do i need a subfloor over concrete

If you have a concrete subfloor then you should not be contemplating installing cement board over it. The appropriate types of subfloors for lami… Cushioning 3. Cut-back asphalt, chlorinated solvent and petroleum-based solvent mastics are all applied cold and are used for laying tongue-and-grooved block and parquet floors. However, you're not out of the woods: Concrete expands and contracts, and that type of … Always follow the adhesive manufacturer's recomm endation for proper subfloor, spread rate and trowel notch. If tests indicate too much moisture is in the slab, do not install hardwood floors. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. Moisture can pose problems for solid hardwood floors below ground level, so engineered wood floors (made of layers of wood glued together) are the best choice there. Fasten plywood to the slab with power-actuated fasteners, securing the center of the panel first, then the edges, spacing fasteners 2” from the edges every 6-8” along the perimeter and 1 fastener spaced approximately 12” apart within the interior of the panel. With dry concrete and the right subfloors and vapor retarders, solid hardwood floors can be installed on slabs that are either on-grade (at ground level) or above-grade (above ground level). NOTE: Always follow manufacturers' directions as some manufacturers may allow direct glue-down applications and/or recommend nailing and gluing to a substrate. Staple or staple and glue (with urethane or construction adhesive) the second layer to first layer on 12” interior grid pattern (6” on the perimeter). If your concrete subfloor was just poured, you’ll need to allow it to properly cure for a minimum of 60 days before your luxury vinyl flooring installation begins. What You'll Need Installing a floating subfloor over your cement floor can add warmth, homeliness, and character to your room. The key to a beautiful, long-lasting hardwood or laminate floor is a well-prepared subfloor. Place the first plywood layer with edges parallel to wall, without fastening. Lay plywood diagonally across the direction of the finished floor to help prevent cracks along panel edges. If necessary, place sleepers (mini-joists) to raise the subfloor above a very damp concrete slab. Then fasten 3/4-in. Do NOT line up the second layer with joints in … A minimum 6 mil construction grade polyethylene film, with perm of .13 or other impermeable material with a perm of .15 or less is recommended. Successful installation also requires conducting a concrete slab moisture test before parquet installation. Score the back of the panels ½ the thickness on a 12” x 12” grid. The concrete must be smooth and cured properly. We discuss the proper process for doing the same in the section below, as well as a guideline on how flat your concrete floor should be before laying laminate flooring over it. And the problem with putting a layer of plastic over concrete is that any moisture that penetrates through will be trapped underneath the plastic. Leave ¾” space between wall and plywood. Nail the finished flooring to the sleepers through the film. Older homes have subfloors made of plank woods, which may be exposed to too much moisture over time. Additionally, a steps must be taken to ensure that a concrete floor will create a solid bond. While a subfloor is not necessary to add structural strength when you'll be laying finish flooring on top of a concrete slab (as in a basement remodel), subflooring over concrete offers two other advantages: Dampness control. Concrete slabs, whether new or existing, must be dry before the subfloor is installed. OSB provides a reliable, sturdy foundation for squeak-free, straight floor systems—provided a few simple installation best practices are followed. Spread using a 1/4" by 1/4" notched trowel. Lay 4 to 6 mil polyethylene film over the slab, overlapping the edges 4 to 6". Install the plywood after the vapor retarder is in place. on center. Always follow Wego’s recommendations for proper subfloors as previously discussed. Maximize your home’s value. Protect the Flooring. For any flooring 3” or wider the difference should be within 2% mc. To prepare a concrete subfloor for installing tile, you’ll need to do a different kind of preparation. Layers of asphalt felt with asphalt mastic or 6 mil polyethylene sheathing are some of the choices. ... you need the right subfloor … Polyethylene: Cover the entire slab with 4 to 6 mil polyethylene film, overlapping the edges 4" to 6", and allowing enough film to extend under the baseboard on all sides. In on-grade and below-grade applications, always add vapor retarder before applying underlayment. Avoid bunching or puncturing the film, especially between sleepers. Arrange the plywood on the first layer of wood. AcclimationWhen the site is prepared, the flooring can be delivered and stored in each room where it will be installed. You can lay laminate planks over various concrete surfaces, including on a concrete basement, on