Solid Hardwood Over Concrete Slab

sweetbabyjames5July 28, 2011

A few weeks ago I was asking about engineered wood vs. solid hardwood over our slab. We decided to go solid, sought out a few bids, and were just about to go with one when our contractor mentioned another option. He said his flooring guy could lay solid hardwood on our slab with a special glue. I had always heard that solid hardwood on a slab without a subfloor is a big no no. It would save us 10K to go this route but boy would I hate to discover buckled strips from moisture down the road all for the 10K I wanted to save now. So, I thought I would ask you flooring experts to help steer us (well, mainly my DH who is hoping to save some $) in the right direction. Many thanks!!!

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I vote no on this! I would need some big time warranty from the glue people and I would want to be assured that they are solvent and will be around a while.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Gluing solid wood flooring directly to concrete involves more risk, requires extra care, and good adhesives/sealers. I have installed several solid wood floors directly to concrete and never experienced any problems. We were always very careful with moisture issues. Use good sense, follow the instructions, don't cut any corners, if you don't know the answer don't guess find someone that does know, and spend a little extra time to get it right. On the other hand I know of several installations done by others that have failed due to poor technique. There are installers who do these glue downs regularly with good success. Among people I know there is little confidence that most adhesive warrantees will cover much in the event of a failure. In addition you may get a certain percentage of boards that are not straight enough to install with glue. There is more discussion of moisture and concrete in the second half of the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood floors, concrete, and water

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 3:45PM
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I learned of a product called Elastilon today. You're supposed to be able to install any wood floor you want on a slab with it.

It does look like it's GW's dreaded Lumber Liquidator's product. So now I'm wary. That is the only distributor coming up on their site. The company looks to be out of Canada.

Has anyone used this product?

Here is a link that might be useful: Elastilon

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:54PM
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I considered using Elastilon in an addition built on concrete slab but instead went with a floated engineered floor. It seems to be pretty new in this country (unfortunately sold only by LL), but I read some good reviews on a pro flooring website. The Youtube video makes it look like a fairly straight-forward installation, but like everything else, it's probably a bit more complicated in real life... It's very expensive for an underlayment, but may be worthwhile if it's effective and reduces labor costs.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Yes, it does look like an easy method to install flooring. I'm surprised to see maybe even ceramic. Not too sure about that one.

It runs $2/sf. In this case it would save quite a bit of labor just on floor prep. There's adhesive on the slab which would otherwise need to be removed. It also provides a moisture barrier so he said solid wood could be used. I believe he even said 3/4 inch. Looking at the installation instructions, it looks to lay loose on the slab. I wonder what it's like to walk on one of these floors. If it feels like a regular wood floor. Another concern I have is how easy it is to replace a board. Or if a board goes crooked while trying to install it and you're already into the adhesive stage if you're stuck with a gap. Particularly worrisome when someone else is doing the install and maybe not as picky as you'd be yourself.

The site says it has a worldwide patent but the salesman said that type of product has been used in Europe for over 20 years successfully. It's only new to the US.

I'm looking into floating floors due to the adhesive on the slab but don't want a fake hollow sounding floor. The flooring stores I've been to don't seem to have sample floatings installed for people to check them out.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:48PM
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My concrete slab had a few areas of adhesive that had to be sanded down in order for the floor to be level enough for installation. I used Floor Muffler Ultra as an underlayment. It's a vapor barrier and sound reducer. It's gotten good reviews but so have other brands. My floor has been installed only a few weeks and I haven't noticed a hollow sound. That said, I've only walked on it barefoot or with sandals; it's not a high traffic room but I do plan to do a similar installation in an entry room. One thing I've noticed is that the floor seems to have a little "give" when walked on ... hard to explain, but it doesn't feel as firm as solid flooring... not necessarily negative but just different.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 4:25PM
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We just bought the Elastilon product, and are planning on using it under 5/8 inch solid bamboo flooring.

They did tell us that we you still need a vapor barrier that goes under the Elastilon.

Also, you have 20 minutes of "play" time before the board becomes totally solid.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:43AM
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ritamay ... please report back after you've used it. This would be so helpful to others given the lack of reviews on this product. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 1:16PM
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It might make a difference where you live, but at least here I have only heard of gluing down 1/2 mesquite, a very hard and stable wood, and I don't even get agreement on that. I would also be curious if you went ahead with it and how it worked out -- so far.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:42PM
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