Hardwood flooring and subfloor construction on wood subfloors or concrete basements

by Charter Oak Flooring

Posted on June 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM

repairing damaged wood flooring

Hardwood floors can be installed on any level of your home and are available in multiple constructions to allow for flexible installations over different types of subfloors and to mitigate moisture. It is important to take moisture into consideration when installing hardwood flooring since changes in moisture can create issues such as warping and gapping.

For more information about the damage moisture can cause to hardwood flooring check out our repairs project post.

At the base of nearly every finished floor, such as tile, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, cork—is a subfloor. Understanding and installing the correct type of subfloor is key to a healthy and floor that will last decades. When you look at a completely installed floor, it is really a "sandwich" composed of many different layers. These likely include:

Joists - Joists are the bottom most layer that hold up the entire floor. A joist can be a 2" x 10" piece of timber or it might be an I-beam made of engineered wood. Not all floors will have joists. Concrete floors do not require joists and also require the use of different materials to install both hardwood and tile floors.

The Primary Subfloor layer - A structurally-sound layer, usually plywood and the like. In older homes the subfloor might be a series of tongue and groove wood planks, usually pine run on a diagonal.

The Secondary Subfloor - Thin layer of plywood, cement fiberboard, or cement board to smooth out the subfloor and provide a flat and level surface for the finish floor. We offer waterproofing and various vapor barriers when installing tile. These systems add the life and longevity most homeowners expect in areas such as kitchens, tile back splashes and especially when remodeling bathrooms and showers.

The Finished Floor - The decorative floor that you walk on, such as tile, hardwood, or vinyl or cork. This is the surface area that guests see and that receives most daily foot traffic.

The use of the word Subfloor has become a general term, referring to everything from foam padding (better known as the underlayment for ”floating floors”) to the 1/2" to 3/4" plywood that is nailed or screwed down to the joists or can refer to cement boards, waterproofing and vapor barriers or even a slab of concrete can be referred to as “the subfloor.”

There are three primary subfloors over which we can install hardwood flooring: Basement or concrete below grade, concrete at grade and plywood subfloor at or above grade.  We offer three constructions of hardwood floors to address each primary type of subfloor: 3/4-inch solid, engineered and floating. We carry a number of species of prefinished and unfinished 3/4-inch solid, engineered and floating floor options in various widths, stains and finishes.

When selecting the type of hardwood, tile or combination of both you want installed in your home, it is cruccial for the contractor you select to provide you with material options based on the type of subfloors you have in your home. If your flooring contractor does not bother to ask, verify on the estimate and test for moisture in basement areas, than you should reconsider and look for other contractors and estimates.

One Stop. One Estimate. One Check

We are not happy until you are. The quality and craftsmanship of our work has delivered hundreds of repeat customers and recommendations. In many cases, we are the only contractor many of our customers continue to use for their flooring needs. No matter what the job is, if it involves flooring, tile of any sort, or completely renovating your bathroom, we are your one stop shop. We live by the motto of One Stop. One Estimate. One Check.

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About Charter Oak Flooring

We are your one stop shop when it comes to all of your tile and hardwood needs! We offer a wide range of hardwood and tile services along with full bathroom remodels. The company was founded in 2002 as a sanding & refinishing company and hardwood installation. We have stayed true to our roots, but have expanded our services over the years. Our showroom displays a wide range of prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring, along with engineered, vinyl and cork flooring. Our tile selection covers all of your natural stone, ceramic, porcelain and glass and mosaic tile needs for your kitchen, bathrooms, backsplashes and showers. We have installed, sanded and finished thousands of square footage of hardwood flooring and installed hundreds of tile floors, backsplashes, showers, walls and fireplaces.


Looking for just material? We display and sell hardwood and tile materials for all types of projects. For hardwood we offer prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring along with your engineered hardwood, cork and vinyl flooring. For tile, we carry a variety of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone, glass and mosaic tiles we. We also offer a tin backsplash line as well. In addition to material, we offer other services related to both hardwood flooring and tile. We can refinish your stair flight, stain your hardwood floor and complete the finishing process with oil base polyurethane, a water-base finish or upgrade to a epoxy based finish for those high traffic areas of your home. For tile services, we can include a custom inlay or border to any tile floor, back splash, shower or wall tile. We can install a full tile surround in your shower or even a water proof barrier. Stop into our showroom and talk to one of our showroom associates.


We have over a decade of experience with hundreds of homes that we have installed in. Whether you are choosing to tear up those old carpets and replace it with a new hardwood floor or want to be creative and have a custom, patterned border floor with a inlay installed, we have the experience and skills to do any type of wood floor installation. We offer a wide variety of species of hardwood, that comes ¾” solid or engineered that is available in different widths, grades, stains and finishes. We are a small business driven by quality, not quantity. We offer a wide range of tile installation services in addition to our hardwood installation. These include installing tile floors, backsplashes, showers and bathrooms. Our tile selections include ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass and mosaics.

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