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Hardwood floor over old tile in basement?

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Feb 11, 2014, 12:08 AM
Hardwood floor over old tile in basement?
I have an opportunity to buy unfinished red oak tongue and groove hardwood at a super price and would like to use it in my woman cave. My concern is the existing floor in my basement is old tile over concrete. I am looking for advice as to whether hardwood is a viable option for a basement floor due to potential moisture issues and if anyone has done this successfully, what I should use for a moisture barrier and if I should install a sub floor (plywood?) for a base? Any and all advice is appreciated!
Feb 11, 2014, 03:01 AM
Generally a bad idea - moisture issues and real hardwood don't go together very well. I know most of the hardwood flooring companies in my area and none will install a solid hardwood as a glue-down on a slab. Too many warranty issues with the product expanding and contracting during moisture changes.

There are ways of making a floating subfloor, but the cost will negate the 'super price' that you can get the red oak for. Some laminated hardwoods will work on top of a slab and most floating floors will work too. But again, that's not what you are asking about.

Feb 11, 2014, 06:10 PM
I wouldn't just lay plywood down and attach the hard wood floor, this wouldn't give you a good nailing surface and gluing is extreme pain.
If you are truly interest and willing to go a little extra material and labor, I'll show you the system used.
Feb 16, 2014, 09:29 PM
Thank you both for your info. I have opted to pass on the red oak. I am now looking for new options. The god awful tile is more than I want to tear out so I am looking for options to go over it. I only want to use carpet in the family room area, but have a bar area and billiards room that i do not want to carpet. A floating floor seems the most feasible. Any ideas? Thanks so much for your time and wisdom!
Feb 16, 2014, 10:28 PM
Hi Girl,

What kind of tiles do you have in the basement? Got pics?

Jaybee, I was wondering under what circumstances would a solid hardwood floor be a viable choice for a basement?


Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
Feb 16, 2014, 10:39 PM
If you don't want to tear out the old tile and are looking for easy install, go with a click together floating floor. The only prep you may have to do is to get a floor leveling compound to fill any grout lines or uneveness in the tile.

A strong suggestion: Spend a little more on your click flooring - go for the stuff in the $3 to $4 per square foot range. This will get you pieces that are individual planks that have a real wood top layer. Flooring in this price range usually goes together a lot easier than the cheaper stuff.

Also, the less expensive brands are pieces that have two or three planks embossed onto one piece. This means that every 4' there are three seems lined up alongside each other. Maybe it's because I'm in the business, but every time I see this it bothers me.

My personal favorite is made by Schon and sold through Lumber Liquidators. 4" to 5" wide planks sold in a variety of lengths. Makes for a 'real' looking floor plus it also clicks together in both directions easily. Two people can install a fairly large room in a few hours.


Feb 16, 2014, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by JazMan:

Jaybee, I was wondering under what circumstances would a solid hardwood floor be a viable choice for a basement?


Jaz -

As I said above, not many. I can never recommend a solid hardwood on a basement slab. A moot point since any of the flooring subs I use would refuse to install it.

Now, if we have a customer who insists on solid hardwood on their basement slab, there is one way that will work. We had one such client - both of them were professional dancers. They had their basement built extra deep (12' high) so they could eventually turn it into a practice studio.

There is another thread around here somewhere detailing this but the basics are to cover the slab with 1/2" solid foam sheets, lay out a layer of 3/4" plywood (not T&G) then install a second layer of 1/2" to 3/4" plywood on top of the first. Making sure to offset all seams in both directions. This will give you a very stiff floating subfloor that is solid enough so that you can install a nail-down solid wood floor as a final surface. While the finished floor is very solid, there is just enough 'give' to make a perfect dance floor.

The down-side is cost, between a layer of foam and two layers of plywood, there is a lot of material involved. Add in all the screws needed to hold the two layers of plywood together and it's fairly labor intensive too. And of course, between the subfloor and the finished flooring, you will raise the floor from the slab by 2-1/2" to 2-3/4" depending on what plywood you use.

So to answer your question, that would be the only circumstance. OTOH, I've made a lot of money from houses where their basement floor was a glue-down hardwood.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,