How would you install wood planks to a cement slab floor?

  4 answers
  • William William on May 29, 2017
    Moisture Barrier

    Despite a successful moisture check and the presence of an underground moisture barrier, you still need additional protection from water vapor before laying a wood floor. Sheets of 6-mil thick polyethylene plastic, overlapped with seams taped, is one means of providing that moisture barrier. For a second option, paint the slab with a moisture sealant. Home centers stock a choice of sealer brands as well as rolls of 6-mil plastic.

    A liquid moisture barrier can have a very strong odor. Open up windows and use fans to circulate air.

    Apply the moisture barrier holding a V-notch trowel at a 45-degree angle. The moisture barrier will level itself out. Start at the farthest point in the room then work your way out of the room. Let moisture barrier set for 24 hours. The surface should not be tacky when touched. Do not walk on the surface. Use odorless mineral spirits to remove moisture barriers from your hands and trowel.

    Prepare Flooring Layout

    Lay the floor parallel to longest wall in the room. Always have an exit plan when laying out the floor. You don’t want be trapped in a corner and have to walk on the newly installed floors. Cut pieces as you go.


    Adding a subfloor over the concrete slab is one installation method. Construct a subfloor with sheets of 3/4-inch pressure-treated plywood over the moisture barrier. Nail wood flooring planks directly on top of the pressure-treated plywood. You can also lay down lengths of pressure-treated, 2-inch-by-4-inch studs over the moisture barrier. These studs act similarly to floor joists, on top of which you nail sheets of 3/4-inch plywood. The studs keep the wood flooring planks further away from the slab and they minimize the amount of wood that stays in direct, constant contact with concrete.


    Gluing wood flooring planks to the slab is a second installation method. In this case, paint a waterproof membrane over the slab with moisture sealant, then apply a specially prepared adhesive. The glue is available at home centers and flooring stores. This adhesive dries quickly, so you have to work fast. You need no nailing with this method. Tap the wood planks in place with a rubber mallet, which sets them into the adhesive and drives the tongue of one plank into the groove of another. Tap 1/4-inch shims in between the edges of the floor and the wall to leave room for expansion. Weight down the first few rows with something heavy, but use a rag underneath the weight to protect the floor. Use a damp cloth to clean off adhesive from surfaces. Let adhesive dry for 24 hours.

  • Kathy Lovenburg Kathy Lovenburg on May 29, 2017
    There is a great product that we bought at Home Depot that is a floating and locking vinyl flooring that you would swear looks like wood. Everyone raves about it! Plus easy clean up to! We have 2 German Shepherds, and no worry about scratch marks. Its Trafficmaster Allute Ultra Sawcut in Arizona.
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