choosing hardwood floor

Old 01-12-03, 12:16 PM
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Question choosing hardwood floor

I am buying a home new to me. It currently has carpet over concrete slab. i want to instal real hardwood, but was informed that to put 3/4" thick hardwood would require installation of tar and plywood to nail it down. I was told that thre is now solid wood made in 3/8" either prefinished or another type called engineered flooring that will be glued down to the concrete. I live in houston, tx a humid climate and am concerned and if the moisture content will cause expansion of wood? Is the 3/8" soli hardwood as high a quality of 3/4" hardwood? Any help to understand this better would be appreciated?

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-12-03 at 01:08 PM.
Old 01-12-03, 01:32 PM
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Choosing hardwood floor

Solid hardwood is a nail down product and requires a 3/4" plywood subfloor that can be installed directly to the concrete or over a sleeper system. A polyethylene moisture barrier is used to cover the concrete. Solid hardwood can be installed over concrete above grade, but not in basements. Solid hardwood prefers a moisture controlled environment. You must also take into consideration the increased height of the new floor and its impact on entry door thresholds and and your trim.

If solid hardwood is less than 3/4", then the differences in thickness implies that you are getting less wood, which would more than likely impact the number of times the floor could be sanded. The issues of quality are based on the grade of wood used, the quality of the milling, and the quality of the finish. Prefinished wood floors have a finish warranty which means that the floor will still have finish on it at the end of the specified warranty period. The warranty does not cover scratches, dents, and wear.

Engineered wood floors have a prefinished veneer layer of real wood over 3 - 5 plies of plywood. It can be installed on grade, above and below grade in basements. Engineered wood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood. If moisture is a concern, then engineered wood floors may be your best choice. There are many manufacturers of engineered wood floors and many different levels of quality and warranties. The thicker the veneer layer and the more plies make for a better product. You will find that depending on the manufacturer that there are different installation requirements. Some products can be nailed or stapled. Others require glue. Now, we have floating engineered wood floors that snap together.
Old 01-13-03, 12:05 AM
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I live in Houston, and I had the same thought months ago.

There is a hardwood for gluedown on slab. Great product.

Go to Lowes or Home Depot and ask to see "Natural Reflections" by Bruce Hardwoods.

Its a solid hardwood, can be refinished, and has a lower profile than the carpet is replaces.

Installed it myself, easy but time consuming. Tough part was leveling the slab. Three days just for that.

Two days to install 300 sq/ft.

The floor is deminsionally sound and stable, mainly because here in Houston we have to run the A/C to keep the humidity out of the house. It's a moot point as long as your slabs dry.

If you want to see it installed before spending your hard earned money, my wife would be glad to show it off. We live at Bellaire and 610.


We had this same discussion on my last post about hardwood gluedowns. If it were up to the advice you gave me, I wouldnt have my beautiful floors.

I gave you the link then, I guess you just blew it off and continue to give the same old tired advice.

Solid hardwood is a nail down product
Hardwood is not naildown only, it comes gluedown too.

and requires a 3/4" plywood subfloor that can be installed directly to the concrete
Just plain hogwash!.

A polyethylene moisture barrier is used to cover the concrete.
Wrong again! Hardwood doesnt need a vapor barrier if the slab meets moisture specifications.

You must also take into consideration the increased height of the new floor and its impact on entry door thresholds and and your trim.
Come on, the Reflections line is 7/16" thick. Thats a lot thinner than the carpet and pad that were there previously.

Please, before you choose to give this advice, read up on the products offered and the options available. Your not helping if you give old information.

For gods sake, its 2003, not 1960.

Things change, get with the program.

Old 01-13-03, 03:53 AM
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Natural Reflections

I sell 3/4" solid hardwood flooring for a living and it's a nail down product. I am schooled by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturer's Association. It may be 2003, but the research that this organization disseminates is based on years of work and research.

According to Bruce at, Natural Reflections is a 5/16" thick by 2 1/4" wide product that is solid oak construction that features square edges and end and a low profile. It is a product that can be glued directly to the subfloor. Natural Reflections can also be stapled-down to wood .

Despite claims to the contrary, there have been forum posts regarding problems with this product and they include posts from Houston. Despite Bruce's claims regarding a glue down solid hardwood product, consumer complaints pile in regarding product problems due to seasonal temperature and humidity changes with the Natural Reflections product due to problems with seasonal expansion and contraction.

For the Bible on the installation of wood floors by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association go to www.installingwoodfloors. If you have personal issues that you wish to address with these experts, I am sure they will be glad to entertain them.

