Are you talking about solid hardwood flooring or engineered wood flooring? The biggest concern is moisture and, while engineered wood floors can be installed over concrete, the issue is much more complicated for solid.

To understand this, you first need to know how each hardwood type reacts to water. Then, your hardwood flooring company will advise you on the best way to proceed.

The two hardwoods and moisture

Concrete is damp; solid wood can warp with excessive water, even from the subfloor, because it travels up to the surface floor. Solid wood also adjusts to the weather, expanding when humid and shrinking when it's not. That creates cupping, crowning, and gapping.

Since solid wood is permanently installed with the traditional tongue and groove/nail down method, it also requires subfloor restoration and moisture readings. The subfloor needs to be sealed, repaired, and cured before placing over concrete. A plywood board is then affixed to the surface, and a moisture barrier might also be advised. If the floor is still too humid during the moisture readings, it might be recommended to stop.

What, precisely, is engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood floors are more stable, better able to handle water, and can be installed as a floating floor that hovers over the subfloor without nails or glue. As a result, it can be placed over any subfloor, including concrete, as long as they're clean, dry, and level.

On the surface, engineered and solid wood looks similar. Engineered wood floors have a top layer, called the veneer layer, a slab of oak, maple, hickory, or whatever your species-of-choice is. You will have undertones, knots, grains, and swirls just as you would with solid. Underneath, where you can't see it, are three or more layers of genuine wood combined with a bit of resin and placed in a crosswise position.

Like solid, this can be refinished and adds value to a property. However, unlike solid, it can be placed in higher-than-normal moisture areas, such as below-grade spaces.

Philadelphia Flooring Solutions, a premier flooring company located in Philadelphia, PA, has decades of experience with installation experts who work on residential and commercial projects. Come in to learn more about hardwood flooring and get a free quote to see us, especially if you live or work around Yorktown, Poplar, Norris Square, North Philadelphia, and Northern Liberties.