soundproof barrier but am wondering if I need a vapour barrier because I am well above ground level. Floor is going over concrete.

  40. The combination of cork and hardwood is a great one. The cork will do a great job of soundproofing your unite from the one below, and vice versa.
    I agree you don’t need a vapor barrier, though for a different reason. I assume you are gluing the cork down and floating the engineered hardwood floor; that glue acts as a vapor barrier.
    Do be sure to acclimate the hardwood in your condo for several days, even weeks, before installation. You’ll like the results better if the wood isn’t changing dramatically after installation.

  41. Hi Flooring lady,
    We are finishing our basement. The concrete floor has a coat of epoxy. We want to install a floating floor, but the floor has high/low spots (up to 1/4 inch difference between peaks and valleys). The manufacturer recommends no more than 1/8th inch over 10 feet. Is there any way to make this work? Could we glue down a plank floor over the epoxy?

  42. You probably want to use a leveling compound for your basement floor before installing your flooring. Once that’s cured you could apply your floating floor. The glue you use (my recommendation is in the thread above) will act as a vapor barrier.

  43. Hi Flooring Lady,
    I will be installing solid hardwood flooring in a room with a large raised brick hearth in the center of the longest wall. My flooring will run perpendicular to the long wall and hearth. Should I start the flooring in the center of the room and hearth to ensure equal spacing of the planks at the ends of the hearth? Also, should the flooring but right up to the hearth, or do I need to leave a gap at the hearth and install shoe molding to hide it?
    Thanks Ray

  44. That approach isn’t usual. First, it’s important for the boards to run perpendicular to the floor joists.Then the recommended approach is to start on one side of the room and work across it. The reason for that is you can keep your floor running straight and parallel to the wall. I’ve seen your suggested approach used when walls aren’t square.
    If having the boards perfectly frame the hearth is important to you the go ahead with your approach. But, take care with the straight lines. Chalk your floor where you are starting, nail a 2×4 there so you have a solid edge to work from, and go for it.
    Generally flooring doesn’t go right up against the wall, which your hearth is acting like at that point. But exceptions can be made. I think the decision you make depends on the look you want in the room.
    I don’t like the shoe molding approach because it most likely won’t lie flat against the hearth, and I wouldn’t like that look.
    My choice would be to run a thin board (1/4″ maybe) around the hearth to create a straight line to but the flooring to. When the flooring job is complete, use sandy caulk (there are several colors to choose from) to grout the space between the floor and the hearth. Consider taping the face of the hearth with painters blue tape so you don’t get the caulk on your stone. When the caulking is done you can remove the tape, smooth the caulk edges and let it dry.

  45. Hi Flooring Lady. We currently have vinyl flooring installed on top of our concrete slab/sub-floor. We are looking at getting click-together bamboo hardwood. Can this be installed directly over the vinyl? Is gluing the best method and should we use an underlayment? Thanks in advance for the help.

  46. Hello,
    I’m sure this has been asked many times, but could you tell me if it is OK to install 3/4 Oak, tongue and groove over a particle board subfloor? I was all set to begin this project when I read on another website that hardwoods should be stapled into plywood only. Is particle board the same as OSB? Thanks.

  47. Clik bamboo can be installed directly on your vinyl. If it’s a true clik (or click) flooring you don’t need to glue it. If it’s tongue and groove then gluing is the best method, given the concrete slab. My glue recommendation is found several times above this comment here in this thread.
    An underlayment isn’t necessary since the vinyl is acting like one. But if you want a bit more insulation put a cork underlayment down on top of the vinyl.
    Enjoy! I love my bamboo flooring.

  48. OSB and plywood are types of particle board, but most often particle board is compressed and “glued” sawdust. I too hear conflicting reports about whether you can floor over particle board, or OSB for that matter. My house subfloor is OSB and I have no problems with the durability.
    The biggest issue around particle board is moisture. If you can keep moisture away from the board it will endure. But moisture will make it “melt” and become unstable flooring.
    If you are sure no moisture or water will get to your subfloor, then go with it for your flooring project. But if you think you could have moisture problems, the cheapest approach in the long run is to lay plywood down first.
    Whatever you do, be sure to run the oak perpendicular to your floor joists.

  49. Dear Flooring Lady,
    I want to install 5/16″ engineered tongue-and-groove hardwood in a room on the ground level. What I have right now is a fairly level and clean concrete floor, which had been carpeted until last week. There was a thin layer of tiles between the carpet and concrete floor, but the tiles have been removed along with the carpet. I don’t notice any moist problem, but I want to make sure it remains that way. Here is what I like to do:
    1. Either put a layer of plastic sheet or apply a coat of concrete sealant.
    2. Nail and/or glue down a 1/2″ OSB to the concrete floor.
    3. Glue down the hardwood to OSB.
    Do you think my plan is workable? Thank you.
    Q Chung in Newtown Square, PA

  50. Your approach sounds like over-kill to me. Why are you putting OSB down before you install the hardwood?
    Without having that answer my response is to just glue the hardwood. Use Bostik’s Best flexible urethane adhesive. That gives you a vapor barrier and installation in one action.

  51. Very gingerly apply, directly on the glue, a solvent like a touch of WD40 or GOOF-OFF applied to a rag or Q-tip. Dab carefully. When the glue is either gone or light enough to leave you content, wash the area with water to remove the solvent.

  52. We removed carpet and found we had masonite subflooring so it too was removed down to 1/4 in. subflooring. Now we are putting down 1/2 in. plywood and removing all squeaks by reinforcing where needed. My question is this. There are no peaks and valleys, but the overall floor is off level (a ball will roll towards one end of the room. We are installing 3/4 in solid wood and were wondering should we level the floor as we lay the plywood and if so how?

  53. If you can’t live with the off-level floor you could try shimming the plywood you are installing. I think it would be a bit tricky but not impossible.
    You’d need to know just how much slope there is and create shims that depth, and increasingly less so you could have a continuous slope of shims along the joists. At least space the shims so there is some support from the high to low end of the floor. My concern if you don’t place shims along the entire space is that the plywood will bow and you’ll have squeaks again. I’m not positive of that, but it’s a concern.

  54. Hi Floor Lady,
    We are thinking about putting down 5/16 Bamboo flooring down over top of oak hardwood floor could you please tell us if we should nail or staple down the bamboo flooring, we were not for sure if stapling would go through the hardwood.
    Thank you for any information you can give us.
    Vernon December 30, 2007

  55. Dear
    Flooring Lady,
    I have 2 1/2″ wide by 3/4″ solid maple flooring.
    I also have 3/4osb subfloor. My house is about 30 years old so I assume so is my osb. I have access to a cleat nailer for free. I hear that I should only use staples in osb however. If I use cleats and also glue my fooring down will it be o.k. Or should I just rent a staple gun and still glue it down? Or if you were me would you just put #15 paper down and staple it? Helene

  56. I don’t know if I’d say it’s “advisable” to use teak in a bathroom, but it’s not a problem. With any wood flooring you want to take care to not get too much water on it or let water stand on it took long. And you want to be sure to acclimate wood flooring (wood, cork, bamboo being prime examples) to your location so it doesn’t tend to expand or shrink much once it’s in place.
    The manufacturer of your teak planks should have directions on how to install your flooring.

  57. Different contractors and flooring installer have different ideas about which is better — cleat nailer, stapler or gluing. Unless there is a reason to glue — like a concrete subfloor or a high-humidity crawlspace — I’d go with stapling or cleat nailing. I don’t see any purpose of using glue with nails/staples.
    The advantage of a cleat nailer is that nails can sometimes hold better, but staples have two contact points (compared to the one for a nail). Go with the free tool if you are so inclined. And don’t forget the hearing protection, whichever you use.

  58. We are contemplating removing our older ceramic tile and laying hardwood flooring in the kitchen and foyer. Since we already have subflooring for the ceramic, would it be wrong to lay 3/8″ hardwood versus tearing up the old subflooring and putting in 3/4″ hardwood floors? Also, I do have one “peak” and a couple of low spots to consider. What would you advise? Thank you in advance.