As far as getting with the program because it is 2003, you need to understand that there are many different wood flooring products available and with different applications. The biggest mistake is choosing the wrong product for the application. The type of flooring product and subfloor will determine installation procedure. Despite Bruce's claims, (many dealers won't sell their junk) I no longer carry Bruce products because of quality control, especially milling issues. Bruce is a big name in flooriing research but they don't stack up when it comes to quality
I use to sell Bruce products, but the inconsistency in millling and customer complaints steered me clear of the Bruce products. So, txfirepro, unless you can back up your research wIth NOFMA then your issues are unfounded regarding solid hardwood flooring/
Old 01-14-03, 10:03 PM
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twelvepole and txfirepro
thank you both for your information as well as your spirited debate regarding hardwood floors. any infomation is helpful. txfirepro, it is good to hear that your hardwoods are doing well in the houston climate with glue down. i'm curious if either of you have heard of husky floors. they sell a prefabricated hardwood of 3/8" thickness in varying widths and many diifrent wood types. they offer a 50 yr warranty. i checked them out and the product looks good. please see for yourself at They claim to stand up in testing better than bruce hardwoods.
also to level a concrete slab is that done with sanding or with proper glue preparation?
thanks again.
Old 01-15-03, 08:20 AM
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I live in Houston also. As you know the ground is clay/mush. I will give what I think are the advantages to floating:
1) moisture barrier - very important in Houston when you are doing hardwood at grade. You may not have excessive moisture comming through your slab now, but someday you will.
2) If seams are glued completely and that is how the manufacutere recommends installation, no liquid can get between or underneath the planks. This however makes for a very time consuming and difficlut installation due to glue lock. The planks do not want to go together because the glue has nowhere to go.
3) The floor appears perfectly flat. Since the floor is not attached to the concrete the only misalignment in the planks is the "play" in the tounge and groove connection.

Advantages of glue down
1) very solid feeling
2) very quite
3) very easy transition pieces

Disadvantages of floating:
1) slight verticle movement of floor makes noise. In some places you will here your vapor barrier crinkle (6mm polyethelyne sheet). My slab was flat to 1/8" over 12 feet.
2) Installation of transition pieces a little more challenging. You cannot attach piece to both surfaces (hwd and tile) the floor must be able to float freely or once again you have noise.
3) You have to install you shoe molding slightly off the floor, or the floor will tap the shoe molding when you walk buy it, once again more noise, and you see a gap under your shoe molding.

Regardless of which floor you choose go with the most expensive you can possible afford or wait and save until you can get the best. The work of moving your furniture, installing your moldings and floor etc, far outweigh the cost of a couple bucks saved per square foot.

I went with Mannington Gold 5" wide plank. I floated the installation which took me 2 months. I glued the entire joint as Mannington recommends. I did 1000 ft^2, for my transition pieces I used red oak carpet reducers. 1 7/16" wide with a 3/16" offset. I left 5/8" gap between my wood and tile. I then drilled holes in concrete with $150 hammer drill, insterted plastic plugs and screwed the transition piece down. The piece is connected to neither my tile nor harwood, is easily replacable and allows the floor to float. My transition pieces are PERFECT more importantly are very very petite. I spent about 4 hours per transition piece. A glue down and I would have nailed to floor in about 3 minutes.

I will never float a floor again if I have to glue the entire joint. Much to time consuming!!! I would take my chances with moisture issues and glue to the slab. A floating floor has to many variables. I glued two rooms down. I did about 200 ft^2 in 7 hours, and I was not even tired when I got done!!!! With the floating I would spend hours tapping the planks and tapping one end while I tapped the other etc etc.

I would love to discuss this further, if you have any question post them. I spent every waking moment outside of work on my floor for two months, except Christmas day. I started on Halloween and finished Januarty 3rd. I will say this my installation is perfect. You can look at all my seams between planks with a flashlight and you will not see a gap, I had Houston Hardwood make my 5/8 x5/8 quarter red oak quater round which I stained to match the floor perfect. The 3/4 X3/4 that everyone sells was to big for my base boards, it looked like crap. The 1/2 by 3/4 shoe was a little to narrow on the base in some areas. I have done lot of research and can tell you the cons and pros of alot. I went with the Mannington because I like the look of individual planks. Most floating floors are 8" wide by 84" long with simulated lines, but you still see seams. Mine are 5" wide and vary from 12" to 48". I also chose the micro-bevel which hides the " crack" between planks. Unless you sand your whole floor like a "traditional" 3/4" unfinished floor you will see the cracks between planks.

Buy your product from Hosking, go to, I saved $2300 on material alone, not including takes, which you do not pay over the internet and shipping was only $200.

You will notice most installers (Jacks Carpet, Carpet Mills of America, Flooring America) only give a year warranty on installation. They are well aware of moisture issues in the Houston area!!!

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