Q: I live in a condo with a concrete floor base. A neighbor told me her contractor said she had to use engineered hardwood floors instead of real hardwood because of the base. I currently have an area with hardwoods, but want to replace all the flooring with hardwoods. Can I use hardwoods, or was my neighbor’s contractor right? If I can use hardwoods, what would be the preferred installation method?
— T.J., Washington, D.C.
A: Unless the condo is below ground level, a contractor should be able to install solid hardwood flooring over concrete, as long as the concrete is dry and the contractor uses the right subfloor and vapor retarder, according to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association.
Moisture can be a problem with floors that are below grade, however. In that situation, an engineered wood floor is a better choice.
The association offers guidance on installing hardwood floors over concrete on its American Hardwood Information Center website at www.hardwoodinfo.com/articles/view/pro/28/241.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.