Choosing a Wood Floor Based on Your Subfloor


The type of subfloor you have has a strong influence on what kind of wood flooring you can install. By this, we’re talking about solid hardwood flooring vs. engineered hardwood flooring. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss what kind of floors work for different subflooring, and options you have if your subflooring doesn’t initial allow you to go with your first choice of wood flooring.

Subfloors and Wood Flooring


Plywood is a very common subfloor and is usually found on the first and second floor of your home. It works equally well for solid hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring, and requires no alterations to install either one. If you have a plywood subfloor, consider yourself fortunate!


Similar to plywood, particleboard is unfortunately not usable when it comes to hardwood floors. You’ll have to tear out the particleboard and replace it with plywood in order to make it a viable subfloor for wood flooring. Once you do this, you can go with either solid or engineered hardwood.


Concrete is a common subfloor in basements, or if you don’t have a basement, the ground floor of your home may have a concrete subfloor. There are several stipulations for concrete subflooring that dictate what kind of flooring will work here.

If the concrete subfloor is in the basement, solid wood flooring is not advisable. This is because there will almost inevitably be a moisture problem sooner or later in the basement which will ruin a solid wood floor. Engineered hardwood floor is the only kind of wood suitable for use on a concrete subfloor in the basement.

If the concrete subfloor is at grade (ground level), the best choice is still engineered hardwood. However, if you really want solid wood, there are a few options. First, you could install plywood over the concrete, and then install solid wood over that. Expensive, but a viable option. Alternatively, solid wood flooring can be glued to a concrete subfloor, though there are some caveats. The boards must be totally flat, and totally flat boards can be hard to find if you’re looking for longer ones. The glue used for this type of project is permanent, so if you ever need to replace the wood floor due to water damage, etc., it will be very hard to do. In addition, the glue often contains toxic compounds which you might not want in your home.

In conclusion, the best choice for concrete subfloors is generally engineered hardwood. Though solid hardwood isn’t out of the question (as long as the floor is at grade), it will be more expensive and time consuming to install. Engineered hardwood flooring must be used on a concrete subfloor in the basement.


With more than twenty years of experience in hardwood flooring installation and restoration, Signature Hardwood Floors offers top quality products and exceptional craftsmanship. We are licensed and insured for both residential and commercial projects. We are also a recognized member of the National Wood Flooring Association. Contact the flooring experts at Signature Hardwood Floors, Inc. by calling 410.415.0755 or click here today! You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn!



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