Nail, Glue, or Float
Nail Installation: This is the most economical way to install a wood floor. However, this option requires that your home have either plywood of wafer board/OSB on the sub-floor. If your home has particle board on the sub-floor you can nail your floor to it, however it does not provide as much holding power and is more likely to develop squeaks. For this reason manufacturers will not warranty their product when installed over particle board.
Glue or Float Installation: Concrete is a mixture of lime, rock, and water. Since wood floors have a tendency to expand or cup when exposed to water or excessive moisture, special products suitable for glue-down or float installation have been developed for use on concrete sub-floors. Their installation methods utilize a barrier which prevents the moisture from reaching the wood.
Glue: Gluing wood to a slab is one of the most common methods used by remodeling contractors and tract builders to install wood floors. When a quality adhesive is used and installed properly, it is rare that any problems will occur. Occasionally however, a shallow area on the slab will not receive enough adhesive and the floor will release from the glue; this only requires an inexpensive glue injection to remedy the problem.
*Verifying the moisture level of the slab on installation day is critical. If moisture levels are higher than allowed, installation will either have to be rescheduled, a concrete sealant applied (additional costs), or the homeowner may sign a release form authorizing the installer to proceed.
Float: Float installations are becoming increasingly more popular. They are relatively easy for the homeowner to install, and since they aren’t attached to the concrete they can easily be replaced if damaged. Float floor products utilize either a conventional tongue-and-groove or a snap-lock system. Several manufacturers even state that glue is unnecessary on their snap lock systems. Typically a special pad is rolled out over the concrete slab and the floor is then assembled on top of the pad as one large panel.