Using The Hydronic Heating System Under A Wooden Subfloor To Avoid Shrinkage


I am buying a new house that has 50 yr old floors. The floors have been refinished in the past and the tounge and grove is almost visible. The contractor suggested new prefinished floors $4-$10 sq ft as opposed to refinish $5 pr sq ft and aleviate the potential problems of cutting too low into the current floors. Do you suggest any brands is the glued down install good? Also, can it be installed over ceramic tile which is quite solid with radiant heat?




Dear Gordon

Let’s me first address the possibility of saving the old floor. There are at least 2 possibilities for saving the surface of the old floor without resanding it. The easiest and cheapest would be to have the floor screened and recoated. Please read my Orbital Floor Sanding article which can be found in the search box at the top of this web page (it’s free) and you will see how even a old worn and grey stained floor can be rejuvenated for about $2 per square foot. And if it’s the finish that’s just badly scratched you can simply touch up and recoat for about a buck a square foot. Or you can remove all the old finish with out sanding any wood off the floor, by reading and following the directions in my Chemical Stripping of Wood Floors article also found in the search box at the top of this web page. It’s a must read before you write off your old floor. It’s a medium skilled job, so anyone can do this work. I do it commercially for about 4 buck per square foot. But a good handy man would be able to accomplish stripping a floor with my method for less,I’m sure.

And as to buying wood flooring installed for 4 bucks well it’s going to be pretty cheap stuff. The old floor has to be removed and the subfloor renailed it wood, or if concrete patched and leveled before a new floor is installed. So the contractor is not making a full comparison. Get the full price of replacing the floor you have with a similar floor. Make sure they include everything from removal and disposal of the old floor on to installing the base shoe and reducing strips. Get the full story. I’m also going to send you my “wood floors on concrete article” and as it’s suggests the BEST wood floor to glue to concrete (or plywood for that matter) is solid wood parquet. The next would be engineered wood floor, and so on.

Yes you can still get unfinished solid wood square edged parquet from a company here in Canada called Groleau Inc at :

I still use the T19 product, installed according to my article and sanded stained and finished on site. A silky smooth and very elegant floor. There is another company in Toronto here that makes more interesting patterns of a similar wood parquet called Satin Finish Hardwood Flooring at

Either of these products make the best glue down floor,when using my highly recommended DriTac 6200 adhesive. I would really suggest removing all the ceramic tile to the bare concrete or wood subfloor, it seems nothing sticks well to the glazed ceramic surface. Not even lightweight cement leveling compounds.

You should also read my article “HYDRONIC HEATING UNDER YOUR WOOD FLOOR?” Use the search box at the top of this page to find this article. Or click the link 1 below.