Installing hardwood or laminate on top of a parquet floor

Q: In our lounge, dining room and hall we have hardwood parquet floors. The floors were installed when the house was built circa 1962. We have lived in the house for over 30 years and to the best of our knowledge all the above have been carpeted for decades. The parquet floor appears well adhered to the substructure, but there are sizeable gaps. We have been strongly advised not to put a solid wooden floor or a laminated floor on top of the existing parquet floor. Should we accept this advice and if not are there any things we should be aware of?

A: I think the sub-floor which the parquet was installed on has shrunk or otherwise shifted. That is why you have big gaps. I would agree with the advice not to install anything over top of it, aka another hardwood floor or even laminate. There is always moisture in the air, both above and below your floor. Moisture passes through wood constantly. As long as there is not an imbalance or a sudden increase in that moisture everything is fine. Part of keeping it this way is simply exposure to air and air movement. If you cover this parquet you will slow down the transfer of moisture which can cause expansion and buckling. Parquet can look very nice if it is properly sanded, stained and finished.

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