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Tuesdays with Tommy: Installing a Hardwood Floor over Concrete

Although it’s a fairly common project — and a very reasonable DIY one at that — installing a hardwood floor over concrete can nonetheless stump even those with a few notches on their work belt.

The reason? Well, there’s more than one way to skin this cat.

In this week’s Tuesdays with Tommy, the veteran woodworker addresses the flooring dilemma and raises a few points that any who dare take on this project would do well to consider.

The Problem

Jordan from New York: What is the best way to go about installing a hardwood floor over concrete? Is there an advantage to using a plywood subfloor over a sleeper system? What other factors should I be considering?

The Answer

Tommy: Good question. One of the things that you need to consider when looking at these two systems is your head height. If this is a floor with a lot of doorways and openings, you need to keep the head height in mind. If you start building up the sub flooring too high you can end up adding 4 inches to the height, which poses a problem with doorways and openings. The same goes for stairways. If there’s too much thickness, you’ll have a problem with that bottom stair and you may end up having to change it.

It it were me personally, I’d find something I could attach to the concrete and then lay down my plywood and put the flooring over that.

With concrete, you should also be putting down a moisture barrier first, like DRYLOK or something similar.

To see one way to install a hardwood floor, take a look at this How To Video.