solid hardwood flooring for bar top

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by middle2better posted 07-26-2013 09:17 AM 11669 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View middle2better's profile


1 post in 1965 days

07-26-2013 09:17 AM


please move this if its not in the right forum

i am currently planning on redoing the bar top at the bar i work at , it has 2 sides both being 25 ft long , with an 8 long ft section at one end. currently there is a plywood top on one side that is beginning to deteriorate , and a 2 cm stone top on the other side ( they dont really match) bar top is 18 in wide and approx 26 in wide with bar rail and drink rail

they like the wood look and we are thinking about a bar top made from hardwood flooring (t&g), most likely prefinished as we will only have a cpl days that the bar will be closed. ( and we can add more finish layers later)

ive done some research online already and have gotten different answers, i am looking to nail down a good strategy so we can move forward

we will be using 2 layers of 3/4 in plywood as the substrate (this will get us to the 42 in height ) and will also be using a bar rail.

the main concerns i have is the wood moving from moisture, cupping, and moisture in the seams. they really dont want to use plywood again or the epoxy resin

now the questions:

should i glue or nail (or both ) the flooring to the plywood

should i cut and plane the boards (not use the t&g) saw some suggestions of this

should i nail/ screw through the underside ? through plywood into the flooring

does it matter if i use 3 in or 5 in flooring?

how about using handscraped flooring ? bad idea? we like the look alot

we dont want to use and epoxy resin as a finish , we are thinking more of polyurethane or spar varnish (obviously we will have to scuff top of prefinished flooring and then apply ) will also be at a later date

any other things i should be aware of or suggestions?

fyi bar top gets alot of use and has girls dancing on it from time to time (party bar)

thank you so much in advance for any help

4 replies so far

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2219 days

#1 posted 07-26-2013 11:56 AM

Im not a flooring guy or a bar guy, so my advice really isnt advice, just observations from spending a lot of time in bars at one point in my life!

Most bars that I’ve seen have a coat of epoxy on top, just for the reasons you’ve stated. I would think that you could use use flooring, but would also think you would want to coat with epoxy. With the gap between floor boards, you will almost certainly get a good deal of moisture in there and ruin your bar.

As for install, I would just follow whatever the manufacturer instructions are. Make sure you have a good substrate (1.5” of plywood should be fine) and then attach the flooring per instructions. If it says toenail it in, then thats the way to go. If they want it glued down, glue it down.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 07-26-2013 12:01 PM

Any T&G flooring, nailed on to the ply, will work well. Pull the joints as tight as possible. Finish with Bona Mega waterborne floor finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3058 days

#3 posted 07-26-2013 06:15 PM

If you use prefinished flooring you will have a real problem getting any other coating to adhere properly to the surface. Prefinished flooring uses very hard finishes that can create great difficulties in this type of project. A better solution would be to use unfinished solid wood flooring and to sand and finish the installed flooring once you’ve fully built the bar top.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Hammerthumb's profile


2907 posts in 2174 days

#4 posted 07-26-2013 10:37 PM

Herb is correct. The modern formulations of pre-finished hardwood flooring use aluminum oxide in the urethane which is very hard to sand and difficult to adhere to. I do not recommend using prefinished anyway as it will definatly cup. Moisture will get between the boards no matter how tight you nail it. I would recommend 3” unfinished wood flooring, as the narrower face width will have less tendency to cup. You will have to use epoxy bar top finish. Bona Mega will not keep the moisture out no matter how many coats you use. I have applied miles of flooring finish, and although they hold up well to foot traffic, they cannot protect the seams from moisture migration. Hardwood flooring should never be wet mopped. Even the Bona Kemi floor cleaning solutions are made of mostly alcohol. Any hardwood floor manufacturers maintenance instructions will advise that water is not to be used to clean them. I’m sure the bartop will have to be cleaned often and will get lots of moisture from that as well as condensation from drinks. You can get un-finished hand scraped solid wood flooring, or buy it and scrape it yourself (done that many times. Not fun). I would install it with screws from the bottom as well as staples or cleats on the tongue with a flooring nailer. Just make sure you use a bartop finish. Thats why they make them.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics