Is solid wood flooring now acceptable on slab?

marti8aJune 29, 2013

The short story is that we currently have engineered wood flooring, a water leak, ruined floors.

The guy from the restoration company told dh yesterday that if we had had solid wood instead of engineered wood flooring, we wouldn't have to replace as it doesn't suffer the damage like engineered. Huh? When we bought the engineered, every flooring company told us we couldn't put solid wood on slab.

Has something changed?

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THere have been some advancements in trowel on moisture barriers (EXPENSIVE) but I don't know of any flooring professional that would trust that long term. Your restoration contractor is full of crap. Any flood that damages(quality) engineered flooring to the point of it delaminating would spell complete doom for solid wood as well.

I'm curious as to how the floors were "ruined". Were they actually delaminating, or did the water based glue that glued them in place just fail under the onslaught of the flood? If they just cupped up, then they would have just as much chance to dry out and be perfectly fine as your guy's solid wood could do. But, the solid wood would cup on the slab in regular conditions as concrete is a sponge.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:29PM
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The restoration company didn't give our floor a chance to cup or delaminate. They pried them up immediately or at least a portion of it. The part that is left looks ok as far as I can see, but it's hard to see with all the stuff on it.

We had a leak under the sink and the water went under the walls and through several rooms before dh got home from work and turned off the water. He called the insurance co and they told him to call this company. He did and they came right over, set up their fans and dehumidifiers and started chipping up the wood flooring, lifted the carpet and padding, drilled holes in all our cabinets to run air tubes under them. The wood flooring was still glued well. Dh said they splintered it to pieces trying to get it up. I don't know why they didn't try to just dry it out, I wasn't here. Dh thought it was because water would be trapped under it and wick through to the sheetrock and framing. But they never said so we really don't know. He was moving our furniture off the wet carpet when he heard the hammering and when he came to look, they were prying it up.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:07PM
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You've got some bill padders here promulgating BS. Wood floors that aren't buckled or separating after exposure to water should be left alone and just dried out. If they don't cup or separate within 24 hours, they will most likely be fine.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Well, it's too late now. Part of it has been destroyed and this particular line has been discontinued. We had to special order some several years ago to patch a few places where we changed the wall, and were lucky to find a box after calling around for two days.

Edited to add:

I asked dh again why they pulled up the wood where they did and he said it had already begun splitting right there. There isn't any here that shows it though. Seems like they would have left it for the adjuster to see.

This post was edited by marti8a on Sun, Jun 30, 13 at 12:22

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:58PM
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If the floor was a floating installation, I could see pulling it up immediately. It sounds as if the company may have rushed to pull up your flooring, but I was not what do I know. 'Sometimes' the best call is to rip it all out.

Adhesive technology has advanced to the point where solid glued directly to a properly prepared concrete slab is possible. I have not done that type of installation however. Solid wood will not delaminate, but would take a long time to thoroughly dry out from a major water event. Water seeps under the flooring and collects in the relief spaces routed into the backs of the boards. Forcing that water back out is not easy.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:02PM
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I'd be nervous about installing traditional wood flooring directly on the slab, no matter what the manufacturer allowed. If I decided to go for it, there would be a lot of moisture tests!
I thought the best way was to prepare the slab, apply sleepers, vapor barrier, then nail the planks into the sleepers.

I feel for you!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:38AM
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For my wood shop I poured a slab over 2" XPS taped at the seams, put down a poly vapor barrier, laid down 2x4 PT sleepers 12" OC, 3/4" plywood subfloor, and then traditional hardwood. (Not quite traditional, I mixed ~10 different species of wood). So far so good, no moisture problems evident anywhere, no condensation on the bottom side of the poly evident when I've had to make access holes in the floor.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Still haven't heard from the adjuster, so I haven't bothered looking for replacement flooring yet.

But what is the current method of putting engineered wood over slab now? When this was put down 4 years ago, it was glued directly to the slab. No underlayment, no painted on membrane, nothing. And we did have a problem with crazing and one place buckled. But it was not acclimated. It was brought directly to our warm house from a cold warehouse in November. I want to avoid any problems this time.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 2:01PM
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