When solid wood floor is made, a piece of lumber goes into a mill where blades are turning out a semi finished product that is cut to size and ready to either be sanded and finished there at the mill or on site. Onsite finishing requires machinery that speeds up the process of sanding the floor and applying a coat or two of finish right after it gets stained or left without staining to maintain the natural look of the wood. Because solids are normally 3/4" thick, they are only meant to be nailed on top of wooden subfloors. The 3/4" stiff core enables it to accomodate most un-even floors that shift from time to time like peer and beam or trailer homes.
You can either stain a piece of solid wood floor like oak, white oak, hickory or maple. These types of wood floors take stain well and can be colored to your choice of stain. Another way that you can do solids is by leaving the natural color of the plank and only applying a a couple of coats of polyurethane.
Or you can leave a wood floor by itself and just coat it with urethane. This piece of Brazilian Cherry was left without stain and coated with urethane to maintain the natural look of the wood floor. Some of these darker natural wood floors like Walnuts, and Cherry wood might not take stain well. The wood planks are dark naturally and look fine without adding color to it. Most foreign woods otherwise know as "exotics" are commonly purchased already pre-finished.
The major difference in concrete and plywood is one will always have moisture in it, and the other one will have less. You can nail down 3/4" solid wood floor on top of plywood, but you cannot nail down 3/4" inch solid wood floor on top of concrete. This is sometimes the reason why solid wood floor can be less expensive than engineered. It takes more work to make an engineered wood floor than a solid wood plank. Companies install 3/4" inch plywood on top of concrete flooring all the time and nail down the solid hardwood on top of the plywood. This would act as a base so that a solid can be nailed down onto the plywood. Although this method is practiced on top of a concrete flooring, this method is not recommended by us in anyway. Solid wood floors are meant to be nailed on top of pear and beam foundations where the building is constantly breathing and is not dependent upon an A / C unit to keep it ventilated. Any house that has a concrete floor, will always depend on the A / C unit to keep the environment consistent. This can change for reasons such as the following:
Cupping is caused when the wood floors expand too much and peak at the seams. Solids woods will either be milled plain, quarter, or rift sawn. If its plain sawn, and most are, then in the presence of excess moisture will be susceptible to over expanding and thats where it may cup or buckle.
This solid wood floor cupped due to excessive moisture.Excessive moisture can be caused by a few things. Number one is excessive moisture in the air. If your house is not properly ventilated, moisture can accumulate and settle on your wood floors. The other reason is because water can get inside onto your concrete floors. Once your solid wood floors have absorbed the moisture, solids will grow or swell causing the seams to protrude upwards. Peer and beam homes or trailer homes can transfer the moisture down below since air flows underneath the homes. Concrete floors on the other hand do not have this ability so moisture sits in the foundation. Even moisture blocking glues cannot prevent condensation.
Buy or rent a de-humidifier to dry the excessive moisture in the air. This will make the air above the wood floors drier and make the wood floors transfer the moisture in the air. Transferring the moisture in the air will make the wood floors drier and recess the cupping. Your wood floors will de-cup or reverse back to original shape. Depending on the amount of moisture and the type of wood it is, there might be some permanent damage to some of the planks, but the majority of your cupping will go back down. Engineered wood flooring is 3 times more resistant than solids because of the criss-cross ply that is built underneath each plank.
Solid wood floors are meant to get nailed down on top of peer and beam or trailer homes. The reason is because here there is no concrete slab, so the subfloor has no moisture. You can say that air passes through the subfloor before water does, since in between the actual ground and the floor you walk on, is a gap. Peer and beam homes are usually sitting on top of concrete blocks or concrete peers. In between the subfloor and the ground, there is usually space where the air flows and moisture is circulated away from the subfloor. The risks involved are too high. Its just not worth it. Why spend thousands of dollars on a project and have to replace it later because you did not install engineered flooring on your concrete slab. This can all be prevented if you install an engineered wood flooring instead.
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