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Old 12-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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Gluing wood to concrete


Can anyone offer some suggestions?

I'm about to put some solid wood flooring down on concrete with glue, and having looked at a few video's and read up a bit on the subject, I'm suddenly a tad nervous about the project because of conflicting stuff I'm reading.

Firstly, the stuff we're using is 3/8" thick, mainly because the guy at the flooring store said that it allowed for slightly uneven floors in a way that thicker planks wouldn't. But I just went over the floor with a 6' level and found that it was distinctly uneven in one particular corner of the room - can't even believe that the concrete could have set with such a dip. Does anyone have a rule of thumb for unevenness depending on wood thickness? If I have to use leveling compound I will, though I'd rather avoid it if possible - something else I've never tried.

Secondly, I keep reading conflicting stuff on moisture. Some say that I have to seal the concrete before applying the glue to prevent moisture seepage, others say that modern urethane glues already have a sealant in them. We live in central Florida so obviously things get a little wet round here during summer, but unlike a lot of homes here where the water table is merely a few feet below the structures, our house is perched on a distinct slope - by Orlando standards we live on the side of Mt. Everest! I'll be sticking a piece of plastic down tonight to check for moisture, but I don't foresee a problem. By the way, the glue we bought for the job is Roberts 1408.

Lastly, to roll or not to roll? Some say yes, others say they've never heard of anyone using a roller on solid wood floors being glued down. Some say not to walk on the floor for 24 hours, others say carefully walking up and down the floor every few hours after the job is done accomplishes the same thing as a roller. I've even seen one video on Youtube by a pro who actually worked 'on' the wood once he'd laid enough to do so, claiming that his weight moving up and down the rows as he worked accomplished the same effect as a roller. What's the reality?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated - I've done any amount of tiling, and friends who've done both claim that if I can do one than I can do the other, but as this is the first time I'm a little edgy in case I screw something up - seems like glued down wood would be a hell of a lot harder to fix up than plain ol' tile!

Thanks in advance.........Tim

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Old 12-21-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
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Gluing wood to concrete


Personaly I've never heard of anyone gluing down solid wood flooring of any kind. I've laid engineered floor over a slab but not soild wood.
Engineered is more stable then real wood.
I would have gone with tile that looks like real wood, tile, sheet goods, glue down 12 X 12 tiles, but never real wood over a slab.

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Old 12-21-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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Gluing wood to concrete


Gets done all the time - think of wood flooring you often see in mall outlets. I also know a number of people whove had it done in their homes because the floating variety feels a little too springy for their liking.

Typically, thinner sections are used for gluing down, while the thicker varieties (1/2" - 3/4") are used for traditional nailing operations.
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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Gluing wood to concrete


I wish you luck. Most pro wood flooring installers say that gluing solid wood to concrete is an absolute no no.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:57 AM   #5
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Gluing wood to concrete


To repeat, it's a task that is frequently done these days, with woods and glues appropriate to the requirements. The knowledge base you're drawing from may be out of date, as glues capable of handling moisture content have greatly improved over the last decade or so, such as Mapei's ECO 995 and similar products from Bostik. The only reason I belatedly started have some concerns is because of our location, some reading I was doing recently, and the high water table in Orlando that may have taken moisture levels beyond the glue's capabilities.

I ended up calling the flooring specialist we purchased the wood from this morning and talking to their installer, a man of 30 odd years of experience, who told me that all would be fine as long as the standard taped-down plastic test didn't show signs of moisture after 24 hours - he said not to bother with the off the shelf moisture testers, as 'they're not worth crap'.

The answers to the questions I posed were

1) Bumps were of more concern than gradual slopes, but if the drop was considerable (relatively speaking) it would still have to be addressed regardless of the wood's flex. So I'm more or less in the same position as if I was tiling the area and will have to use some self-leveling compound.

2) As above, and if I was still concerned I could use a standard sealer first over the concrete.

3) He was of the opinion that the roller was waste of time and that it posed just the same problem as walking on the flooring before it had fully dried - that the weight could shift pieces around unless they were extensively taped together. Also the heavy metal roller wheels could possible scratch the wood.

His final point was, if in doubt, to lay down two or three rows, wait 24 hours, then go over the wood bouncing a golf ball and listening for any hollow sounds.

Last edited by timbo59; 12-22-2011 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Gluing wood to concrete


Not here to argue, Just want other DIyers to know that most of what that "installer" told you is wrong. Good luck. "Installers" like that keep flooring inspectors busy.

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