  59. I’m not clear as to where tile presently is in your kitchen/foyer space — it seems it’s throughout. If that’s the case, other than evening the peaks and valleys, why even put more subfloor down? The wood you are installing will be solid on the subfloor you have.
    If you have tile in one area and not in the other, to even the floor levels you’re right to lay an additional plywood/OSB layer to even things up.
    What is causing the peak in your present floor? How is additional subfloor going to get rid of the peaks and valleys you have? Not seeing the situation makes it harder to comment. Word pictures are good.

  60. Thank you for your quick response. Your assumption is correct, there is tile in the foyer and kitchen that will be replaced with hardwood flooring. Not sure what is causing the peaks and valleys, maybe either poor workmanship or settleing. The house is 22 years old. It didn’t crack or distress the existing tile. One concern I had is when they rip up the ceramic tile, how will they insure that the flooring underneath is clean and solid so that the new hardwood flooring goes on evenly?

  61. Your idea of settling is a good possibility of what the peak/valley problem is. Your house may be settling which is causing the floor joists to not be even. When the tile is removed you’ll better see what the issues are and be able to make a better determination. You may have to pull up the subfloor to shim the joists so the new subfloor and subsequent flooring are level. This “simple” reflooring may become a bigger project than you wanted and bargained for. But the results will be stupendous.

  62. We just purchased engineered oak flooring for our house and was told to glue it to our wood subfloor but sounds like stapling would be faster and just as good. Advice?

  63. The question that needs to be answered first is why they suggested you glue it. Do you have in-floor radiant heat? Will you acclimate it for days if not weeks before installing it?
    Floating your engineered hardwood flooring allows for the expansion with temperature and humidity. You can get away with a bit less acclimatization if you glue to itself but not the subfloor.
    Nailed/stapled engineered hardwood flooring affixes the floor so it won’t shrink and expand so the flooring boards need to be thoroughly acclimated to your home/office. If you have infloor heat you need to be careful to not go too deeply into the subfloor so you don’t damage the heating elements/tubes.
    Gluing is messier and slower than nailing. If the flooring isn’t T&G gluing is the best way. Nailing/stapling is noisy but fast; you can split the tongue if you aren’t careful too.
    Find out why they want you to glue it — and if they mean to the subfloor or just in the T&G — so you can decide for yourself.

  64. Thank you for your quick response. I am not sure why they said to glue it to the subfloor, we do not have radiant heat. I have just pulled out the directions from the box and we can nail or staple it. We can acclamate it for a few days and it is tongue and groove. Thank you!

  65. We are buying a 3/4″ solid wood floor. Sales person told us we can choose either nail down or glue down. I prefer glue down due to the labor cost, but I heard usually it is very hard to glue down 3/4″ hardwood floor on the concrete.
    What’s your suggestion? many thanks.

  66. If you have a concrete subfloor you really need to glue because nailing/stapling would be a challenge. Gluing is messy and slow, but it’s the best option for you, unless you want to put a plywood surface on top of the concrete to nail the wood flooring too.
    You realize there are ramifications to raising the level of the floor — impacting appliances, cabinets and doors. Gluing seems better all the time.

  67. I recently had a floating eng hardwood floor out over concrete.ABruce product, used the sheet of foam like under the floor as Bruce squeaks terribly..What can I do? The installer said the it would subside after a time from walking on it. Is he right?

  68. I used a foam underlayment for my Pergo laminate flooring years ago, and it also squeaked. I don’t know if the noise subsided or if I got used to it. Next time I install a wood or laminate floor I’ll use cork underlayment because it won’t squeak, it’s a sustainable product, and it’s better for air quality because it doesn’t offgas.
    So, after awhile you should not notice the sound — at least as much.

  69. We put in 3/8″ glue down solid hardwood over cement subfloor. A few areas seem to have become ‘unglued’ – they move when you step on them and don’t seem to be attached to the subfloor anymore. How can we fix this?

  70. Don’t you hate it when the floor moves!
    Without taking the boards up I don’t see anything you can do. It’s hard to tell if from here what the problem is. It could be a moisture problem. The floor might not have been clean enough for the glue to hold. Or the floor may not have been level.
    If it’s a moisture problem you may need to pull all the boards up, put some kind of moisture barrier down, and then reinstall the floor. It’ll be easier to first try removing the moving boards and reglue them though.
    Good luck.

  71. Hi,
    I am looking to lay a solid timber floor over a concrete subfloor. The concrete currently has linolium laid on it, should I remove that or just glue the timber floor straight to that?

  72. I just got 3/4 x5 inch brazilian cherry hardwood.My question is do I nail and glue it down? It will be going over a plywood sub-floor.I was told to use #15 tar paper as vapor barrier.I can’t glue it with the tar paper,that makes no sense.Can I not use tar paper and just glue it to plywood?

  73. First of all, tar paper isn’t an effective vapor barrier, it’s a moisture barrier though. Raven Industries makes a great vapor barrier you can lay before nailing your flooring.
    You can glue directly to the plywood, if that’s what you really want to do, and you may be able to find a glue that will act as a vapor barrier too.
    Alternatively, if you don’t want to put the vapor barrier on the plywood subfloor before installing your flooring, you can install the vapor barrier in the crawlspace, keeping the extra moisture out of your house and crawlspace all together.
    Nailing is a faster and tidier way of installing hardwood flooring. And it doesn’t impair your home’s air quality either. Is their a reason you want to glue this flooring?

  74. I have a concrete subfloor that is twelve years old, level, radiant heat in the concrete and no water / moisture problems. I want to lay down bamboo hardwood and I do not want to add a plywood subfloor. I want to glue it down. Should I put a sealer on the concrete as a vapor barrier and if so what do you recommend. Or should I just go ahead and glue it down and what glue and trowel do you recommend or both then what products do you recommend? Thanks

  75. I think your idea of a vapor barrier is a good one, even if you don’t think you have moisture problems; the vary nature of concrete means it’s wicking moisture from the ground.
    I’m guessing the reason you want to glue plywood down to the concrete is so you can nail the bamboo to that layer. That makes sense. But… you do realize that you are adding a barrier with that extra layer between your heat source and your room. Right?
    A friend of mine researched gluing cork directly to her concrete floor with radiant heat and decided upon Bostik’s Best one-part, trowel-applied, moisture-cure, urethane adhesive. One thing she liked about it was the elastomeric propeties which let the cork move as it expanded and contracted with heat and cold; it’s low VOC, maintaining good air quality; and acted as a vapor barrier.
    She loves the results especially after a flood in her house when not one cork tile popped up. That speaks well for the product, in my mind.
    So my thought is you can forgo the cost of the plywood and glue your bamboo directly to the concrete. But if you want to nail the bamboo, at least use this glue for the plywood. And don’t forget to go with shorter staples — long enough to go through the bamboo tongue and into the plywood — when you get that far.

  76. I was told to glue the floor and nail because of the wide 5″ planks.I live in chicago and because of the dif weather seasons the plank will want to cup.I also forgot to mention that I have a finished basemnt under the whole 1st follr were the hardwood is going.

  77. Thank you for your response, however, I do not want to put a plywood subfloor over the concrete. I want to glue it. I am happy that you recommend gluing directly on the concrete. With that said what adhesive product should I use? There is an adhesive Bostik D332 which also acts as a barrier. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.

  78. Mike, I don’t have experience with 5″ planks so can’t be sure of this, but it’s my hunch that if you properly acclimate the wood to your area, you won’t have cupping problems. By properly acclimating I mean to leave them in the rooms where the floor will be installed for at least a week, and maybe more. I know that’s inconvenient, but it’s well worth the effort. Cupping and cracking are the problems you could face if you don’t do that.
    I took this approach for my bamboo and have been very happy with the results. Because of the huge humidity differences between where bamboo is grown and manufactured into flooring and my dry Colorado climate I ended up with the bamboo in my dining room for 4-5 months. Decorating around it for the holidays was so special. ;~> But we aren’t having any problems with the wood cupping or cracking.
    If your basement is finished that may be sufficient moisture proofing for the wood floor.

  79. Our Northwest, Ohio house sits on 36 telephone poles, 3′ high, for fresh air flow. Asthmatic children inside. The 2×10 joists are covered with 3/4″ OSB, glued and screwed to the joists with 4″ deck screws on 8″ centers. The subfloor is insulated with Kraft paper faced fiberglass and 1″ of Owens Corning pink board is nailed to the bottom of the joists, under the fiberglass to add more insulation, protect the fiberglass from the elements, and to keep critters from nesting in the fiberglass.
    We have 3/4″ x 4″ White Oak unfinished flooring planks to install. To minimize seasonal expansion/contraction, can I glue, and nail, this floor directly to the OSB?
    Would it be a good idea to install another layer of 1/2″ plywood or OSB over the existing fubfoor so the nails do not penetrate the Kraft paper vapor barrier under the subfloor?
    Is it better to simply use the 15# felt paper over the OSB and just nail the floor down?
    Is clamping the pieces together, before nailing,like when installing engineerd flooring, a good idea, for tighter seams?
    What about edge gluing the 3/4″ flooring, like a giant tabletop?
    The two rooms are 20 x 30 and 20 x 20 with no interior walls. Is it a good idea to start in the cetner, using a narrow piece of wood between the two center rows? This would reverse the rows so the tongues are towrd the walls but is supposed to help minimize expansion/contraction.
    Hoping to hear from you. It’s been a very difficult struggle finding good information.

  80. The best way to minimize the expansion and contraction associated with wood flooring products is to let it acclimate to your house, specifically to the rooms it’ll be installed in. Manufacturer’s recommend 2-3 days of acclimatizing, but I have found that longer is better. I don’t see the need to glue and nail and think nailing is faster and fine. Besides, you don’t want to expose those kids to any more chemical fumes than necessary because of their asthma.
    You don’t need to install more plywood to protect the Kraft paper — use shorter staples. The staples need to be long enough to go through the flooring and into the OSB. To be sure you are getting a good tight “seal” you could nail/staple a bit more frequently than usual — though you don’t need to over do it.
    Why do you want felt paper? It’s not a vapor barrier. It doesn’t add thickness and therefor protection for your Kraft paper. It’s an extra step that I don’t understand the need for. If you want a touch more insulation and noise buffering, lay cork underlayment. But still staple the flooring.
    Start at one edge of the room with a chalk line, line the first board along it, nailing as you go, and work your way across the room. Be sure to keep about 1/4″ gap all the way around the room for some expansion.
    Once you are finished with stapling the flooring down, clean it, sand it, clean it and seal it with low VOC sealant. I personally like the Urethane Diamond Coat Polyurethane product for floors. Keep the kids away for a few days while you do that so their asthma doesn’t flair up.
    Good luck.

  81. Any issues with installing hardwood over linoleum? Does the lino need to be removed?
    The house is a two story with full finished basement in a four season locale. The hardwood will be installed on the main floor.

  82. If the linoleum is in good condition — no cracks or missing pieces — installing the hardwood right over it will be fine. Conserve energy, if you can, and leave the linoleum right where it is. That also saves money since you won’t have to dispose of the linoleum scraps.

  83. My subfloor is a concrete slab with linoleum on top of it. I’d like to install hardwood floors. Can I intall hardwood floors on top of the linoleum using that as the moisture barrier?

  84. Why do stores like Rite Rug tell you that you should not install hardwood flooring on to a concrete slab? In fact, they won’t install it that way.

  85. Taylor, you indeed can install your hardwood floor on your linoleum, but don’t count on the linoleum being a vapor barrier. IF you used a glue that promotes itself as being a vapor barrier you can think of the linoleum as flooring with a vapor barrier aspect, otherwise you either need to forget having a vapor barrier or apply one between the linoleum and wood flooring.

  86. Jack, there are indeed challenges with installing hardwood flooring on concrete. But with proper installation the challenges are minimized.
    Steps to include in your hardwood flooring installation include moisture proofing and acclimatizing your flooring. Sometimes you are better off using engineered flooring than solid flooring products because of dimensional stability.

  87. Dear Flooring Lady,
    Thank you for your very helpful reply. The reason for the 15# roofing paper, was that it was recommended by local flooring installers and is supposed to act as a moisture barrier since the subfloor is above a crawl space. Will the cork underlayment act as a moisture barrier? Would it help to paint the bottom of the hardwood flooring before installation?
    Thanks again for your help and finishing recommendations. It is all gratefully appreciated.

  88. I hear of roofing paper being treated as a vapor barrier, but that’s not my experience. You need to use a vapor barrier paint/sealant or film. Cork won’t act as a vapor barrier, though the glue that holds it down could act that way.
    Another option is to install the in the crawlspace and keep the moisture from coming into the house all together. That’s what I did, and love the results.

  89. Very informative site. Thank you for sponsoring it. I have a 1920 craftsman bungalow with a brick facade and approx. 3 foot crawl space below. The crawl space has ventilation approximately every 10 feet around the entire house. The subfloors are long leaf pine. The formal rooms of the house (living, dining and sun rooms) are covered with quarter sawn oak, nailed down (nontongue & groove). The remainder of the house is just exposed subfloor coated with polyurethane. I am planning to install a layer of oak over these subfloors (tongue & groove, nailed down). A subcontractor suggested a roofing vapor barrier be installed on top of the subfloors(I believe the name was something along the lines of water and ice shield). I’m interested because we have a very humid climate and I sometimes get an earthy, moist smell from below the house and the floors are very cold in the winter. Can you please tell me if I should be concerned about applying a vapor barrier over the subfloors. My greatest concern is that the vapor barrier will reduce some of the ventilation that the subfloors get from the inside portion of the the house and the possibility of mold build-up on the bottom portion of the wood floors being installed in the house. Please advise.

  90. You are wise to wonder about mold and the need for a vapor barrier. I agree you should have one, but I urge you to put it in the crawl space, right on the dirt and up the sides of the foundation walls.
    I live in a dry climate and have ventilation around the foundation perimeter as well. I have a low spot that becomes a swimming pool with rain or snow melt, and that soaks through into the crawl space. I should say it did because we have mostly fixed the problem. But I didn’t want the build up of moisture and the potential for mold either.
    My solution? Raven Industry’s vapor barrier film. See my article on this moisture barrier. I don’t smell that musty smell you are talking about any more, and the humidity in my crawl space isn’t scary either.
    Keep the moisture out of your crawl space and house, and help keep the mold away too. Let the ventilation system take care of “normal” humidity and stagnate air rather than other problems.

  91. I am installing engineered hard wood over below grade concrete floor in my basement. It will be floating and glued at the groove. Trying to decide on the layout and wondering if it is difficult or even possible to lay out a border using the same engineered wood ,only a lighter color, since it is floating. thanks for your time

  92. Hi there flooring lady,
    Do you get acceptable results installing a 21mm engineered floor floated on ceramic tiles if there are slight undulations in the floor?
    Are there big differences in the quality of engineered boards? If so, how do you tell the difference? is there a standard?

  93. It’s my understanding new flooring should be placed over a level subfloor. Low spots can be filled in with any number of products from cements to glues.
    You also need to make sure the floor structure is strong enough to support the weight of both the tile and wood.
    Some engineered hardwoods are thicker than others. I prefer the thicker ones, you never know if they’ll have to be stripped and sanded down the line and the thicker top layer would really mean a lot then.
    Good luck!

  94. I am planning on installing woodfloors in my new home. I have considered herringbone in the front foyer but am concerned it will be evoke too formal of a feel for the house where I would like all to feel welcome-whether in a a tux or flip flops. Your thoughts? Suggestions?

