Damp smelling hardwood floor

29 Mar 2021
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United Kingdom
Hi everyone

So, we moved into a 1930’s house last year. The living room was carpeted and when taking up the carpet we found an old hardwood floor which is installed directly on top of the concrete slab. I’ve lifted a few of the boards and the slab seems to be covered in bitumen

Since lifting the floor, there’s a very distinct odour in the room. It smells damp but it also has a wood finish sort of smell (like a wood varnish). Some of the boards are cupped / crowned. I always thought there was a bit of a funny smell in that room, and I’m wondering if that smell had made its way into the old underlay and carpet

My plan is to lay a laminate on top of the wood floor. My question is - if the hardwood is damp due to the concrete base, am I going to run into more damp issues by laying the laminate on top? I’m thinking a damp proof membrane and damp proof underlay

Ideally I don’t want to lift the boards because it would create a large area that would need bringing up around 20mm to match a part of the floor that is higher due to the room being extended by the previous owners

Thanks in advance for any help

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You shouldn’t lay laminate over a wood floor as the wood needs to breathe.
Get a local wood flooring shop in to try and repair and Re sand the floor. Or a carpet with a breathable underlay

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