How Does Subfloor Influence Flooring Choice?

The type of subfloor you have has a strong influence on what kind of wood flooring you can install. In this case, 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.



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!


Although 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 condominiums, 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 (you can’t nail the flooring into concrete). Another issue with is that there will almost always 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 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.

Overall, the best choice for concrete subfloors is usually engineered hardwood. Though solid hardwood isn’t out of the question as long as it is at ground level, it will be more expensive and time consuming to install.

Interested in learning more about choosing a wood floor based on your subfloor? Contact the flooring experts at Signature Hardwood Floors by calling 410.415.0755 or click here today! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!


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