HARDWOOD FLOORING and TILE FLOORING - Serving: Milwaukee, Madison, and Janesville Wisconsin Call Robert at: (414) 430-2378 or (608) 728-2378
(I no longer do sanding, finishing, or refinishing of hardwood floors. I do installations only.)

When talking about hardwood flooring installation we are referring to solid wood flooring installation (3/8, 1/2, 5/8, ¾

inch thick) of any type or species of wood, with a factory prefinished face. In this category the only

major difference will be between the thickness or the width of the

wood planks. Hardwood floors are typically installed with

nails, staples or cleats onto a wooden sub-floor base and over a layer of felt paper used for sound proofing. In planks

wider than 3 ¼ inch construction glue is required to compensate for the distance between the nails. Even though the wood

installation looks like a very complex process, for the flooring professional it is quite an easy task. As soon as the

type of the wood is determined by the home owner, they will look for a starting point (straight line wall), calculate the

necessary space for expansion and start laying down the wood. prefinished wood floors are going to take longer to be

installed because the installer has to make sure the prefinished face is protected at all time to avoid dents or



Laminate floors are very popular due to their easy installation and inexpensive price and ultimately for their wood look-

a-like quality. A good quality laminate product will really trick the eye and make the floor look like the real deal.

Usually, laminate floors are made out of recycled paper and are installed with a quick click locking device. The result is

going to be a floating floor as the installation does not require any nails or glue. Before installing a laminate floor,

the installer is going to check if the leveling of the sub-floor (concrete or plywood) is good or at least fair. They will

install a sound barrier that will reduce the noise and add comfort when walking on the floor, after which they will

proceed with the laminate floor installation. Some expansion space is required, but humidity and moisture doesn't affect

the laminate flooring as much as the real hardwood. That is why laminate is preferred in basements and garden units.


This type of wood is called Engineered because it is made out of layers of different types of wood with a thin layer of

the desired species on top. The engineered wood is preferred for the glue down installation in situations where raising

the floor to accommodate a sub-floor is not an option. It can also be nailed down to a wooden sub-floor. The engineered wood

is usually prefinished in the factory but you can also find it in the unfinished option. When shopping for a prefinished

engineered floor you have to always keep in mind that time and traffic will ultimately affect the finish and the floor

will have to be refinished. That is why you have to buy the engineered wood that has the thickest top layer, because that

is the sanding layer. With the economy down, some of the manufacturers are making the top layer thinner to lower the cost

of production. From ¼ inch a few years ago, now we find products with 1/8 inch and even 1/16 inch top layer. The last

option is impossible to refinish without exposing the lower layers. The most common engineered wood installation can be

found in buildings with a concrete slab. This type of wood will keep the level closer to the slab making the transition

from wood to carpeted rooms or tiled areas nice and smooth. If a regular hardwood floor will raise the level with about

1.3/4 inch, the engineered will stay within the ½ inch to ¾ inch range. The way the wood is designed will keep the boards

straight for the duration of the installation until the glue hardens.


The best wood floor for glue down installation is the engineered wood. The multiple layers of different woods used in


- Hardwood Flooring
- Laminate Flooring
- Engineered Flooring
- Glue Down Flooring
- Floating Floor
- Sub-floors
- Medallions
- Ceramic and Porcelain Flooring
- Natural Stone

fabrication will keep the wood straight after it is removed from the box for a longer period, just enough time for the

glue to dry. For smaller areas, gluing regular hardwood to a concrete slab is possible. The engineered wood comes in a

prefinished and an unfinished version. To install glue down floors, the installer will check the moisture level of the

concrete using a moisture testing kit. After determining that the concrete has the right moisture they will proceed with

the floor installation. In some buildings a sound barrier installation will be required prior to the wood installation.

The glue has to be an oil based product to avoid cupping on the floor after installation. A fair amount of glue has to be

used that will cover the sub-floor evenly to assure a solid quality installation. The boards are going to be secured in

place with masking tape until the glue is dry and a special glue cleaner might be used after the tape is removed to clean

any glue spots or residue existing on the floor surface.


A floating floor with a quick click mechanism could be either a Laminate floor or an engineered floating floor. Floating

floors are usually installed on a concrete slab over a sound barrier. The quick click installation does not require glue

or nails. The floor will be installed like a puzzle with a snap in place mechanism. The quick click floating floor is

preferred in apartments and high rise buildings where space will not allow for a major construction project.


When installing a solid or engineered nail down flooring a wooden sub-floor is required. The most common wooden sub-floor

is ¾ inch plywood. Depending on the situation a 5/8 inch or ½ inch plywood could also be used. On a concrete slab the

sub-floor will be secured with concrete nails or screws. Some high rise buildings will not allow securing the plywood to

the concrete but instead they will require a floated sub-floor consisting of two layers of 3/8 inch sheets. The top layer

will be secured to the bottom layer with nails or screws. In some cases a sound barrier could be required to be installed

under the sub-floor. The sound barrier could be anything from inexpensive plastic foam to a high end rubber material that

will be in compliance with the most excessive building requirements. Cork is the most common sound barrier and widely

accepted in any wood floor installation.

- Ceramic, Porcelain, and Natural Stone Flooring
1. Installing Over a Concrete Slab

Repair all cracks and uneven patches in the concrete sub-floor prior to the installation, if the tile is being directly bonded to the concrete.

In case of sub floors with large cracks, consider the possibility of removing a large section of concrete slab and replacing it with a new one instead of patching all the cracks.

For bad cracks in the concrete slab, smooth it with concrete filler, or similar compound.

Cleanliness is paramount. Besides any surface materials, be sure to remove any grease stains, or other substances that have stained the slab as best you can.

Cement backer board can provide a solid, flat surface to install tiles on if you have a wood sub-floor.

2. Installing Over a Plywood Sub Floor

A plywood sub-floor must be structurally sound and able to support the installation. Tile floors are heavy and tile is a hard material. It will break or dislodge if the surface bends under the load.

Remember that you need a very flat surface to work on. If needed, sand the plywood down to level the sub-floor.

Plywood must be installed over an adequate sub-floor and must be at least 1 1/8" thick when combined with the sub-floor. Interior-grade plywood and particleboard are not considered a strong enough for a tile installation.

3. Installing Over Vinyl Flooring

Remove the vinyl floor and any remnant adhesive used for the vinyl installation.

In some cases, you will be able to remove the vinyl itself, but not the adhesive. Use the type of thin set that is recommended by the backer board manufacturer.

If it seems difficult, you might want to lay down a backer board with thin-set.

4. Installing Over An Existing Ceramic Tile floor

You can either leave the tile floor in place and apply thin-set directly over it, or remove the tile with a hammer, depending on how high the floor will need to sit relative to doors and other interior elements.

If the existing tile floor is set over a mortar bed it may be hard to remove the tiles without removing a lot of the mortar bed.

If you are doing installation directly over the old tile flooring, rough up the existing tile with sand paper. Clean with degreaser and test a small area overnight for bonding.

Also, check the height of the floor with the height of doors and cabinets. Any good thin-set can be used to install your new floor.

The price for your in-home measure and estimate will be $25. This measure and estimate fee will be credited toward the

cost of your installation.

Basic installation only and does not include product. Projects under 250 sq. ft. are excluded.

Serving: Milwaukee, Madison, and Janesville WI

Call Robert at: 414-430-2378 or 608-728-2378 (I no longer do sanding, finishing, or refinishing of hardwood floors. I do installations only.)