Floating Floor

What Is a Floating Floor?

If you have visited any DIY blogs or websites you will have likely come across the term “floating floor” and may have been confused by the expression.

The term “floating floor” refers to flooring that has not been attached either by nails, screws, or glue to the subfloor. Meaning the flooring rests (or floats) above the main flooring only separated by a thin layer of underlay. A floating floor is the method of installation and is most commonly used with laminate flooring.

Floating floors were first developed in Sweden by Perstorp (Pergo™) in 1977
Floating floors were first developed in Sweden by Perstorp (Pergo™) in 1977 before gaining in popularity Worldwide. The original concept is most recognizable as the laminate flooring we can buy today, however, since then the floating floor method has also been used with vinyl flooring as well as engineered hardwood. Non-engineered hardwood cannot be floated.

A floating floor is an interlocking floor

All floating flooring is required to interlock using precisely milled tongues and grooves, or in some cases clips. This click-lock system enables the single boards to be used to cover the whole floor regardless of size – though if a room is very big please refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Additionally, floating floors (or interlocking floors) can be used with any subfloor whether it be floorboards, concrete, plywood, or hardwood. Though be sure to research the various underlay requirements depending on your particular circumstance.

Floating floors are affordable

The main reason floating floors are so popular is that when compared to most alternatives they are a lot cheaper than most solid hardwood or tile alternatives.

In addition floating floors are relatively hardwearing, look great, and are very easy to clean.

For those on any sort of budget, floating floors (particularly laminate) provide you with a great-looking floor for a fraction of the price of hardwood.

Additionally, the installation of your flooring will also be a lot cheaper than traditional hardwood.

Floating floors are available in many styles and finishes

Because laminate flooring is so popular there are hundreds of different styles and finishes to choose from. It is unlikely you will be able to find any other flooring (other than perhaps carpet) where your choices would be so varied.

If there is a color or specific wood finish you are looking for then it is more than likely you will be able to find laminate flooring to match your design requirements.

Floating floors can be installed over underfloor heating

If your home has underfloor heating you will be unable to install anything but a floating floor, and if laminate flooring does not suit your needs you can always opt to install engineered hardwood as a floating floor.

Non-engineered hardwood cannot be installed over under-floor heating.

So should you install a floating floor?

As with all decisions you will need to weigh up the pros and cons for your particular case. I have created a shortlist below of things you may want to consider before making your final decision as to whether a floating floor installation is right for you and your home.

Pro’s

Easy to install

If you are planning to install the floor yourself, working with floating floors is easier than most other types of flooring. It is easier to cut and does not require any nailing or glueing. It is also much easier to work with than carpet.

The simplicity of installation will mean that even if you are paying someone to install the floor for you, it will take them far less time than a hardwood floor.

Installation only becomes a problem if your subfloor is uneven, needs levelled, or replaced altogether.

Affordable

As touched on above, floating flooring is much more affordable than hardwood or tile. If you rent your property it is really the only option that makes economic sense.

The installation of a floating floor will be far less expensive than most flooring options.

There is the ability to shop around for the best price since most flooring shops offer laminate flooring as an option.

Choice

Because floating floors are so popular you will be able to choose from a huge range of styles. You will be able to choose the flooring that fits in with your exact design ideas – color, style, finish & detail can all be selected to create a great-looking space for you and your family.

Cleaning & maintenance

Laminate flooring is easy to clean and keep clean. Depending on the flooring selected it is also highly durable and pet friendly.

Parts of the flooring can easily be replaced if and when required (also keep a spare box or two of matching laminate boards)

Con’s

Look & Feel

While floating floors are nice they will never replicate hardwood perfectly. There are subtle differences in the look and the feeling of walking on real hardwood floors that you just won’t get with laminate or engineered hardwood.

Additionally, over time you will see the flooring wear much faster than you would with a solid hardwood floor.

House Price (investment)

If you are looking to install flooring that may increase the value of your home, laminate flooring will hold little value, Whereas a solid hardwood, or engineered hardwood floor will likely retain some of the cost in the increased value of your home.