  95. While herringbone is a *fancier* design for a flooring option, who says it has to be *formal*? The rest of the decorating does just as much (if not more!) to influence the “feel” of the home. A warm tone floor (golden/reddish) also helps to impart a warm, homey feeling.

  96. We are looking into laying solid hardwood flooring in our foyer which allready has hardwood, dining room which has carpet and the kitchen which is linoluem. We are planning on removing the current hardwood floor and the carpet in the dining room. My question is can we lay the new flooring directly on the linoleum while laying it directly onto the subfloor in the other rooms. I am afraid that if we begin to take the linoleum up and damage a lot of the subfloor we will be forced to replace subfloor throughout the other two rooms as well? Appreciate any thoughts. Thanks

  97. Hi!
    I guess the first question is, do you know whether or not your floors are going to be even before you begin to lay down new floor? If so, then yes. Personally, I’d remove the linoleum even if it means installing a new subfloor. Again, take into consideration how level the floors are going to be throughout.

  98. Anyone know how to lay hardwood on a curve with carpet on other side of curve? Could i simply lay the harwood, sketch lines and circular saw down the sketch line? any advise is appreciated..never ran into this kind of job.

  99. Is there a ‘proper’ direction to lay engineered wood planks? I’m running planks down a 14′ hallway in 3″ width. There are two bedrooms to the right directly off the hallway. Can I move to a 5″ plank into the room and stay with the same direction? Thanks.

  100. Wow Henry….. that’s one I’ve never run into either. What are you going to do about the transition line? I’d be afraid of using a circular saw – what if you accidentally hit the carpet? If you’re wanting to stay with the curve, you could take a large piece of paper (or tape several papers together) and draw the curve on that, cut it at the line and use that as a template for cutting the engineered hardwood.
    Only other thing I can think of is if you can cut the carpet to make a straight line so that you can have a straigh line with the engineered wood flooring too.

  101. Hi Carol,
    Yes, I think that would be ok to do – lot of people do it that way. You can run the planks in the rooms in the same or different direction as the hallway. If you change direction, you’ll want to put in a threshold in the doorway to cover the transition.

  102. thank for feed back. carpet will be pulled back and possibly replaced. im worried about the transition line along the curve also. would the carpet overlap the cutt line enough to hide the cut? don’t think that t-molding or anthing along that lines would look good on a curve. I priced job so high..can’t even believe she still wants it done…..if anyone reading this blog has done this before please let me know.

  103. Hi Henry and welcome back,
    Is she totally against making the edges straight? Seems to me that’d be easiest way to go. I wouldn’t know whether or not the carpeting would hide the cut because I don’t know what kind of carpeting it is plus the fact that new carpeting might wind up being put down anyway. Now if you knew a carpenter who was really creative and could make you a curved t-molding……you’d be just fine!
    You might just want to ‘fess up’ to the lady and tell her you’re not really sure what would be the best way to go about this; I’m sure she’d appreciate your honesty rather than just trying something and risk botching the job & your reputation.
    What’s on the other side of the curve right now? Is it something that will be removed before laying down the new floor and might possibly be the same thickness as the wood you’re wanting to use? I’m only asking because if you’re planning on laying the wood floor on top of what is presently there, then you may run into problems that having two different heights will create. Don’t want her stubbing her toes now you know!

  104. The trick in doing a curved hard surface with carpet adjoining it is getting the carpet to lie nicely along the curved edge. I often see metal strips (I don’t know the name but they are commonly used in places where two different surfaces are joined) used because the metal will bend, if done gently and carefully.
    It looks great when done well. Good luck.

  105. thanks for feedbacks…the entire room is now i will be replacing about half the carpet with hardwood. I the one person is talking about sluter stripping. does anyone think sluter strip will bend well and look good? wonder if wood sluter would work or if rubber t-molding would just look to commercial…

  106. Hi Henry,
    It seems to me that you’re just going to have to go with whatever works. I have never used Schluter products, so I can’t advise you there. Their webiste is and look up the flooring transition products they offer. Make use of the “Contact Us” link on the right-hand side.
    If you cannot find anything that bends well then rubber will probably be your only option. I would think that there are many ‘looks’ these days and you might be able to find something that doesn’t look ‘too commercial’. Remember too, that even if you went with a wood strip that it’s going to get some wear & tear and will eventually have to be polished, stripped, etc. — this might be tricky since it’s going to be right next to the carpet. Metal will get wear too and possibly dents & dings, so rubber might not be as poor of an option as you think.

  107. HENRY~
    I found this discussion because I “googled” the precise question you’ve asked! I recently purchased a 1000 sq ft condo and given the architecture it has very little character (in my opinion). I’m ripping out ALL the flooring (main carpet, bath linoleum, kitchen laminate, etc). I’m doing hardwood in the dining room. I want to create an arch/curve from the entry to the dining room to add character. My father-in-law is a general contractor and helping me with my various projects. Needless to say he thinks my curved floor idea is wacky but gave me hope with this option: we’ll be cutting one piece of custom molding/edge out of wood the same thickness as the floor. This way. the edge can be made prior to the last few cuts on the floor and a circ saw can be used to fit the custom piece. The carpet is being laid very last so the carpet guy will have to deal with joining appropriately with the curve. I am now liking the sounds of rubber though… for durability… hmmmmm. We’ll have to keep in touch so I can find out how your project turned out!

  108. hello
    i have a few questions, i am laying 1x6x8 pine for my hard wood floor. i do have a fireplace that i can start from, i would also like to have a diamond pattern in the middle of my room, how do i accomplish that,

  109. We want to glue solid red oak to a osb type subfloor…Is this recommended? We are milling the boards ourselves so we can plane them as thin as we need to – I have been see anywhere from 5/16″ to 3/8″. I also read about not using a tongue and groove just butting the edges together – any comments with these methods? I have been seeing comments on both sides, but mostly it has been “Do not glue solid wood flooring”.

  110. i would like to know what is best, my plan is to lay 1x6x8 pine wood floor, i want to glue it down and use cut nails also but the nails are for the look is there anything that i should watch out for, when doing this, thanks to anyone who replys

  111. Hi Mike,
    Basically it boils down to you can do whatever you’d like to do no matter what anybody else says. Personally, I’d go with t&g and nailing because wood does expand and contract with humidity and temperature, which is also why it’s important acclimate it first. I don’t know what kinds of extrememes you flooring will experience, if much of any. I could go to great legnths to explain lots of pros & cons of different methods, but you’ve been there already and you know what they are already.

  112. Hi Philip,
    What are you laying the wood over? I’m not sure by what you wrote about “anything to watch out for”, as far as what? The biggest thing for starters is to make sure your subfloor is level and your floor joists are strong enough to handle the weight of the wood, especially if you’re laying it down over an old floor. Watch out that your new floor isn’t too high for your current doors. I hope that helps, I’m sorry I can’t help more.

  113. Flooring Lady,
    I layed a pine hardwood floor in my living room, it was layed over the original sub floor. the subfloor was level. i have put 4 coats, of polyurethane gloss down, i do have a dog, is that enough coats to protect the floor, or should i do a couple more. do they sell a product to clean hardwood floors, or is there anything that you can suggest. thanks

  114. My husband and I laid cherry hardwood flooring ourselves in our living room. Home Depot suggested a petroleum based adhesive which we used. This was very messy and some has been left on the flooring which we have not been able to get up with mineral spirits and a variety of other methods we have tried. What do you suggest? We are very afraid of taking the finish off the floor.
    cathy 08/06/08

  115. Hi Cathy,
    Not knowing exactly which adhesive or flooring product you’ve used, my suggestion would be to call the manufacturer of the adhesive first to see what they recommend, you could try calling the flooring manufacturer too, but I would think the first option would really be better.
    Good luck, I hope you can get it removed without damaging the finish…..
    I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed that somebody at Home Depot steered you to a petroleum product when there are so many other products on the market now that are so much more environmentally friendly – having low or no VOC’s.