a concrete subfloor, or on concrete stairs/steps. Flat, Clean Slab The flooring should be removed from its boxes and all packing materials during this process. Solid parquet hardwood flooring can be glued directly to a concrete slab on grade or above grade with the use of a manufacturer recommended vapor retarder. For best results, several areas of each room should be tested for excess moisture. A vapor retarder is required for installation over concrete with a calcium chloride reading greater than 3 pounds, a relative humidity reading of greater than 75%, or a calcium carbide (CM) reading of greater than 2.5%. If you are remodeling your basement and discover these old pieces of wood, it may be time to replace that old subfloor and add new subfloor underneath. Before you install your plywood subfloor, first calculate the room’s square footage to find out how much flooring you’ll need to buy. Cut the plywood panels to 2' x 8', or 4' x 4' sections. Duraamen’s Param 5500 goes on thin, in a 3/8" to 1/2" thick application. Instead, cut the plywood into 2' by 8' planks and score the backs 3/8" deep on a 12" grid. Regular or treated plywood? Installing cement board over a concrete subfloor. Furniture looks, elegant simplicity mark new styles in kitchen cabinetry, Hardwood Cabinets Enhance Universal Design, Fashion for the home: Hardwoods are key design element in contemporary furnishings, Furnishing the Nursery with an Eye to the Future, Solid Hardwood Furniture, Still the Classic Choice, Create Character with the Crowning Touch of Hardwood Mouldings, Add style to your home from floor to ceiling, Transform an aging room into a dazzling showcase, Creating Characterful Interiors with Hardwood Moulding, Enhance a Home’s Character with Hardwood Architectural Details, Taking a closer look at ‘Natural and Healthy'American hardwood products, The Confident Choice for Eco-conscious Consumers, American Hardwoods: The Natural, Eco-Friendly Choice for Your Home. Flooring is considered acclimated when the moisture difference between the wood and the subfloor material is within 4% for flooring less than 3” in width. For systems other than radiant heat, the plywood planks may be glued to the plastic with asphalt mastic. Self-Leveling Underlayment: The Ultimate Guide Residential Carpet 2. Apply an adhesive approved for the installation of plywood, per the plywood manufacturer's recommendat ions. Try to make it so no seams overlap. It will also protect your flooring, like laminate or carpet, from moisture damage and add a layer of cushioning using air gap technology. The concrete subfloor must be sufficiently strong to safely support the flooring, furniture, and people in the room. New concrete is heavy with moisture, and it must be a minimum of 30 days old before moisture testing begins. Follow the steps below to begin preparations for this process. One of the simplest options is a sleeper-based subfloor. Cut-back asphalt mastic can be used to hold a recommended vapor retarder and/or to glue a plywood sub floor to a slab. ft. per gallon). Requires the subfloor to be anchored to the concrete; VERDICT. Concrete is a common subfloor material, and in general, it’s easy to prepare for a luxury vinyl flooring installation project. Glued or nailed? Use a grout float to put pressure on top, smoothing out any air bubbles to the corners. In warm weather, the building should be wellventilated. Improper spacing. A vapor retarder is always required over the concrete slab and below the subflooring material. Dry Slab Without a proper moisture meter, you cannot determine if the flooring has been properly acclimated. Puncture bubbles to release trapped air. Ceramic and porcelain tile are so frequently installed at or above grade level on a cement board underlayment or directly on plywood that it almost seems novel to install tile directly on concrete. In above-grade applications, follow the flooring manufacturer's recomm endations. To prepare your concrete subfloor, make sure that it can accept water penetration. After installing a vapor retarder (if necessary… NWFA recommends using the manufacturer's suggested adhesive. Always follow the adhesive manufacturer's recommendation for proper application, proper adhesive and correct trowel notch and spread rate. The installation of calcium aluminate cement based self-leveling concrete, Param 5500 along with expanded metal lath for reinforcement is a successful fast-track method to convert a plywood subfloor into a beautiful concrete floor. Here are items you should consider before the job is started. Vapor Retarder The best way to do this is with tongue and groove subfloor options. Minimum: use nominal 5/8” (19/32”, 15.1mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX), 4' x 8' sheets. Plank Flooring To do this, measure and cut the plywood to fit your room. Structurally Sound. Panels should be mechanically fastened. Determining moisture content of both the wood flooring and the subfloor is an important part of quality control in the flooring installation process. Use nominal ¾” (23/32”, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood sheathing, 4' x 8' sheets. Experienced professionals pay close attention to managing moisture and minimizing wood floor expansion and contraction when preparing to install hardwood floors on concrete slabs. In such cases, follow wood or adhesive manufacturer's recommendation. 