Ways to soften engineered floor feel on bare feet?
kcarty1January 8, 2014
I am trying to decide between hand-scraped 5 inch engineered wood floors and sand/finish on site floors installed over 3/4 in plywood. I like the bare-foot feel of floors with a plywood base more than glue-down to concrete slab. Since not new construction, wondering...Is there any way to soften the bare-foot feel when engineered floors are installed over concrete slab? Cork? Cushion of some sort?
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decoenthusiaste
Some "snap-in" laminate floors are laid over a thin sheet of foam.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 10, 2014 at 8:44AM
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PRO
Closet Experts
I personally would not glue down any wood to concrete. First, you should have a moisture barrier between concrete and wood. I would rather have a floating prefinished engineered wood over a radiant barrier(thin foam described by decoenthusiate). May need a separate vapor barrier too? That would soften up the feel.

I would also add a coat or two of finish to seal the joints afterwards. Would be more comfortable than glue down and lengthen the floor's life. But I defer to the opinion of flooring pros.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 4:51AM
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moggie73
We recently installed our 5 inch engineered wood flooring in our lower lever family room.
This is over concrete, so we used the traditional vapor barrier underneath. The key is it is a floating (snap-together style - not glued) floor system. It feels soft underfoot.
Also the thickness of your planking makes a huge difference - buy the thickest you can afford - this will help.
From experience, I recommend researching what transition edging is available from your wood to any tile or adjoining rooms.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 5:06AM
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sunnydrew
The floors directly on concrete slab will be cold. Great in the summer, but now....not so much. I have them and know this.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 5:10AM
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kcarty1
Thanks everyone. You are giving me more reasons to try to find a way to get sand/finish with plywood down. Foot comfort, warmth, and sealed protection :)
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 5:22AM
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kcarty1
Moggie73- thanks for suggesting transition research. Had not thought of that yet. Any recommendations?
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 5:33AM
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moggie73
We found that the flooring stores, like Lumber Liquidaters, sell matching strips for this purpose. You simply cut them to fit the opening required. However the selection of stain colors is often limited. Just keep this in mind when you choose your finish color.
On our main level, we had to have our carpenters 'manufacture' and stain to-match pieces of wood to provide an edge at the stair- way, into the tiled entryway. etc. We were able to have these installed with screws into the subfloor.
In your application, you may need to use glue, here only.
These strips also help when the height of your new floor differs from the neighboring flooring.
My other bit of advice would be to continue your flooring in as many connecting rooms as your budget permits. It really does make your home feel more open.
Buy more than you think you need.
Good Luck. Wiishing you Happy Feet.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:07AM
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kcarty1
Thanks so much! Will be putting wood in all rooms except baths, laundry, and possibly kitchen. Have med brown stained kitchen cabinets and not sure i want that much wood color in kitchen. Considering painting some of cabinets white/off-white , but so fat painters are trying to talk me out of it :(. I'm bummed as I want white and can't find cabinet/painter to paint over stained cabinets. Cabs are only 9 yrs old custom cabinets.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:17AM
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moggie73
That is so funny, I have the same plan, regarding painting the cabinets. Ours are custom, natural maple now, with a black speckled granite countertop. I don't want the expense of replacing the expensive granite. So, painting the cabinets seems like a terrific way to freshen up the look.
Have you ever checked out this blogger? centsationgirl.com
She recently did a blog about kitchen trends that here to stay.
(our choice is right there.)
I have found the decorating blogs helpful, as I am brand new to Houzz.
I guess, we both need to keep looking for a painter with taste.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 9:39AM
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kcarty1
Have not seen her blog but will check it out. See photos. May restain med brown the existing red oak 2 1/4 in family room floors to match new floors (if do sand/finish type ) and either retile/stone kitchen floor or also put wood in kitchen. If wood in kitchen want off white cabinets. Painters said "if it were me i would not paint your cabinets. You will not like them as much". Great:( Also have to figure out about raising cabinets above built in fridge.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
There are so many threads about painting oak cabinets, no one likes them anymore! The main problem with painting oak is that the grain will show through unless you are willing to sand, do a prime-coat, sand, prime again, sand again, paint, sand, paint, sand, and top-coat (I used a spray urethane). I have had success with this on a small vanity in my powder room, and also our small kitchen in our trailer. I used latex paint as it's thicker than alkyd. It's a ton of work, but it's the only way you can get a smooth finish like you would get from painting maple, although I did see a post where someone mentioned using drywall compound to fill the grain. Do a search for discussions about painting oak cabinets; you will get some other ideas and advice. Lots of people recommend Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations, which you can purchase at Homedepot and Lowe's.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:40AM
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kcarty1
The cabinets are maple not oak. My family room floors are red oak. :)
    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Ah ok, I thought the cabinets were oak too! Disregard all that then, lol. I'm not sure then why the painters would be telling you that you won't like your cabinets painted? Maybe they're all just against painting wood? It should be really easy to get a nice smooth finish on them.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Sorry forgot to mention, when we installed click laminate flooring in our trailer, we used an upgraded underlayment that was heavy red plastic covered in little styrofoam dots that cushioned the flooring more than the regular cheaper underlay. It gives the floor some "bounce" and deadens that "walking on laminate" sound. I'm just not sure if this product is recommend for engineered wood, but you could ask. We got it Home Depot. I know they also sell "Drycore" subfloor made especially for flooring installation over concrete.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 1:11PM
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PRO
Select Hardwood Floor Co.
A few "thoughts"...
MOST of the higher quality "engineered" hardwood flooring that can be installed over concrete slab can/should be glued down in a urethane adhesive.
For the flooring we produce, for example... we recommend the use of a high end adhesive and suggest using a "deep V" notched trowel. This essentially applies an adequate base for the flooring, and in the same stroke offers an excellent vapor barrier. This procedure ALSO adds a bit of resilience to the flooring (similar to as if the floor was installed over a bed of silicone rubber), giving it a softer "feel". There are also options available in the way of using and "underlayment" that acts a another layer of cushion. Obviously budget issues may be a consideration. It's all subjective.
Also, our experience has been that in a hand-scraped finish, the slight surface irregularity offers a softer "feel" as well, as opposed to a smooth finish... along with making the flooring much more forgiving in the maintenance & durability department. Keep in mind that the term: hand-scraped" doesn't have to mean overly "rustic"... some of the options include very subtle styles (produced by some of us in the biz).
Another misconception is that wood flooring is "cold"... however it offers great insulation. Granted, it may not be as warm as carpet... but it's much more comfortable than other hard surfaces such as tile or porcelains. Wood offers a happy medium. Just my 2 cents.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    January 11, 2014 at 3:05PM
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kcarty1
Would love to hear more about the adhesive are you available to chat ever?
    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 8:03PM
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PRO
Select Hardwood Floor Co.
kcarty... if you were asking me (?) the answer is yes.
I can be reached by email at: david@selecthardwoodfloor.com or by phone: 916-402-1113
    Bookmark   Thanked by kcarty1    February 9, 2014 at 8:42AM
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kcarty1
David- Is mon-fri. 9-5 better time for you to talk?
    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:13AM
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PRO
Select Hardwood Floor Co.
@kcarty1...
Sure... consider that we are Pacific time zone & I have no idea where you are located.
Another consideration is that often, if I'm out in the shop (which is a lot lately)... I may not hear my phone ring, and you may end up in my v-mail.... so if you can let me know a "window" that you'd be calling within, it would be helpful.
Either that or email me with your number and a timeframe, & I'll call you...
Need not worry about recurring "sales pitch" calls... not my style... lol
    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:09PM
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