  116. Flooring Lady,
    My friends bought a “co-op” apartment,
    and one room 9×10 had carpeting.
    They took off the carpeting and found
    a mix of linoleum tile and big plywood
    patches (even though it is a small room :-)
    The floor seems sound now, but there
    are seams where there is a drop or rise
    of 1/8″. They were told an engineered
    floor needs absolutely flat. Do you
    recommend anything? (They need something
    that can be done quickly :-)

  117. We just bought an older home that has indoor/outdoor or idustrial looking carpet installed over the concrete slab in the kitchen. Can we put a laminate tile or wood over it? It’s very flat and has no tears – it’s just very ugly.

  118. Hi Dusti,
    I don’t think I’d recommend doing that for a couple reasons. It might trap mold/mildew in the carpet (under the new flooring) which could create a health hazard – especially if black mold should develop. You need to find out if the concrete has any moisture issues – moisture does get through concrete from underneath you know. Not only can this lead to mold/mildew between the concrete and your new floor (in the carpet), but the dampness will ruin your new floor.
    So, you’ll need to discover for yourself if the concrete collects moisture – I’m not talking about puddles of water, just moisture content within the concrete itself. There are kits that can be bought (Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) to check this. If there is moisture, you’ll need some sort of vapor barrier over the concrete – plastic or sealer you can apply with a brush or roller – before you put down your new floor. You can read more about barriers simply by typing in the words in the search engine located at the upper right hand corner of this page.

  119. I suppose it could work, but I would think it’d be a bit tricky to do and consider that out of the norm……..
    Why isn’t the company using a product to ‘self-level’ the floor instead of glue?
    A friend of mine said that the people who laid one of her floors used glue on the stairs, but it took days for it to dry, even in dry climate. They couldn’t step on it for days in order to not disturb the glue while it was drying.

  120. Hi,
    I want to install an oak floor in my dining room.. the only problem is that once I removed the carpet I realized there are two vinyl floors underneat (the older one has been there prior to 1980). Can I lay the oak floor over the vinyl flooring?

  121. Hi Roe,
    I really wouldn’t recommend it. Hardwood flooring is rather expensive and I figure if you’re going to spend the money on it, then you ought to do the job right. Please, seriously consider removing the old flooring and make sure that you have a good even surface for your new flooring. After all, who knows what your subfloor is going to be like under the vinyl? It might be in bad shape and need to be fixed up or replaced to protect the investment of your hardwood floors.

  122. Hi, can I nail 18mm solid oak flooring into a 20mm chipboard subfloor using secret nailing. The chip board is over 10 years old and appears sound

  123. Hi Davis,
    You can if you want to, but I’d recommend putting down some sub-flooring first. Actually, you’d be better off to use plywood rather than chipboard just because it’s stronger – I’m really suprised that the chipboard is still in good shape after all these years and I’d be worried about just how much longer it will stay that way.
    You didn’t mention anything about what the chipboard is on, if there’s any vapor barriers or anything else that might help with making a decision. So…….I’ve based my answer on what limited information you’ve provided.

  124. I currently have 3/4″ hardwood in my dining room. I am remodeling my kitchen adjacent to the dining room and would now like to continue the hardwood floor into the kitchen. (Currently have vinyl in kitchen) Due to the difference in grades, could I use 5/8″ with the current 3/4″? It is the same brand color, etc. Also would you recommend putting in cabinets or floor in first?

  125. I’m planning to install 3/4″ solid hardwood flooring over a concrete slab with 2×4 sleepers and 3/4″ t&g plywood subfloor. This is over a 30 year ol concrete slab on grade in Tucson, AZ. Question is, do I need a moisture barrier? There is no evidence of moisture on the slab.

  126. Hi Carl,
    I’m not sure what you mean by there not being any evidence of moisture on the slab. Have you tested it? There are test kits for this. The concrete doesn’t have to appear wet or damp for there to be moisture. I’d suggest applying at least some sort of moisture barrier paint first or something like Raven Industries moisture barrier under the 2×4 sleepers.

  127. Thanks for the prompt reply. I haven’t tested the slab, but what happens if there is no moisture barrier? Does the moisture get trapped and form mold? Is the wood affected adversly? The house is air conditioned and we live in the desert with about 10″ of rain a year. Thanks again. Carl

  128. Hi Carl,
    Yes, the moisture can get trapped and form mold and compromise/damage the wood, starting from underneath. Granted, this isn’t going to be as much of a problem as someplace with more humidity, but it can still be a problem none the less.

  129. I had a hardwood floor installed about a year ago.  Within six months of the installation, I notice “warping” in several areas of the room.  The floor was “glued down” to the concrete slab.  Would you give me a suggestion as to how I could fix that “warping”?  Thanks, Erica     New Orleans, LA

  130. Hi Erica,
    I’m not sure the warping can be fixed. From what little info you’ve given me, it sounds like there’s been either too much moisture or whatever it was laid down upon wasn’t level. The only thing that can be done is to start over.
    You didn’t mention what the hardwood was glued on to, but if it was concrete, was there a moisture barrier of any kind?

  131. Can I install solid [maple] hardwood floor on chip wood [chipboard ]subfloor [5 yeras old in excelent condition] ?
    We have gotten conflicting advice of them is
    that hardwood flooring can be put down over OSB but you should use flooring staples not nails. And it is recomended that you put down 13 Lb. felt with 4″ overlay between the flooring and the OSB [?]

  132. Help I want to glue prefinished hardwood flooring to a slab that has 20 year old lanolium on it. Do I have to remove the lanolium? Can I glue hardwood to a slab without complications.

  133. i was looking at your self-leveling compounds and was curious if you had a product that you can nail through in order to be able to lay down a 3/4″ hardwood oak floor afterwards

  134. Hi Alex,
    What is the felt supposed to be for? Probably to help muffle noise? If it’s supposed to be for a vapor/moisture barrier, I’d use something else – there are products made for the sole purpose of being a moisture/vapor barrier.
    I concur, staples are best when installing on top of USB or plywood.
    I would say that it’d be ok to put the floor on top of the OSB, though I prefer plywood. Are you planning on using any kind of subfloor board (you know, the thin hard kind) in addition to the USB for stability?

  135. Hi Theresa,
    You could glue the engineered hardwood over the linoleum, but make sure that the adhesive will actually adhere to it. If you don’t know, call the manufacturer – if you’ve already bought it. If you haven’t, hopefully where you plan to purchase the adhesive will be helpful in that aspect and if there not, make a list of what products you’re thinking about buying, who the manufacturers are, phone numbers if they’re on the container. You can usually find the manufacturer’s sites on the internet along with contact informaiton.
    Now, as to be able to lay it without complications, that’s a whole different story. I can’t say because I don’t know if your floor is level. You really need an even floor before you lay the engineered hardwood on it.

  136. Hi Marya Jo –
    I’m sorry, I don’t sell products, though I can recommend Ardex K-15 or one of the Mapei self leveling products. How deep are the areas that need filled? Sometimes, contractors use little strips of plywood and use the levelling compound in between them – everything even! This is mainly so that they have something to nail into rather than trying to nail into the self-levelling compound (cement), which can break it up. A lot of contractors will also use scraps of shingles and/or roofing felt if the areas to be filled in are rather shallow. Yes, it’s a common practice and works!
    Wood floors can usually accomodate some unevenness in the subfloor (especially dips as opposed to high spots). The planks tend to bridge the imperfections. In other
    words, you may not need to use leveling compound unless the floor is really uneven, and even then, a good sanding might be enough.

  137. HI Flooring Lady
    Felt..i did not have any idea why I should use it , probablly, as you said,
    for noise..that room in on the second
    floor an it does not have any moisture [sob is in exceletnt condition]..
    What kind of subfloor board ?
    Can I put paper and directly nail to SOB ?