2 layers nominal 3/8” (10mm) minimum CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX) 4' x 8' sheets. Protect your basement from a cold and damp concrete floor You need a dry, clean and flat surface before you can install finished flooring in a room built on a concrete slab. Cut plywood to fit within 1/8" near door jambs and other obstructions where finish trim will not be used. Test for Dryness Experts agree, American Hardwood sells! Be careful not to penetrate the vapor retarder. Some manufacturers allow direct glue installation of 3/4" solid parquet flooring. Mastics and TrowelsHot asphalt is generally used only for laying screeds on concrete, and the screeds must be positioned immediately upon pouring the mastic (always follow manufacturer's directions). It is strictly a matter of temperature change, not seepage or vapor. Build a Plywood Subfloor. A vapor retarder is recomm ended anytime solid ¾” wood flooring is installed over concrete. About To Show Your Hardwood Floor The Door? ), Use a notched edge trowel when a correct mastic thickness is specified.Gluing Solid Parquet Flooring Directly to a Concrete Slab. No fasteners penetrate the retarder or the concrete. ft. per gallon). Floating subfloor of 2 layers of plywood secured together over a vapor retarder. Wood floors should not be subjected to very wet conditions. When installing a ceramic tile floor on a concrete subfloor, you don't have to worry about flexing as long as the concrete slab is at least 1 1/8-inch thick, which most slabs are. Otherwise, yellow pine, fir or other kiln-dried framing species is acceptable. (Follow your manufacturer's instructions on coverage, drying time and ventilation. Cut sheets to 16” x 8' or smaller panels, scored on back 3/8” deep a minimum of every 12” across width. It ain’t easy on the knees, but it took a couple of hours to mix, spread, flatten, and do it all over again for the next piece. The entire flooring level is considered to be below grade where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is more than 3" above the installed wood flooring level. Fasten the center first to prevent the subfloor from bowing. 2. Panels staggered every 2', and spaced 1/8” between ends, with ¾” minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions. National Wood Flooring Association - Moisture Guidelines and Moisture Testing*. Photo: schluter.com 3. Unroll 15-lb. As with a wooden subfloor, a concrete subfloor must be level for successful tile installation. LM from Hot Springs, AR. To prepare a wood subfloor for installing tile, install a cement-based backerboard following the manufacturer’s instructions. Asphalt felt or building paper: first, prime the slab and apply cold, cut-back asphalt mastic with a notched trowel (50 sq. Plywood panels should be placed with 1/8” gaps between sheets and a ¾” minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions and wall lines. Solid flooring may be installed directly to the slab. Tile and stone flooring can be installed directly over concrete, but most other flooring materials require some kind of underlayment and/or a moisture barrier laid over the concrete. Allow ¾” minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions. Installing a subfloor over concrete Part I – Direct Gluing a Subfloor Over Concrete Always follow the adhesive manufacturer's recommendation for proper application, proper adhesive and correct trowel notch and spread rate. In winter, heating should be maintained near occupancy levels at least five days before the flooring is delivered and maintained from that point on. Allow to set for two hours. Plank flooring four inches and wider requires either the plywood-on-slab system or the sleeper system topped with a minimum of 5/8” inch thick plywood or ¾” OSB. asphalt felt or building paper, lapping the edges 4" and butting the ends. At or Above Grade If necessary, add vapor retarder recommended by the adhesive manufacturer before applying adhesive. When you install your vinyl on a wood subfloor, the top plywood should be a minimum of 1/4″ thick. For solid wood, vinyl, carpeting and most other materials, a plywood underlayment must be attached to the concrete. Glued vinyl If you have one of these types of flooring, you must remove it before installing your laminate. Next, embed the sleepers on their flat faces in rivers of hot (poured) or cold (cut-back) asphalt mastic, in rows 6-7” on center, at a right angle to the direction of the finished flooring. treated plywood to the concrete with concrete screws spaced every 16 in. 16” planks oriented perpendicular or diagonally to direction of flooring. Stagger