How To Install Hardwood Floors On Concrete Step By Step

Adam Chronister Floors April 3, 2023

Hardwood floors are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their beauty and durability. It is important to understand the steps involved in installing hardwood flooring on concrete, as this can make all the difference between a successful installation and an unsuccessful one. 

This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to install hardwood floors on concrete substrates such as basement slabs or garage floors. In order to ensure that the installation process goes smoothly, it is essential that each of these steps be followed carefully and thoroughly.

Preparation Of The Floor

Installing hardwood floors on a concrete slab is like baking a cake: it requires precise ingredients and steps to be completed in order for the finished product to look its best. 

Preparation Of The Floor

Before beginning, one must ensure that the concrete slab has been properly prepped for installation. This includes inspecting the subfloor for any signs of damage or cracking which could affect the integrity of the wood flooring being installed. 

Additionally, all moisture from spills should be promptly dried up as this can potentially cause mold growth beneath the hardwood planks. Finally, it is important to identify any unevenness in the concrete surface before proceeding with laying down the hardwood flooring; small irregularities can lead to gaps between boards and improper alignment if not addressed beforehand. 

Estimating Hardwood Flooring Materials

Accurately estimating the materials required for installing hardwood floors on concrete slabs is paramount to a successful outcome. A general rule of thumb recommends that at least 10% more material than necessary should be purchased, in order to account for any variations or cuts needed during the installation process. 

For example, engineered wood flooring may require two different widths and lengths installed within an area. As such, purchasing extra pieces can help avoid delays later when completing the job. 

In addition to square footage calculations for each piece size, additional products like nails or adhesives must also be taken into consideration. For instance, if nailing down the planks onto concrete slabs it's important to remember that specialized fasteners are used rather than traditional framing nails. 

Finally, calculating the correct amount of transition strips between rooms will ensure smooth transitions throughout the space while also protecting against water damage from spills and humidity changes over time. With these considerations in mind, subfloor preparation becomes essential before continuing with installation.

Subfloor Installation

Installing hardwood floors on concrete may feel like a daunting task, but with the right equipment and experience, completing this project can be likened to solving a puzzle. It is essential that all pieces are properly fitted together in order to ensure a successful installation process. 

The first step of installing hardwood flooring over concrete requires the construction of a subfloor system using plywood sheets. This will provide additional insulation and protection against moisture seeping up from the ground below. Plywood should be cut into manageable sizes and securely fastened onto the concrete by using approved screws or nails.

If necessary, use an adhesive compound to make sure that each piece of plywood is firmly attached to the existing surface. With proper preparation and knowledge, anyone can successfully install hardwood flooring over concrete surfaces for years of enjoyment.

Layout And Cutting Of Hardwood Floors

To ensure a successful installation, it is important to plan ahead for any obstacles such as doorways or closets that will require extra cuts. Measurements should be taken from each wall to determine how much wood needs to be cut from the length of each board. 

Layout And Cutting Of Hardwood Floors

Once measurements are determined, use chalk lines on the subfloor to mark where boards need to be cut. When all measurements have been made and marked with a chalk line, begin sawing off excess pieces of wood by using either a jigsaw or circular saw depending on what type of wood floor you are installing. 

Be sure to wear protective glasses when operating power tools and always make sure the blade is sharp in order to get clean cuts without splitting boards. With proper planning and careful cutting, solid hardwood floors can be installed successfully with minimal waste material left over.

Joining The Hardwood Flooring Pieces

Despite the technical nature of joining hardwood flooring pieces, it is not as difficult as it seems and can be done with relative ease. By following a few simple steps, one can install their new floors in no time.

  • Measure all planks to ensure they fit together correctly.
  • Connect each plank by angling them into place at an angle that allows for easy movement.
  • Secure each piece using nails or screws depending on the type of hardwood installed (engineered or solid).

Having accurate measurements prior to installation is essential to having a successful outcome. It's important to measure both the width and length of each plank before attempting any cuts. 

Furthermore, when two planks are joined together, they should be cut so that the joint line appears seamless from end to end. If cutting needs to occur, use specialized tools such as a miter saw or jigsaw for best results. 

Additionally, if installing engineered hardwood floors it’s important to keep in mind that these particular types require a specific kind of fastener due to their construction process - glue being one option used commonly among professionals.

With properly fitted and secured hardwood flooring pieces now in place along your subfloor, you're ready for the next step which involves adding underlayment before completing your project!

Adding Underlayment To The Subfloor

Engineered wood floors are designed to be installed directly over concrete subfloors. Before installing hardwood flooring, an underlayment must be placed in order to create a smooth surface for the hardwood planks and also provide sound reduction. 

To add the necessary underlayment, first inspect the concrete subfloor carefully. Look for any cracks or low spots that need to be leveled with self-leveling compound. Once this is complete, cover the entire area of the subfloor with a thin sheet of plastic sheeting or felt paper which will act as a moisture barrier between the concrete and the hardwood flooring installation. 

Securely attach it using staples and ensure there are no gaps around edges where water could seep through. Next, unroll and staple down a layer of foam padding along all walls before rolling out another layer of felt paper on top of it. 

Finally, lay down several rows of engineered wood floor planks across the area to test for proper fit and expansion space before proceeding with full installation. With these steps completed correctly, one can move forward confidently with securing hardwood floors to their concrete subfloor.

Securing Hardwood Floors To The Concrete Subfloor

Installing hardwood floors on a concrete subfloor requires extra preparation steps. The first step is to make sure the surface of the concrete is free from dirt and debris, then vacuum or sweep it thoroughly. 

