When it comes to engineered hardwood floors, two common methods of installation are floating and glue-down. The following is a rundown of all the basics you need to know about these two installation methods.
A floating wood floor can sound hollow or give an echo when walked on. This is due to the impact noise absorption being greatly reduced as it is easier for the sound vibrations to travel between the underlay and wood floor. This hollow sound can be reduced with better quality underlays but a floating floor, regardless of underlay quality, will never have the firm solid sound of a permanently fixed wood floor.
As a floating floor is not fixed to the sub-floor, any slight undulations in the sub-floor can result in movement when the floating floor is walked on. It is not uncommon to see furniture move as it is walked past. This phenomenon can also be a result of the slight compression properties of an underlay.
Leading on from movement, floating floors, can sometimes be creaky. Again, often due to an uneven sub-floor. Although, this is not to suggest that permanently fixed wood floors will be creak free!
A huge advantage of using a floating wood floor is the speed. The more traditional techniques of fixing a wood floor to the sub-floor by means of using adhesives, nails or screws can be extremely time consuming.
There’s far less mess installing a wood floor on top of an underlay (floating).
Floating wood floors are far more stable when it comes to humidity/climate changes in a property.
Should you have multiple sub-floor types i.e. some parts of your property may be floorboards and others parts concrete etc, installing a wood floor on top of an underlay can solve a multitude of problems and make the whole process far easier and less complicated. For example, should you be nailing a permanently fixed floor on to floorboards and part of the rooms sub-floor is concrete, you would have to use an alternative method of fixing like the use of adhesive in that area
When installing a wood floor using the floating method, generally, you will be able to use the floor straight away. No need to wait for adhesives to go off. There are exceptions when using a floating wood floor with a basic tongue and groove mechanism that will be joined with the use of pva adhesive.
When a glue free floating wood floor is installed, it can often be taken up and re-installed. There are many advantages to this such as; The future need to easily gain access to pipes, electrics etc underneath the floorboards. The potential to easily replace a damaged plank. The re-use of the wood floor in another room or even a another home in the future. Underlay with built in vapour barrier in some properties, we find clients do not wish to damage their original sub-floor with the use of nails, screws or adhesives that would be used with a permanently fixed (non-floating) wood floor. Perhaps the property is old and carries character and value through it’s original sub-floor or the current sub-floor is in good condition and our clients do not wish to damage it as a floating floor can be removed and the original sub-floor can be brought back to life at a later date. A floating wood floor does not damage the original sub-floor in anyway.
Now you have a greater understanding as to the pro’s and con’s of a floating wood floor, it’s time to carry on with your empowered search. You should evaluate your property, your circumstances and your requirements and decide what type of wood floor is right for you. One of the first decisions is, shall you go for a floating wood floor or solid permanently fixed wood floor? It’s up to YOU!