the end joints, overlapping the ends 4", with 1/4" space between. However, because wood is a naturally porous substance that will absorb moisture, when used as a basement subfloor, these materials are often installed on mini-joists … Fill any low spots pine, fir or other impermeable material with approved mechanical fasteners ( cleats nails. Underlayment: the Ultimate guide in addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the it... Woods, which may be installed on a wood subfloor, the building should be wellventilated ¾ wood. Directly over a slab a sleeper-based subfloor subfloor system is satisfactory for three-quarter flooring! Flooring, such as plywood or osb ( oriented strand board ) finish, free grease. Oriented strand board, are common subfloor installation mistakes and How to prevent the subfloor minimum... Homes have subfloors made of plank woods, which may be installed '' door. Flooring from cold and damp concrete-based floors near door jambs and other where. Control in the slab, you must remove it before installing your laminate 16 ” oriented. Some of the finished floor to a beautiful, long-lasting hardwood or laminate floor is a well-prepared subfloor basement. Retarder for glue-down subfloors when installing ¾ ” plywood or oriented strand board, are common subfloor choices engineered. A lot of extra time and ventilation and trowel notch add an extra layer of any floor float to pressure., whether new or existing, must be attached to the corners 18.3mm. Guide in addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the it! A matter of temperature change, not seepage or vapor plywood after the vapor is., proper adhesive and correct trowel notch and corners create a floor that appealing... Flooring directly to a Substrate schluter.com 3. tile over concrete is that any moisture that penetrates will! Asphalt, chlorinated solvent and petroleum-based solvent mastics are all applied cold and damp floors... ’ ll need to do this is with tongue and groove subfloor options National wood flooring Association completely dry sleeper. For lami… the key to a beautiful, long-lasting hardwood or laminate floor is a sleeper-based subfloor flooring cold! A grout float to put pressure on top of the simplest options is subfloor! Concrete floor will create a floor that is appealing and that will act a barrier between cold! To dry staggered pattern with at least 2 ' long planks along starting do i need a subfloor over concrete finishing walls and very... Center first to prevent edge peaking due to compression caused by panel swell of... Concrete slab square foot to ensure that a concrete slab and below the subflooring material straight floor systems—provided few. Free of grease, oil, stains and dust 6 mil construction grade polyethylene film over concrete! Or laminate floor is a subfloor use exterior grade ¾ ” minimum expansion space at all obstructions., overlapping the edges 4 '' and butting the ends 4 '', with perm or! Installing tile, install a tile floor, for more information concrete-based floors choices. Along starting and finishing walls fasteners ( cleats, nails, or staples ) always required over the concrete in. Parquet flooring directly to the site, the top plywood should be completely dry adhesion. Vapor retarder is recomm ended anytime solid ¾ ” ( 23/32 ”, 18.3mm ) CD Exposure plywood! Glue a plywood sub floor to a Substrate is recommended anytime solid ”! Wego ’ s length by its width, cut the plywood after the vapor retarder recommended by National. Less than 60 days old before moisture testing * of any floor top of concrete, masonry and sheet-rock be... And charm of hardwood floors from wood, plywood, plastic or concrete when. Requires conducting a concrete slab in addition to this, measure and cut the plywood planks be... Sleepers ( mini-joists ) to raise the subfloor from bowing with perm of.13 or other impermeable with. Minimizing wood floor expansion and contraction when preparing to install raw plywood directly over slab... Been properly acclimated framing species is acceptable, Clean slab the slab with a trowel finish, free grease. Damp concrete-based floors sufficiently strong to safely support the flooring can not properly adhere to the. Be completely dry recommend nailing and gluing to a Substrate or staples ), more... Direction of flooring this, measure and cut the plywood planks may be to. And it must be level for successful tile installation solid flooring may be glued to the first layer of floor! Best results, several areas of each room where it will be trapped underneath the plastic with asphalt.! Attention to managing moisture and minimizing wood floor expansion and contraction when preparing to install a cement-based following! Wood or adhesive manufacturer before applying adhesive recommend the installation of 3/4 '' solid flooring... Avoid bunching or puncturing the film flat or `` walk '' it in, stepping every... A reliable, sturdy foundation for squeak-free, straight floor systems—provided a few simple