Wood flooring is one of the most popular types of flooring among homeowners. Buyers looking to buy a home are more likely to buy one with hardwood floors than, for example, vinyl ones. Also, homeowners who are selling their homes can set a higher price because of their wood floors.
Wood flooring adds warmth to every room and is always in style. When properly installed, these floors can last for decades and are resistant to standard wear and tear. They are a breeze to clean and do not need replacing once they look worn out. With some sanding and refinishing, they can look as good as new. Unlike carpets, they do not make an ideal home for dust mites, ticks, and allergen-producing spores.
As mentioned, to look good and serve their purpose, wood floors need to be correctly installed. But, when installed over a concrete surface, the process can be a bit complicated. Many things can go wrong, so it is important to prepare for unplanned scenarios.
Fixing the Damaged Concrete
It is impossible to properly install wood flooring over damaged concrete. Before you begin this process, you need to make sure that your concrete floor is even. It should not have any cracks or collapsed areas. If you notice any of these problems, hire a professional to repair them before beginning your installation.
The biggest problem with cracked concrete is that it is often a sign of foundation settlement. Settlement can lead to cracks (which will let water into your home) and may even compromise the structural integrity of the house. It is important to have your cracked concrete checked by a professional who will determine the cause of damage and fix the underlying problem. Installing a new floor over damaged concrete can be a recipe for a disaster.
In case your contractor finds that your Mobile, AL home is settling, do not worry. There are several ways they can repair the damage and restore your home to its previous state.
Push piers: Push piers are used in the case of foundation settlement. They are almost invisible once installed and are galvanized so they are protected against corrosion. Push piers are driven into the ground and their purpose is to lift the foundation back towards its original position.
Helical piers: Helical piers are used when lighter structures such as chimneys or patios are in question. They are screwed into the ground and can also lift the foundation towards its original position.
Slab piers: Homes with settling slab foundation can be fixed with slab piers. They have the same purpose as helical piers and push piers.
Leveling the Surface
The concrete needs to be completely even, otherwise, the concrete and the wood will not meet properly. While smaller bumps can be ignored, any holes or bulges that are larger than 3/16 of an inch need to be repaired before the floors are installed. The simplest way to fix this problem is to sand down smaller bumps with a grinder. If there are any dips, they can be repaired with a leveling compound.
If you are dealing with a sunken patio that you wish to cover with wood and create a cozy atmosphere, concrete lifting will solve your problem. Polyurethane foam injection can lift the sunken concrete and make it even once again, it is durable and will save you money.
Getting Rid of Moisture
As you know, wood and moisture do not go hand in hand. In fact, moisture leads to wood rot, which means that if you place your new wood floors over moist concrete, soon you will have ruined floors. The problem with concrete is that it is porous. It soaks in the moisture from the air and the ground, so it is not the best idea to place solid wood installations over concrete. While wood won’t react with low moisture levels, higher ones can cause wood to swell. When the planks get soaked, they expand. Once they have no room to spread anymore, they begin to buckle. This can happen in one area of the room or it can destroy the entire floor.
Before you begin to install wood floors, it is important to ensure that moisture levels are below 4%. You can measure the moisture level with a moisture meter. Unfortunately, this device only measures the moisture level in the upper layers. Moisture, however, tends to settle at the bottom of the concrete.
If your home is rather new, do not install your floors right away. There is a chance that your concrete hasn’t cured completely, so wait two months before you begin with the installation. When you are positive that the concrete has cured, use an underlayment with a moisture barrier to keep the moisture from the wood. Since it comes in the form of strips, you will need to roll them out to cover the floor, and then connect them with a special tape. When the floors are in place, you will need to trim the edges of the strips.
Keep in mind that wood and concrete won’t meet properly if there are some obstacles between them. So, before the installation, clean the concrete floor and remove nails, dust, and any spatters.
Do you have a problem with a settling foundation or damaged concrete? If so, do not hesitate to contact AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists and schedule a free inspection and quote. Our experts will determine the cause of your concrete problems and recommend suitable solutions.