Yes you sure can…provided there is not a moisture issue. (You should never install hardwood when there is a moisture issue regardless of the subfloor). I do get a lot of customers asking me about hardwood flooring over concrete, and there does seem to be a lot of confusion, so I hope this helps clarify.
If you live in a condo or co-op building in Westchester, you may have a concrete subfloor rather than a plywood subfloor. Many customers think that this limits their choice of flooring and that they are restricted to laminate flooring (i.e. fake hardwood) or carpet. While laminate flooring will work in these conditions, so will engineered hardwood, so you may want to consider both options based on your preference and budget.
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As background, there are 3 ways to install hardwood floors (from best to worst):
1 Nail down – requires plywood sub-flloor (you can’t nail into concrete…last I checked)
2. Glue down – engineered hardwoods can be glued (note: solid hardwood can not be glued (except for bamboo))
3. Float – this is when the hardwood is clicked into each other (or glued at joints) but is not attached to the floor. The floor is secured via the base molding around the edges. Both laminate and engineered hardwood floors can be floated.
So, if you have a plywood sub-floor, the world is your oyster. You can choose any type of flooring (solid or engineered) and any type of method (but I would suggest nailing since it’s the most secure).
If you have a concrete -, then you have choices to make
1. You can install either an engineered hardwood floor (this is real hardwood done in layers) or a laminate floor (this is fake floor that looks like hardwood) on top of cement. Laminate will cost less; engineered hardwood will improve the value of your home.
2. If you really want to install a solid hardwood floor, it will cost extra as first you will need to install a 3/4″ plywood subfloor. Adding this extra layer will definitely cost you more and add some height. Sometimes, the additional height is not an issue at all. But, if you have low ceilings, you may feel a bit more closed in, and more importantly, you may have issues with your doors. If you have solid wood doors, these can usually be shaved; if you have a metal door, you are definitely limited. You also need to consider the height differences vs. the rest of th flooring in your home. Sometimes the height difference is insignificant and other times, it can be a bit of a mess. Usually it’s easy to put in transitions pieces between levels, but some people just don’t like height differences across rooms. (Others, couldn’t care less).
It’s often best to have a hardwood expert come to your house and provide advice and options for what works best in your home. There are many factors that go into this decision and there is no “one size fits all” solution. I like to see what type of sub-floor there is (cement vs. plywood) and whether the sub-floor is even and I like to look at decor/style. Budget is often a consideration as well, and I’m happy to provide multiple options to my customers, so they can select the best option for their needs and their budget. I love giving advice on hardwood floors…many customers don’t realize how much they don’t know and they can’t get this same sort of service in a store…you have to visit the home to give the best advice.
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your floors
Where can you buy engineered hardwood online?
If you’re looking for some engineered hardwood flooring that you can buy online, I’d check out FlooringInc.com. They are very affordable and shipping is free. Here’s a link to their engineered flooring section. In particular, I like Shaw Castlewood’s line for a wide plank, contemporary white wash and gray looks. It’s a rustic line that looks chic with a wire brushed effect. Warning: the picture this link will take you to on their site is not the most attractive picture…scan through the other colors below to see the breadth of this line. The picture here is Shaw Castlewood in Hearth.
Can you install hardwood flooring on top of concrete? Westchester County NY