A Comprehensive Guide To Laying Herringbone Flooring On Concrete

A Comprehensive Guide To Laying Herringbone Flooring On Concrete

If you’re installing your new herringbone floor over a concrete subfloor and are stuck on where to start, don’t worry; Mersey Flooring is here to help.

Herringbone is a popular home design, adding elegance, dimension, and beauty. It provides a natural wood appearance for half the price, perfect for budget projects. 

Read on to find out how to lay your herringbone floor over a concrete subfloor. You can also look at our article on the directions to lay herringbone for further installation advice. 

The Materials and Tools Needed

  • Cleaning materials (brush, vacuum)
  • Concrete repair kit
  • PH test strips or RH testing kit
  • Primer
  • Roller or sprayer, paint tray and painter's tape.
  • Self-levelling compound
  • Trowel
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk 
  • Carpenters square
  • Table saw, or mitre saw
  • Flooring adhesive and adhesive remover 
  • Rubber mallet or pull bar
  • Tapping block

PPE: Wear protective gear such as safety goggles, ear protection, knee pads, and a dust mask.

How to Prepare the Concrete Subfloor

A well-prepared floor provides a stable foundation for the herringbone, ensuring longevity and durability. This means you won’t have to worry about costly repairs and replacements in the future. 


Remove all dirt, debris, and dust using a duster, vacuum, and industrial cleaner. Clean thoroughly so no remaining residue is left behind.


Level the subfloor using a spirit level to check the evenness of the surface. Then, use a marker to mark the areas that need filling. 

Use a concrete filler to fill any cracks and a concrete patching compound for any holes. Once it has cured, apply a primer over the surface, then mix your self-levelling compound and apply it evenly over the floor surface. Use a trowel to flatten out the product.

Moisture Testing 

There are a few ways you can do this: 

RH testing

Ensure that the concrete has been allowed to cure and acclimate. Then, ensure the temperature and humidity of the environment are consistent, and the concrete surface is clean. 

Drill holes into the concrete slab 40% down for on-grade and above-grade slabs and 20% for below-grade slabs. Then, insert the probes in the drilled holes and use an airtight seal to hold them in place.

Allow the probe to stabilise within the concrete for the specified time according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Then, attach the RH probe reader, document the initial readings, and note each probe's time, date, and location.

PH testing

Ensure the concrete is dry and free from debris. Then, using PH strips, dampen a small area of the concrete with distilled water and place the PH strip onto the area. 

Allow the strip to sit for the specified time in the manufacturer's guidelines and observe any colour changes in the strip, comparing it to the provided colour chart. If testing multiple areas, calculate the average PH level.

If PH levels are too high or low, consider using PH-neutralising agents or retesting to ensure effectiveness.


Choose a primer compatible with your adhesive and flooring that can handle the moisture levels in the concrete subfloor.

Ensure that the primer is applied evenly across the concrete subfloor using a roller, brush, or spray for an even application. Ensure the primer layer is consistent and rectify any thin or thick spots, applying a second coat if necessary.

Laying Herringbone Flooring: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Planning and Layout: Measure the area using measuring tape and find the centre point. Mark the centre point with chalk, creating a reference line from the centre of the room. Then, decide on the direction of the herringbone floor.
  1. Cutting the Material: Use a mitre saw to cut the flooring pieces at the correct angles (usually 45° or 90°).
  1. Adhesive Application: Use a notched trowel to evenly spread the adhesive over the subfloor, starting from the centre. Apply the adhesive as you go along to prevent it from drying up.
  1. Laying the Flooring: Begin laying the flooring from the centre point, aligning it with the reference line. Lay them in a ‘v’ shape for the traditional herringbone pattern, ensuring accurate angles. 
  1. Spacing and Aligning: Use spacers between the pieces to maintain uniform gaps for expansion. Firmly press the floor into the adhesive for a secure bond.
  1. Securing the Flooring: Use a floor roller to cover the entire floor, ensuring all pieces are firmly pressed into the adhesive.
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