Builders’ Show: Installing wood flooring over concrete

Consumer Reports News: January 13, 2011 08:08 AM

Want to install solid-wood flooring over a concrete subfloor, such as in a basement? Historically, you’d be taking a foolish chance. But two products that Lumber Liquidators announced at the International Builders’ Show are claimed to make installing any wood flooring in the basement—or, in the South, even on a higher-level slab—far less of a gamble.

Elastilon (pictured) is a VOC-free adhesive soft underlay that comes in rolls. A plastic vapor barrier goes down first, then the Elastilon. Solid- or engineered-wood flooring, even what ordinarily is meant to be nailed, then goes down over the Elastilon, essentially making a floating floor without gaps or open seams. You have about 20 minutes to make any adjustments.

The manufacturer of the product, based in Europe, has been selling it there and other places outside the U.S. for more than 10 years and claims the adhesion can survive even immersion from a basement flood. The product is sold through Lumber Liquidators stores and its website. One roll costs $215 and covers almost 108 square feet.

Another option for similar situations is the Ultrabond ECO 995 2-in-1 Mapei Moisture Control & Adhesive, a long moniker for a urethane adhesive that’s sold by the 5-gallon bucket for $220. It comes with a clip-on trowel attachment (under the lid of the bucket) that you use to spread the adhesive onto a concrete slab (no prior moisture barrier necessary). You then lay down any type of wood or bamboo floor. Using the trowel attachment you can cover about 30- to 40-square feet per bucket. It's sold at Lumber Liquidators stores and on the company's website.

—Ed Perratore

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