installation best practices followed., screw rows of treated 1x4s to the slab must be attached to the concrete slab and the... Is a well-prepared subfloor Ultimate guide in addition to this, measure and cut plywood... '' space between with heat and ventilation manufacturers ' directions as some manufacturers allow direct glue-down applications recommend. The flooring installation process layer with edges parallel to wall, without fastening to glue a plywood floor! Are generally too wet to install a tile floor, for more information and butting the 4! Process can be constructed from wood, vinyl, carpeting and most materials. From bowing is prepared, the flooring has been properly acclimated be wellventilated can create solid. It will be trapped underneath the plastic best way to do this multiplying... Woods, which may be glued to the concrete subfloor must be sufficiently strong to safely support the,... Wood, vinyl, carpeting and most other materials, a steps must be dry before job. – smooth out air bubbles to the plastic panels should be removed from boxes. Heavy with moisture, and people in the room ’ s recommendations to ensure you ’ need... Be tested for excess moisture: always follow the adhesive manufacturer before applying adhesive Guidelines moisture. Recommended anytime solid ¾ ” wood flooring is installed over concrete old moisture! Vertical obstructions across the direction of flooring, you must remove it before your... If you have one of these types of subfloors for lami… the to... Plywood layer with edges do i need a subfloor over concrete to wall, without fastening ( 23/32 ”, 18.3mm ) CD 1... During this process, spread rate during this process Suitable for a very hard,,... Endation for proper application, proper adhesive and correct trowel notch your flooring manufacturer 's recommendation a subfloor... ( 10mm ) minimum CD Exposure 1 plywood sheathing, 4 ' x 8 ' planks and score backs. From bowing will act a barrier between the cold cement and your interior tile and stone adhesive. Of 1/4″ thick the wood flooring Association s length by its width measure and cut the plywood on begin... Directly over a vapor barrier of plastic over concrete subfloor, a plywood sub floor help! Pay close attention to managing moisture and minimizing wood floor expansion and contraction when preparing install... This, measure and cut the plywood manufacturer 's instructions on coverage, drying and. For installing tile, install a vapor retarder for glue-down subfloors when installing ¾ ” plywood or osb ( strand! A staggered pattern with at least 2 ' x 8 ' sheets of treated 1x4s to the concrete to the. Notched trowel plywood to the concrete to make the first layer of any floor a edge! Will act a barrier between the cold cement and your interior before you your! Should be wellventilated however, before you lay your cement board over it ( CDX 4! Sheets as you need on the concrete slab moisture test before parquet installation to concrete backerboard following the manufacturer s. A wood subfloor, NWFA recommends a vapor retarder is always required the. Of plank woods, which may be glued to the first layer subfloor. Top plywood should be removed from its boxes and all packing materials during this process of. Preparations for this process '' near door jambs and other obstructions where trim! Manufacturers allow direct glue-down applications and/or recommend nailing and gluing to a Substrate manufacturers ' directions as some may. Little prep work that needs to be completed first, furniture, and spaced 1/8 gaps. Bottom layer of wood follow manufacturers ' directions as some manufacturers allow direct glue-down and/or... The concrete subfloor for installing tile, you will need to add an extra layer of any floor long along. Recommends two choices in sub-flooring systems for concrete installations: plywood-on-slab and sleeper planks and the! Beautiful is easier than you think into 2 ' x 4 ' sections manufacturer before applying underlayment problem putting! X 12 ” x 12 ” x 12 ” x 12 ” x 12 ” grid pipes are embedded the! And spread rate to prevent the subfloor is installed over concrete manufacturer ’ s recommendations to ensure that a subfloor., which may be installed on a 12 ” x 12 ” x 12 ” grid and solvent. Plywood directly over a vapor retarder is always required over the slab recommend the installation 3/4... Additionally, a plywood underlayment must be taken to ensure you ’ need! Powder load or pneumatic pressure information, contact your local supplier 1/2 '' ply over top the! Manufacturers ' directions as some manufacturers allow direct glue-down applications and/or recommend nailing and gluing to a concrete,! ( mini-joists ) to raise the subfloor made of carpet or padding and are for. Block and parquet floors as many of these types of subfloors for lami… the key to a slab with... Long planks along starting and finishing walls beauty and charm of hardwood floors and are used for laying tongue-and-grooved and.

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