How To Lay Oak Flooring On Concrete

13th Dec 2013 @ 17:46

Traditionally solid oak flooring was laid by simply sending a nail straight through surface of the boards, at even spacing into the floor joists below. Nowadays, thanks to the introduction of tongue and grooved boards, what is known as secret nailing or screwing is the preferred method. This process involves using a nail gun or power driver to send the fixing through the tongue of each board (at a 45 degree angle), into the sub-floor or joist.

As time has progressed the need to fit oak flooring into ever changing conditions has increased. One such area is laying an oak floor over a concrete sub-floor.

One method to overcome this, when laying a solid oak floor, would be using the above method of laying out battens. The solid oak flooring could then be simply nailed or screwed down. This method however can prove to be unsuitable to some as the battens can lose all important room height.

Hakwood Annecy

A more commonly used method nowadays is to glue down your oak floor using a flexible adhesive. When doing this it is vital that you choose a glue which has been made specifically for this job. The adhesive needs to be strong enough to keep your flooring in place, yet flexible enough to allow for some natural movement in the wood. When glueing down solid oak flooring onto a concrete sub floor, our recommendation is that you do not glue a board which is wider than 120mm. The wider that a solid oak board is, the more prone it is to movement and cupping. When glueing a wider board down, you are increasing the risk of problems occurring.

What do you do then if you want a wider board than 120mm, but you are planning on glueing to a concrete sub-floor? If this is the case, we would recommend opting for engineered oak flooring, rather than solid oak flooring.

From above, engineered oak flooring looks exactly the same as a solid oak floor. Our engineered boards consist of a 6mm top layer of solid oak, which is bonded to 14mm of Siberian Birch ply. This makes the boards a lot more stable and less prone to problems such as cupping. This enables you to use a more wider variety of widths when laying onto concrete.

European Oak

A final option for laying over concrete would be to fit using the floating floor method. This method however is not recommended for use with a solid oak floor because of the reasons outlined above. Therefore an engineered is only suited for this process. The floating floor method simply involves laying your engineered oak boards, without any direct fixing to the sub-floor. For this, the floor quite literally “floats" over the top of the concrete, with the tongue and grooves glued together.

Whatever method you decide upon when laying oak flooring over concrete, it is vital that the concretes moisture level is below 4%. This can be done using a moisture metre.

13 Comments

Interested in your comments on glueing but struggling to believe this is really viable
what about the level of the floor , surely you'd need a pretty tight tolerance on levels ??

Also surely wooden boards wood bow up down & sideways ..... is this a major issue ?

Given the above issues can be countered , then the floor couldn't have any dust whatsover on it ...... whats the glue you would recommend , how much would you need per m2 and how much would it cost ?

Appreciate it if you could advise

Thanks
Dave

Dave November 27, 2014 at 10:16pm

Hi Dave,

Yes the floor level is a point to consider. The floor would need to be reasonable level within a few mm. If it was not it would require a self leveller. If the floor was not level, you would find yourself using a lot more glue than required.

As for bowing, this is something that will vary in quality. a higher quality board is less likely to encounter this. Bowing upwards can be counteracted with weights.

For dusty concrete floors, we would recommend priming with a DPM.

The glue we always recommend is an MS Polymer Flexible Floor Adhesive. 1kg normally covers 1m2 when applied with a 6mm V Notch Trowel. A 12kg box is priced at £43.99 + VAT.

Hope this answers some of your questions

Many thanks

Peak Oak November 28, 2014 at 3:59pm

I am laying solid oak planks to a new build concrete floor. I have been advised to lay the all important first row and glue it down then masonry nail it to prevent movement. Do you have any advice or an alternative method?
Thanks

Mike Rees April 12, 2016 at 7:50pm

Hi Mike,

Our normal recommendation for laying onto concrete floors would be to not glue solid oak boards which are wider than 120mm in width. For wider boards we would recommend engineered oak flooring.

For the glueing of oak flooring, it is important that a flexible flooring adhesive is used. This will allow for the natural movement in the wood to take place, whilst also being strong enough to provide a stable flooring.

Alternatively when fixing solid oak boards you have the option to lay timber battens which solid oak boards can then be screwed or nailed into.

With regards to the concrete, this needs to be checked to ensure that it is has a moisture reading which is less than 3%. The concrete needs to be below this figure before fitting any type of wooden flooring.

Hope this helps

Peak Oak June 10, 2016 at 5:19pm

Just had a solid maple floor laid by experts.....not happy with the results and hope I have not been conned. The fitter has filled some of the spaces between the boards with some sort of filling material. Is this normal? When the boards were being laid he strapped and harnessed some of the boards together. This is a maple floor , laid on concrete and glued to the floor.. Any comments from the experts?

Claire August 1, 2016 at 10:26am

Good morning,
I've read your article above and it's give me great advice but a little too late.
I have boards that are wider than 120mm wide. I don't want to put timber battens to the floor first. I was going to glue but do you have any advice on laying method down onto concrete floor? Boards are 140mm wide.

Thanks
Russell

Russell Hill October 11, 2016 at 5:04am

Hi Russell,

Our recommendation when glueing onto a concrete subfloor with a solid oak board is to opt for a board no wider than 120mm in width. 120mm is normally the maximum we recommend. Engineered oak boards can be glued at wider widths due to their added stability. Engineered oak boards can also be floated in this situation, however you should never float a solid oak floor.

If it is indeed solid oak flooring you have purchased, and room height is not an issue, timber battens is normally the recommendation.

Hope this helps.

Peak Oak October 11, 2016 at 2:18pm

Hi
I have a concrete floor on level one so it's not damp from the ground.
It's very dusty and a bit rough. Can I screw marine ply to it and then secret nail my tongue n groove floorboards to that? This would save me building a frame to board over. Thank you.

courtney November 12, 2016 at 1:35pm

Hi Courtney,

Laying plyboard on top of the concrete and then fixing a solid oak floor into the ply is an option some customers have chosen in the past. The main downside of this option is losing room height through the thickness of the plyboard and the thickness of the oak. There is also of course a cost to laying the plyboard.

Normally in your situation we would recommend laying an engineered oak board. This would save the cost of purchasing additional plyboard and would also provide additional stability in comparison to solid oak flooring.

Peak Oak November 18, 2016 at 5:10pm

I am really impressed by reading this article. Interesting post and I really like your take on the issues. Thanks for sharing.

Garry December 2, 2016 at 8:42am

Iam laying solid wood flooring (15mm thick)on a new concrete floor,it was laid mid jan 2017 to a depth of around 8-9 inches thick,then two thin layers of self levelling compound.
It is now early june 2017,according to manufacturers instructions they recommend 'self adhesive underlay' is it o.k. now to start laying the floor given the information outlined above?

paul clark June 20, 2017 at 2:57pm

Hi,

Can you supply the required adhesive. Please advise on current cost and shipping. Can you also advise on door thresholds that would work for the timber floor on one side and carpet on the other?

Thanks

Nigel

Nigel Hunt August 3, 2017 at 5:33pm

Hi Nigel,

Yes we do indeed supply this adhesive. This is a MS Polymer Flexible Flooring Adhesive which can be found in more detail via the following link:

http://www.peakoak.co.uk/wood-care/adhesives/ms-polymer-wood-flooring-adhesive/

Price for the shipping really depends on quantity and location, if you wanted to give us a call on 01538 304584 we can quote accordingly. Finally with regards to the thresholds, we have a couple types available which can be seen here:

http://www.peakoak.co.uk/skirting-architrave/

Many Thanks

Peak Oak August 4, 2017 at 9:42am

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