Next, install a moisture barrier over the substrate before laying down any planks. This helps prevent water damage and mold growth beneath the flooring by keeping moisture out. 

After this, use an adhesive specifically designed for wood-on-concrete installation to secure each plank in place. Make sure to apply evenly along both sides of each board while pressing firmly against the subfloor. 

For additional security, consider pre-drilling holes through wooden boards and using screws or nails to attach them to the concrete below as well. Filling gaps between planks with wood putty will complete your look and help ensure that no dust or other particles can enter beneath the floor after installation is complete.

Filling Gaps Between Planks With Wood Putty

One important step in the process is filling gaps between planks with wood putty. This can be done easily by following these instructions:

  1. Sand down any uneven surfaces or ridges around the gap using sandpaper, so that it creates a uniform surface.
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust particles from the area before applying putty.
  3. Apply wood filler into the crack with an applicator tool such as a spatula, ensuring it fills all voids completely. Allow for drying time according to package directions.
  4. Once dry, use fine-grade sandpaper to smooth out any excess material outside of the crevice until flush with surrounding areas of the floor. Remove debris afterwards with vacuum cleaner again.
  5. Finish up by wiping down entire area with damp cloth to remove residue left over from sanding 

After completing this task, one should move onto installing baseboard trim or molding for a finishing touch to their newly installed hardwood floors on concrete.

Installing Baseboard Trim Or Molding

Installing Baseboard Trim Or Molding

Installing this type of trim requires precision and care to ensure that the installation process goes smoothly. 

First, measure the wall length and width carefully in order to determine how much trim will be needed for the project. 

Next, cut each piece of trim according to these measurements using either a handsaw or miter saw. The most important aspect when cutting pieces of trim is accuracy; even small errors can create gaps between the walls and trims if not done correctly. 

Once all pieces have been cut accurately, use an adhesive product such as construction glue or liquid nails on the back edge of each piece and attach it onto the wall. Use a leveler tool to make sure that all trims are placed evenly across the walls. Hammer in any brads necessary at predetermined points along each side where desired, then caulk around edges with painter’s caulk for extra stability against possible moisture intrusion over time. 

Transition into subsequent section about 'finishing the floor with sealant/polish/waxed finish' without saying 'step'. With baseboard installed correctly, now attention turns towards completing the hardwood floors by applying sealant, polish, or waxed finish for protection and aesthetic appeal.

Finishing The Floor With Sealant/Polish/Waxed Finish

The final touches on a hardwood floor installation require the same finesse as painting the Mona Lisa. To achieve this, one must choose the correct sealant, polish or waxed finish for the floor before commencing with application. This step is pivotal in preserving and protecting the wood from dirt and other damage over time.

The first step when finishing a hardwood floor is to select an appropriate sealant which will protect it from moisture and wear-and-tear of daily use. A water based polyurethane works best for most floors due to its durability against scratches and dents. 

It also provides a glossy finish that can be easily cleaned with a mop or vacuum cleaner. After choosing the right type of sealant, it should be applied using either brush strokes or roller techniques depending on the size of area being covered. When applying sealants, care should be taken not to apply too thickly because it may cause discoloration if left unchecked.

After sealing, polishing can help enhance the beauty of a hardwood floor by adding luster and shine to its surface. This can be done manually with waxes such as carnauba or beeswax or chemically through products like tung oil or varnish stains. 

The latter method is recommended for high traffic areas where regular maintenance is required since these finishes are more resistant to everyday wear-and-tear than manual methods of polishing. 

Finally, once all steps have been completed, leave the finished product alone to dry completely before walking on it again; this will ensure that your work has held up well over time! With careful preparation and attention to detail during every stage of installation, any homeowner can create beautiful results that will last many years into their future home's lifetime.

Expert Tips For A Successful Installation

Installing hardwood flooring on concrete requires the right tools and supplies to ensure a successful outcome. 

It is important to use moisture-resistant adhesive, as well as foam underlayment padding for soundproofing and comfort. Additionally, when laying down the planks, it is essential to leave an expansion gap of at least 5mm between the wall and plank edges to allow for natural movement of the wood due to changes in temperature or humidity. 

Also, be sure to stagger end joints by at least 6 inches so that they do not line up in a single row. Finally, transitioning from one room type to another should also be done with consideration; transitions should be gradual rather than abrupt such as using T-molding instead of thresholds. All these tips will help create a secure installation that looks great over time.


Installing hardwood floors on concrete is a challenging task, but can be done successfully with careful preparation. It requires skill and knowledge to ensure that the project meets expectations in terms of quality, durability and aesthetic appeal. 

With proper planning and execution, one can achieve beautiful results that will last for years to come. However, there are certain potential problems associated with installing hardwood floors on concrete which need to be addressed prior to beginning the project. 

By taking adequate time to plan out all aspects of the job before beginning work, one can make sure they have accounted for any unexpected issues that may arise throughout their hardwood flooring installation project.

Skip the Headaches and Call the Pros

At Black Forest Hardwood Floors, we pride ourselves on being the premier choice for installing exquisite hardwood floors in your home. Our unparalleled craftsmanship, commitment to using only the finest materials, and unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction set us apart from the competition. 

Our experienced team of skilled artisans meticulously hand-selects each plank of wood, ensuring a seamless blend of color, grain, and durability for a truly timeless aesthetic. With Black Forest Hardwood Floors, you can trust that your investment is in expert hands, and we'll transform your living space into an elegant, warm, and inviting haven that you'll be proud to call home. 

Choose Black Forest Hardwood Floors, where quality and luxury meet to create the foundation of your dreams.