  138. Being on the 2nd floor explains a lot. ;~) Yes, the felt is to absorb sound and also used to even out any small variances in the OSB (slight dips, etc.) – which, it wouldn’t suprise me if you don’t have any.
    There is a thin, smooth subfloor material that is commonly used over plywood or OSB. It’s not always necessary.
    Some other things to consider: Creaking wood floors can be the fault of an improper subfloor thickness. Recommended thickness for plywood or OSB subfloor panels is ¾ inch for joists spaced 19″ or less apart center on center. Anything thinner can make the floor creak when it bends under the weight of foot traffic. Wider joist spans can also cause the same problem. Just thought I’d throw in, especially since I don’t know how far apart your joists are.
    Paper? Do you mean felt paper? If so, yes, use it to help muffle noise.
    Yep – nail it.
    Good luck!

  139. Alex – cork would be a better noise muffler than felt paper. The cork will downright deaden footsteps, creaks, and conversations between floors. I wish I’d done it for my first floor too.

  140. Flooring Lady,
    Thanks again for your good advice. Here’s the new situation. We filled in a sunken living room with a sleeper system and 3/4″ t&g plywood subfloor to match the height of an adjacent concrete floored dining room. We would like to run the same material from one room to the other continuously across the change in materials and perpendicular to the change. Can we do a glue down across this gap with either hardwood, bamboo or engineered flooring, or is floating the best option? If we float, then does that rule out bamboo? Thanks again.

  141. And one footnote:
    Is there a material that can span the joint between dissimilar subfloors for a glue dow? Can the wood over the plywood subfloor be nailed and the glued over concrete?
    Again, many thanks

  142. Hi Carl,
    There such a thing as floating engineered bamboo flooring – the link takes you the page on this site that tells about it. Very durable and beautiful.
    You should be able to glue down or float, just depends on your your preference.
    You’ve lost me on the second posted question – try again. Perhaps need more info on your idea that you’re getting at too.

  143. I have an engineered hardwood floor glued down on concrete. There is one spot that gives where a small area of concrete wasn’t completely level.
    What could be done now that the floors are installed? Is there anything that could be put under it that the board could still be glued to?

  144. About the only thing I can think of is maybe putting something like roofing felt under it (or something else that’s thin). I don’t know how much you need to build it up, but you can use multiple layers of the felt. Obviously, it won’t glue onto the cement, but you can glue the felt to the cement if you feel the need. Good luck!

  145. My installer put in cardboard to even out a dip in the sub floor before nailing down the hardwood. when questioned says that it will be ok. I am not sure. can any thing be done? many thanks.

  146. Hi Flooring Lady,
    We are installing solid 5/8″ thick bamboo on a concrete subfloor. If the bamboo needs 5/8” to expand and contract how could we install the wood around the fireplace mantel? Is it ok to put the wood right up against the tile? Would we have to use a reducer? The tile around the fireplace is about 1/4” thick so the bamboo reducer doesn’t lay flat. Please help we are at a stand still.

  147. Selena,
    When I installed my bamboo floor I acclimated it, following The Flooring Lady’s advice, for much longer than the manufacturer recommended. When it was as dry as it was going to get I left a 1/2″ gap around the perimeter of the room for possible expansion — except at the fireplace. I used sanded caulk so that it would expand and contract with the little bit of movement I anticipated I’d have in our floor. Years later it’s working fine. I had tried grout but it cracked so I cleaned it out and replaced it with the sanded caulk.

  148. One last question, we are debating on weather to install the bamboo all the way into the kitchen since the family room and kitchen flow right into each other. Whate would you recomend, wood Vs tile?
    For all the help on my first question.

  149. Is it important to have 5/8″ instead of 3/8″ bamboo flooring? Or is the thickness of the subfloor the important factor?
    Please answer by email. Thanks.

  150. Hi Selena,
    It’s really more of what you personally like, it doesn’t matter if it’s tile or continuous with just the bamboo – either will look just fine. So, I guess the big question of the day is “What do you like?”

  151. Hi Maris,
    Those are both important things to consider. The sturdier your subfloor is, then the less problems you should have with your hardwood that you install.
    Thicker is better when it comes to the hardwood itself because the thicker it is the more times it can be refinished sucessfully before you would have to replace it.

  152. We are installing 5/16″ hardwood flooring and we have been receiving some conflicting information.
    I read that if we do not buy the $120-150 (1408) glue we will regret it in the long-run but my husband had a floor installer tell him that we would be equally served by the $70 glue (1407) because the wood is so thin. Which is true? What glue is the best for our job?
    Also, this floor installer told my husband that we did not have to nail the wood down on the second floor. He said that we could just as well glue it to the wood (particle board/plywood?) subfloor and we would not have any problems.
    Could you please give us some guidance as to what is truly best?

  153. Hi Cassandra,
    I don’t know which glue would be better, I’d suggest using your favorite search engine to research what others say about those products.
    As far as the second story floor is concerned, most installers will lay felt on the floor first (to help muffle noise downstairs) and nail it. I wouldn’t recommend gluing it and I’m not sure how common this is for installers to do. Less work – yes….. better? I don’t know.
    If it were my house & money, I’d opt for a second or even third opinion/estimate.

  154. Hi FloorLady
    We opted for the bamboo in the kitchen but now I was wondering if its ok or do we even need to install the bamboo under the stove?

  155. Hi Selena,
    Yes, you need to install the bamboo under your appliances.
    You need to really take care in shopping bamboo flooring – I’ve heard from lots of consumers who have had problems with splitting, cracking, etc. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s the fault of the owners or installers and really think that you must watch out for bad batches. Make sure you get a very good warranty on the flooring product and that you follow the warranty in regards to who/how it is installed.

  156. What should we look for as far as a bad batch of bamboo flooring? The bamboo is 5/8 thick 3 3/4 wide it has a lifetime structural integrity and 25 yr finish warrenty.

  157. In general, you can’t really tell if it’s a bad batch until after you’ve installed it. Keep in mind that you should read over the warranty and install the flooring in such a manner so that the warranty isn’t violated – just in case a problem with the flooring should crop up down the road.

  158. I have a floating engineered flooring that I am installing over concrete. I will be putting a vapor barrier down but my question is, with living here in Florida, is it alright to make this a floating floor and still glue the boards together at the click grove side? I have heard 2 different opinions on this. One said it will make it more stable/solid and the other said that it can create buckling since it is. Any help will help alot.

  159. Hi Dennis,
    So long as you acclimate your flooring first you should be fine with gluing. Living in Florida, I would assume it’s always pretty humid, right? Acclimating your flooring product first is very important – just lay out the boxes of flooring on the floor for at least a week – this ensures that it is adapted to the temperature and humidity of the room before you ever install it. It is also important to follow manufacturer’s installation directions and leave a gap where the floor meets the wall (which can be covered with trim). This gives the flooring the extra room needed for when it expands due to fluctuations in humidity & temperature when it happens. Making sure that it has room to expand will also help to prevent buckling. Good luck!

  160. I live in San Antonio TX. Weather to the extreme, however, we have enclosed our garage and the laundry room/office area is in need of new flooring. Previous was commercial grade carpet w/padding. I would like to use tile or bamboo click-type flooring from Costco. If the garage floor does not have a vapor barrier, is it safe to use either of those floor coverings? The room is climate controlled.

  161. Hello Inelda,
    I would presume that you’ve had no moisture issues since it sounds like you’ve had the carpeting for quite sometime and haven’t written anything to the contrary. It sounds like you don’t have any moisture issues (based upon the fact you haven’t mentioned that you have!), so I would presume that either choice should be ok.

  162. Hi Flooring Lady. You have a great site.
    We are having dark maple flooring installed in a 1st floor home office room with the usual plywood subfloor. We have not had any experience with this before and want to know what to expect and have a few questions.
    1) I’ve heard people say to make sure they put down a felt underlayment. What is this for and is it a necessity?
    2) how would an installer compensate for any uneven surface before installing? The sub floor appears level but not all the plywood panels does meet up perfectly flat everywhere and I’m afraid it would result in raised boards once installed.
    3) I do not believe the installers being used by this store are union nor FIC certified. Should I be concerned?! Should all installers be certified or is this not typical?
    The store owner says he’s been using the same crew for years with no complaints.
    4) This install is replacing carpeting. We’ve removed the old carpet but do the installers typically do that and remove the old tak strip, base boards and any other prep or do we need to do more prep before they arrive?
    Nick Basso
    Augusta, Mo.

