Removing Hardwood Floors And Installing Them On Concrete


Greetings Floor Doctor!

My mother has moved out of her old home and it will be demolished. The hardwood floors are so nice though and we’d like to put them in another home. Her old home is not on a concrete slab, so I have no idea what’s under her hardwoods nor how they were installed or if they are tongue & grove, etc. (They don’t creak at all.) The home is at least 40+ years old. Since the house will be demolished I certainly don’t have to be neat with my removal system! 🙂

Please help! Then, (if I may ask another question please) what process will I use to adhere them to a home with a concrete slab (all carpet & vinyl tiles have been removed. Must you nail a plywood floor to the slab to nail the salvaged floor to? I’m clueless. We certainly don’t mind the man hours, and figure if it doesn’t work, we’re only out minimal dollars. Oh, by the way, I just had pine planking put into my place (upstairs onto plywood sub-flooring) and watched the men install that. Not too hard, just time consuming. Well, any help you offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much in advance!


Dear Denise

You remove an old floor the opposite way it went in. Start at the far end of the room where the last few boards were laid. These will have their tongues pointing toward the wall. The last 2-3 rows will be face nailed. You will only have to crack one board in the last row to remove it. Then use a cat’s paw restorer at,43456,43399.

This tool will gently remove the boards without damaging them. Try to scoot the thin edge of the catspaw under where the floor is nailed, and pry just a little at a time. Once you work backwards into the room and get some working space you can use a larger tool:,43456,43399. The renovator bar will ease up the most stubborn boards.

I know you will want to use a hammer and screw driver for this instead. But it is a pleasure to work with good tools and you will be saving valuable wood in the process.

Oh, and once you have the board removed half the nails will still be in the boards, these you can remove by gripping the nail just where it comes out the Back of the board, with a nail puller:,41306,41331

Pull the nail through the BACK of the board. This works better than hammering it back the way it came in because even though it will make a hole in the tongue, it won’t damage the face of the board.

While you’re at Lee Valley there is one more tool called a nail spinner which is invaluable for installing the last few rows where the power nailer cannot reach:,180,42334

Oh, and as to your other question of how to install this wood to a concrete subfloor, we have an article on this very subject, which can be found at the top of the web page in the search box. This article details the 3-4 different methods of fastening this type of floor to concrete. It will be a difficult job in any case, but there is enough info in the article to help you through it, if you have some carpentry experience.