My beachfront rental unit had a worn-out carpet that needed to be replaced. I decided that a wood parquet floor would look better, be easier to take care of, and make for a fresher, brighter space. The unit sits on a concrete slab mere steps from the water, so the wood flooring would have to be protected against potentially high moisture levels.

With a concrete slab, the two big issues are always moisture and surface condition. I had planned on gluing the parquet directly to the concrete — until, that is, I discovered the 1950s-vintage composition tile and asphalt adhesive under the carpet (1). Asphalt adhesive on concrete is as bad as it gets; it’s best to hire a professional to do the...

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