  163. Hi Nick, I’ll try to answer your questions in order. 1.) The felt underlayment helps to muffle footsteps that could be heard downstairs. It’s also good for helping any minor variances in subfloor height. 2.)see number 1 – extra pieces of felt can be used if needed. 3.) If the store owner has a good reputation while using this crew for years, then chances are you’re ok. If you’re not satisfied, it falls back on the store owner. 4.) It just depends. The best thing to do is ask the store owner if the price included removal of the old carpeting.

  164. Is it possible to instal 5/8″ oak hard wood and use the glue down method over existing linoleum? I worry about a couple of rips in the linoleum and if I would get “pops” from the uneven existing linoleum?

  165. Yes you can, though you’re going to get a better end result if you take up the lino first. I’m not sure how large the ‘rips’ are and because of that I can’t tell you if you’d ‘pops’, but you may be able to fill them in with a grout material first to eliminate that worry. You could even cut out those areas if necessary and then apply grout.

  166. We have a large great room that we are installing engineered wood flooring on. We had always planned on floating the floor but an installer who came out today to give us a quote said that the area is too big to float and that buckling is more apt to occur. I have never heard that floating a floor has size limits. OUr room is about 25 x 30. Can we float it? Or do they want to make more money by glueing it?

  167. Hi Debbie,
    I don’t know why buckling would be a problem so long as there were enough expansion space left around the edges. Have you already picked out the flooring? I’d suggest giving the manufacturers a call.

  168. Hi Debbie
    I read your excellent article but I am still unclear about the floating floor. I have solid tongue and groove walnut flooring. I was going to nail this down to my plywood sub-floor. However, I have glue left over from my floating bamboo floor downstairs. Can I glue (float) this walnut floor or must it be nailed? Thanks.

  169. Hi Jody,
    It depends on what installation methods the manufacturer suggests. Most can be glued at the tongue & groove and even glued down. Have you given any thought to refinishing your original walnut floor?

  170. Hi
    I like the “flooring lady” heading….
    We are installing solid oak upstairs. in a 2 storey house. We jsut took carpet out off the room that is over the garage. THe plywood is complete covered with pastic sheeting. My guess as a vapour barrier (it’s cold in canada). Should I leave the plastic and isntall ontop? Also do I need the underlay paper on top of the plastic if I am to keep it?
    Thanks so much

  171. Hi Sabine,
    It wouldn’t hurt to keep the plastic – I’m sure it was put there as a vapor barrier since the room is over the garage. Another good idea would be laying cork tiles before your flooring. Usually this is done on a second story to muffle the sound of footsteps and such, but in this case it would add a little insulation.

  172. Can I install Cumaru 4″ Wide x 3/4″ Solid Hardwood floors over old 5.6″ wide plank sub-floor? The house was built in th 50’s hence they did not use plywood as a subfloor. Please advise. Thanks!

  173. Is it okay to install naildown bamboo flooring over existing original flooring? THe existing flooring appears to be some kind of reddish wood, perhaps cedar?
    My house is a 1941 story and a half. The subfloor appears to be made of 2 x 12’s running diagonal accross the joists/trusses.
    The bamboo flooring I am installing is frm Supreme Bamboo and measures 3.75 x 5/8.
    Thank you!

  174. Hi Flooring Lady
    I want to replace the floor in my condo with a solid
    3/4 inch oak. I don’t really want to install plywood over the concrete sub-floor then install tongue/groove oak over that. I wondering if the glue down method or floating would work for solid floor as the solid wood floor is affected more by moisture & climate. Thanks
    Regards Patrick

  175. Hi Patrick,
    A floating floor is always a good idea where you need to consider expansion needs. Just make sure that the manufacturer of the particular flooring choice you decide upon actually lists glueing or floating as an acceptable method of installation.

  176. Hi Flooring Lady,
    We are having Bruce Hardwood Solid Oak 3/4 inch finished wood installed in our game room and hallways on the second floor. My question is what is the best type of underlayment to use to reduce foot noise? The flooring will be nailed down to 3/4 inch plywood the original builder flooring.

  177. Hi Flooring Lady, I have two rooms that have 1/2 inch engineered wood floors glued down to concrete. I would like to cover them with 3/4 inch solid hardwood flooring. What would be your suggestion? Would this be possible with maybe a 1/2 inch plywood layer between for nailing depth?

  178. I am installing a glue down engeneered floor. I have a 3/4in OSB subfloor and I am installing a 1/4in plywood underlayment. I am leaving 1/8in gap between wood. My question is do I need to patch the seems and the screw head holes.

  179. Hi Tony,
    What do you mean by leaving a 1/8 gap between wood? Do you mean between sheets of plywood or around the perimeter of the room? You’ve lost me. You do need to patch screw head holes. Seams don’t need patched so long as they’re flush (butted up next to each other well).

  180. is it okay to lay hardwood fllor over laminate…. under the laminate is osb…. is this accepatble practice. or will it cause me greif in the future??? the fact that the nenoleuw is not a solid material… will it be an issue

  181. You need to make sure that the area is perfectly level and free of dirt and debris to ensure that the flooring that you install will remain secure. Please see my article “Hardwood Flooring Installation” for more information.

  182. Hi Flooring Lady,
    Thank you for the great web site!
    I live on the third floor of a condo with concrete subfloors. What ever route I decide to go, I will need to install a cork underlayment. My question is, can I install 5/16″ solid maple on top of the cork underlayment or do I need to go the engineered wood route?
    Thanks in Advance!

  183. Hi Franklin,
    If you are nailing (which would be a challenge) you can use solid wood. If you are floating it, then engineered would be the best answer. You would want to either use a click system or glue the edges to get a good float.

  184. Hi Flooring Lady
    I’m installing engineered floor on concrete in two rooms that used to have carpet. I noticed that there is some glue residue on the concrete perhaps from old carpet padding glued to the concrete floor. I’m debating whether to glue or float. I understand that if I glue I need to clean the concrete, I’m wondering if cleaning the concrete is as critical if I float the floor,

  185. will be putting engineered flooring over concrete. One company suggests glueing and the second can do either but suggests floating. Both products are Bruce flooring in 3″ planks. I am aware of pros/cons of each and like the idea of the barrier with the floating floor but worried it will sound hollow and not ‘feel’ like a wood floor. I also would guess my concrete in basement is not all that perfectly level. I wish I knew what a floating floor really felt like to walk on. what do you suggest?

  186. Hi Don, you should look for the thicker engineered flooring and then request an upgraded underlayment. This will greatly reduce the “hollow” effect to the point that the “floating” aspect will not be noticeable.

  187. Thanks for your info. The product is going to be the Bruce Springdale Plank 3/8″ x 3″ and the underlayment the company uses is Quiet Walk. I have done a lot of research on QuietWalk and it appears it is among the best. Also, the Bruce Springdale Plank has a thicker solid wood top and appears to be a good engineered product. Given these facts, would you float or glue if you were doing this job over ground level concrete floor?

  188. Hi,
    I know nothing about floor installation but know what I want to do. Setting:
    Beach Cottage: 1st Fl carpet over slab; 2nd Fl carpet over plywood; 3rd Fl carpet over plywood.
    Change: Put wide, rustic wood plank floor OVER 2nd Fl carpet.
    Question: What is a “REDUCER STRIP” as referenced above for this type of installation. Advance thanks.

  189. Will be installing Bruce engineered red oak wood floor over concrete in walk-out basement (split foyer home). One installer suggests floating while the other two say glue. Would you suggest glueing or floating? I really want a solid feel but am wondering if the quiet walk under the floated floor would be a safer way to ensure against any future moisture vapor issues. Your suggestions as to float or glue?

  190. We had a lower grade engineered flooring installed (Floating) over linoleum tiles. The tiles have been down over a concrete basement floor for 8 years without any problems. One month after the wood floor was placed it began to buckle, so much so, that we were walking on a wavy floor. Some heavy gym equipment, ie: a treadmill and rowing machine are on top of a rubber grid mat that we placed over part of the wood floor, to protect it from scratches, but that only encompasses 1/3 of the room. The rest of the room is also wavy.Is there any way we can glue down the floor before it is permanently warped?

  191. Cate,
    Different moisture levels affect the two different sides of the wood flooring at one time which leads to the warping. If the moisture levels were the same on both sides of the wood,you would only have to deal with expansion and contraction properties.
    If the warranty is valid on the installation I would contact the professional who installed the flooring and ask their opinion.

  192. Don,
    Moisture issues are always a concern and as I stated to Cate a professional installer who is familiar with the moisture levels in your home could make the proper assessment. Perhaps you can ask for references from your installer to see work they have completed in the past and how the flooring has held up.

  193. My husband and I are looking at 12mm laminate flooring. For added interest to the large living/dining room combination – L-shaped room – I wanted to use 2 colors. A darker color border all around the room. Is this possible?

  194. I would like to do a herringbone pattern on concrete. i have laid tile but new to wood. Is there a book or web site I could go to. I would like to do a floating floor

  195. Liz,
    Click HERE for a PDF from the Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association on their recommendations for Herringbone Floor Installation. It will answer most if not all of your questions on the installation of Herringbone Floors Installation.

  196. Hi. I’m nailing solid red oak hardwood planks (3/4 x 2 1/4) on top of a wood sub floor that is solid but has some surface imperfections left from the glue previously used to hold down vinyl we removed.
    Do I need to use leveling compound or will the nails secure it and keep it from popping and squeaking? Any reason I couldn’t just use a thin foam padding similar to floating floors? Thanks, Jason

  197. Jason,
    It really depends on the manufacturer of the wood and how imperfect the subfloor is. Are the planks going to be tongue and groove? I would suggest consulting a local professional about your sub floor as well as your concern with the popping and squeaking.

  198. Hello,
    I currently have hard wood floors, the floor has deteriorated over the years. The floor is almost 20 years old. Do you recommend that I have someone professionally restore the floor or should I replace it altogether? Also, is it possible to put hardwood floors over existing hardwood floors?

  199. Norma,
    You could refinish the floors yourself or if you are concerned the floor is unstable and needs replacing I would indeed call a local professional to inquire not only if the floors can be refinished but if a new floor can be laid over the old floor.

  200. OK I need some assurance about my current work on a installing herringbone floors over a concrete via glue down method.
    The floor installation is going great no problems and everything is nice and straight (used Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association on their recommendations for Herringbone Floor Installation) as its great write up.
    Here is my question- I takes me about 2.5-3 hrs to install just 10 sq ft of flooring- is this normal- this includes all the final clean up of floor. I have installed about 100 ft of floors and now I stand at about 30 hr of labor.
    Its not that hard but very very very labor intensive as I do one board at the time. Am I missing something here or what as far as labor time is concerned – had few floor guys tell me that they can do the whole room of 250 sq ft in a single day and but I find this to be impossible – plus once they head herringbone they just run away and never hear from them again
    Also second question- some planks I have to hammer in (not directly of course) as its very tight fit -the floor is very tight and looks nice but will this cause me problems later on or its OK
    Anyone can lay straight floors even monkeys but the herringbone floor now we are talking craftsmanship
    no wonder no one wants to install it these days at it takes time and patience

  201. Hi Z man.
    Proper gluing of wood floors is time consuming. Herringbone is a tine-consuming style. You have chosen a labor-intensive approach so yes, it’s normal for it to take a long time.
    Regarding the tightness, if the wood has been completely acclimated, there are no water/moisture issues, and an expansion gap has been left around the edge of the floor then there shouldn’t be any problems with that beautiful-sounding floor.

  202. I have a concrete sub floor which is covered in foambacked carpet. this carpet is quite flat and has been down for 10 years, I want to lay Parkwood flooring. (tongue & groove) Is it OK to lay directly on the old carpet. (its a nightmare to take up we did it in one of the bedrooms which took ages as we had to scrae it off inch by inch!!)

  203. Noz,
    You could follow the instructions for floating the the flooring. I would make sure that the carpet is clean and dry before covering.
    Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave it, though I can’t tell you why. My hunch is that the foam backing will decay with time and that will cause he floor to move in unexpected ways. Yes, it does act as some insulation, but…

  204. Hi,
    I live in a high rise condo. It’s approximately 35 years old with slab floors that are presumably well cured. There is 1/4″ cork pad affixed directly to the slab. I’m considering laying vertical bamboo floors and was wondering if the glue down method would be appropriate or do I have to lay plywood subfloors and nail it down. Also, must I remove that cork pad, or can I go over it.

  205. I am about to install Solid F JL Wood flooring on concrete. the panels are 3/4″x6″x70 7/8″. Is it O.K. to just use the glue with a urethane moisture barrier or should I consider using OSB on top of the concrete. Help

  206. I have removed a brekafast bar wall between my kitchen & dining area, leaving a 5 1/2″ X 5′ gap in my engineered hardwoof floor. My problem is repairing the floor, as there are no extra boards. To date, I have contacted four tradespeople, and umpteen floor companies to no avail. The original hardwood cannot be had. I believe it is a Bruce floor and was finished in an oil stain with a matte look. It looks like it was glued down. Do I have any options? Maggie

  207. Hello,
    I am going to install hardwood flooring in our living and family room on concrete slab. The only problem is our carpet is butted up against ceramic tile which is 1/2 inch higher that the slab. We are going to use 3/4 inch flooring and that would leave a 1/4 inch transition from the flooring to the tile. My solution would be to put a 1/2 subfloor on the slab which would allow a smooth transition with moulding. My question is if I use a 1/2 inch subfloor is that thick enough to nail/staple the flooring or would I have to glue it to it? And if it is ok to attach with nails/staples which do you suggest and what size? Any advice would be helpful! Morgan

  208. Maggie,
    If you cannot find the exact engineered hardwood flooring to repair with, I would suggest taking a photo of the flooring and compare it to what is available. Or possibly pick up samples at a home center that you could bring home to compare.
    It is possible you will be able to find an almost exact match by a different name or brand.

  209. Hi Morgan,
    Nails should go through the face of the boards and nails should be long enough to penetrate the sub floor by at least 1 inch. So, that may not be practical in this situation.
    The staple down method is used over plywood or wood sub-floors. Certain woods may require specific staple sizes to ensure a secure installation; your manufacturer can give you this information.
    As for the floor widths, if you begin with a 1/4″ difference, and add another 1/2″ for the subfloor, you will now have a 3/4″ difference in the two floor surfaces. So, the glue down method may work better. However, I would be sure the concrete is sealed and will not allow moisture through to your new floor.

  210. Hi
    I have bought Urban Floor engineered wood and I would like to install it upstairs that have plywood. What is the best way to install? Glue down with cork? What is the best–uretane-based, water-based, or alcohol-based. My son has allergies and I want to limit his exposure and is any one of these a green-product? What about Stauff glue?
    Thanks you,

  211. I leveled my 3/4″ OSB using Bostik SL-175 floor leveling compound. Can I nail my hardwood floor through the compound. Thickness is 1/4″ average. Area size varies.

  212. I’m installing 5/8 inch engineered floor on my main level. The sub-floor is plywood or osb and living in Colorado I do not have any moisture barrier concerns for laying the floor. The flooring manufacturer suggests gluing down the floors so I’m left wondering if I need a simply adhesive like Bostik Duragrip or if I need a moisture barrier product like Bostik Greengrip? What are your thoughts?

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