Real wood floor over bitumen/asphalt floor?

21 Feb 2008
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United Kingdom
I bought some real wood (oak) to lay over the ground floor of my ex-Council house which was built in the 50's. Like a lot of houses of that age, the ground floor is bitumen/asphalt over a concrete screed. The bitumen is about 15-25 mm thick and, I believe, serves as moisture barrier as well as an 'appearance' finish. The bitumen floor is level but there are some small bumps here and there. My question is:
What is the best way to lay the real wood floor?
Can I lay the real wood floor on the top of he bitumen/asphalt?
Do I need a subfloor?
Shall I remove the bitumen/asphalt floor and replace it with concrete?
Do I need insulation?
So many questions, I know, but I would be very glad if you could help me.


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Luci, I'm not an expert but I did once lay a solid wood Junckers floor over a cement base and had no problems. A few points:

1. I don't think you need to get rid of the bitumen. Many old parquet wood floors were laid directly on top of bitumen so the substance itself is not a problem. However, modern wood flooring manufacturers usually stipulate that when laying wood over concrete you need to put down a moisture proof barrier sheet. See:

2. On top of the polythene moisture barrier, it's usual to put down insulation. This comes in rolls and you just cut to size.

3. You don't mention whether your new wood is a clip-system. That's what I used with the Junckers floor. If yours is not, then I'm not sure what the procedure would be. On wooden floors, you can use secret nailing or glue.

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