Hardwood floors are beautiful, durable, and can last for decades when properly maintained. When issues do arise, they are typically caused by moisture, either from below or above. Therefore, a majority of hardwood issues can be avoided before the first piece is installed by properly preparing the substrate to receive the flooring. In this article, we will be examining glue-down installation methods over concrete. Other methods, such as pneumatic nailing and click-together planks, bring their own challenges which will not be addressed here. This article also does not address laminate or bamboo, although many of the same considerations apply, especially regarding moisture.
Wood flooring adhesives are typically formulated for either dry environments or damp environments. Be aware that there is a difference between a high-moisture slab and one that exhibits hydrostatic pressure—moisture being actively forced up through a concrete slab caused by a nearby pond or water source. No adhesives recommend use in areas with hydrostatic pressure. Asking the right questions before you start is important to the finished product: