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We recently had our house built, and included the "hardwood floors" upgrade. When we moved it we were pleased with the way the floors looked. Some time later, water started coming up from beneath the floors - there was a leak in our wall. When the builder came in to replace some of the damaged/warped boards in the floor, we learned that the floor was glued down to the concrete beneath. Is this normal?

When the boards were pulled up, they were demolished in the process. They had to force them off of the glue beneath.

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That looks like engineered hardwood, is it? – Chris Vesper Aug 14 '10 at 23:39
Chris, I believe so. It's not thick at all, if that has any relevance. You can view larger images at flickr.com/photos/93499613@N00/4590979258/sizes/l – Sampson Aug 15 '10 at 1:15
Thanks for the larger picture, that's engineered. Nice color, BTW. – Chris Vesper Aug 15 '10 at 13:59
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, hardwood is often glued directly to concrete slab. It's a fairly common installation.

That said, gluing down solid hardwood planks is more problematic and trouble-prone because the solid planks do not tolerate uneven floor very well.

Engineered hardwood often works better for a glue-down application. Engineered hardwood is manufactured from layers of material laminated together, topped with a veneer of actual hardwood. The layers are chosen to allow the flooring to better tolerate environmental conditions, such as moisture, better than solid planks. Manufacturers also often cut slots on the back of the hardwood which allow it to flex and absorb the unevenness in a concrete slab.

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