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Floating solid wood floors on concrete slab changes everything

Solid wood floors are the best choice for residential and commercial spaces joining aesthetics and style, but concrete slabs aren't suitable for traditional nailed-down or glued products. Today, you can really have it all: a high-quality Steller solid hardwood floor can be assembled directly over sealed concrete. 

In this post we’ll talk about:

  • Why installing solid wood floors on concrete slab didn’t work in the past

  • What are subfloor sleepers and why you don't need them with Steller Floors

  • How you can assemble a Steller Hardwood Floor directly over concrete subfloors


The Limits of a Traditional Wood Floor

Can you put wood flooring over concrete?

Traditionally, to install hardwood flooring the wood would be nailed or glued down. However, on concrete subflooring, nails will shatter the concrete and glue can loosen over time. These issues affect vinyl and engineered wood floors as well, and so these flooring types are often glued together in a floating format over sealed concrete.

What is a floating floor? Floating floors are a popular solution when installing new flooring, especially in areas where concrete slab subflooring is common. Floating flooring sits or "floats" on top of the concrete slab. 

Don’t glue down your floor. While simply gluing your flooring on top of the concrete slab may seem to be an easy, simple solution - it does come with some drawbacks. The process of gluing your flooring onto a concrete slab takes longer for installation and often costs more. It is also considerably more difficult to remove the flooring that has been glued down to replace or repair.

In the long run, engineered and vinyl flooring types can disappoint homeowners as they split at the seams and delaminate. Distraught owners and builders, feeling that they have no good options, often resort to polishing concrete out of desperation. 

Innovation for a New Kind of Floor

Steller Hardwood Floors is changing the game by offering a patented assembly system that allows solid hardwood floors to be installed directly over sealed concrete subflooring. Getting the best of both worlds is easier than ever because there’s no need to build a complex and expensive sleeper system. 

What are Subfloor Sleepers?

When a home or commercial space is built on a concrete slab and the owner is committed to having a warm and beautiful solid hardwood floor in their space, they previously had no option but to install subfloor sleepers above their foundation

Sleepers are a complex system made of 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 lumber that is built to allow the nails or glue used in traditional solid hardwood floor installation to be secured to the subfloor. 

Why are Subfloor Sleepers Bad?

The detriments of sleeper systems are clear even after you account for the added time and monetary cost. The architecture of the space needs to accommodate the wood subfloor system which can reduce ceiling height. Acoustically, you could accidentally create a “drum” that echoes underneath the floor. Worse, if the concrete subflooring is not sealed properly or if there is a leak under the floor, the area under the solid hardwood floor could become quite humid, which will result in squeaky warped planks. 

In this worst-case scenario, the hardwood floor would need to be repaired or replaced at an even higher cost.

How is a Steller Floor Different?

Steller Hardwood Floors have all of the benefits of a high-quality solid hardwood floor: they are beautiful, ¾” planks sourced with the highest quality rankings from the Northeastern USA. In addition, we prefinish and seal the planks so that they are ready to install on arrival. Then, our flooring can be assembled using our patented assembly clip directly over sealed concrete subflooring. 

How do you install hardwood floors on a concrete slab?

Steller Installation is Easy, No Matter the Subfloor

Unlike nailed or glued down floors, Steller Hardwood floors are easily assembled and specialized labor isn’t required for a Steller Hardwood Floor. Instead, a local handyperson or even a DIYer can install hardwood floors and plastic clips themselves (see our installation guide). The concrete slab should be level within ⅛” over 8-10 feet, which is standard for hardwood flooring. Then, we recommend covering unsealed concrete with 6-mil polyethylene fabric to block moisture from wicking up the concrete to the hardwood floor.

Once your subflooring is level and sealed, you can assemble your Steller Floor right then and there to add instant warmth and character to your space. Even contractors enjoy their flooring installations. Check out David’s review; he and his brothers installed a Steller floor in one afternoon!

Steller and Repairs and Remodels are Easy Too!  

Traditional hardwood floors are extremely difficult to refinish or repair and to manage during a remodel. Luckily, Steller Floors are easily repaired because you can use a suction cup to remove a single plank out of the middle of the floor. Just imagine the possibilities if you want to refinish your floor or remodel–it is a snap to keep your unique and beautiful floor in great condition.

Plus, if you ever have a flooding event, moving and removing our flooring is a great way to reduce the chance of catastrophic losses! 

Making the right call about installing wood floors on concrete

If you’re considering a sleeper system for your remodel or new build over concrete slab subflooring, you should check out Steller Solid Hardwood Floors which allows you to avoid building a complex and expensive subfloor system. Instead, you can assemble your Steller Solid hardwood floor right over the sealed concrete subflooring!

Ready to get Started? Give us a call at 1-800-955-7671 or email us at


See the “Steller Video Testimonials” page for reviews!