What is the Floating Method, and What Does it Have to do With Home Flooring Options?

Deciding on the best flooring options for your project is a vital task. Equally as important, however, is selecting the appropriate hardwood installation method. Three of the most widely utilized methods for flooring are glue-down, nail-down, and floating. Let’s explore the pros and cons of floating vs. non-floating floors, as well as taking a look at the various material options that exist.

Floating Floor vs a Non-Floating Pros and Cons

When investigating whether to install a floor via the floating method, it is important to understand the costs and benefits associated not only with this method, but with the various materials involved.

The most apparent upside to the floating floor method is the installation’s simplicity. Floating floors fit together similar to puzzle pieces. This method is not only more cost-effective, it also eliminates the use of nails, screws, and other adhesive materials.

Another upside is the ability for floating floors to adapt to changes in temperature, humidity, and pressure. This is due to the nature of floating floors as a single structure comprised of many smaller elements. This eliminates traditional problems involving humidity-induced cracking and breaks.

Downsides to the floating floor method certainly exist. Floating floors tend to wear quicker than other methods, and experience shorter lifespans. This is due largely to the incorporation thinner or weaker materials. Because of this, floating floors tend to be more appropriate for private or home settings, as opposed to the wear-and-tear of commercial space

Another con to the floating floor method is the noise that is often caused by improper installations — or lack of a noise reducing agent within the build. Cork or synthetic materials are popular options for noise reduction

Popular Materials for Floating Floors

Engineered Hardwood: While natural wood expands, contracts, and generally reacts to its environment, engineered hardwood does not. This means engineered hardwood is a great option for projects which aim for that hardwood look, but deal with environments which experience heavy exposure to the elements.

Laminate: Laminate is an affordable option compared to non-synthetic materials. A large portion of laminate floors are installed via the floating method, so there are many options available. On top of this, there is a versatile array of design, durability, and quality options.

Luxury Vinyl Tile: This ever-popular vinyl option replicates hard materials like stone, ceramic, and hard tile. Similar to laminate, luxury vinyl tile allows for a wide range of designs and themes which can be printed or superimposed on to the material. Luxury vinyl tile also incorporates a multi-layer design containing various components and materials. These include a layer which maintains a noise reducing element. This is an especially popular option among those concerned with the noise issues that sometimes come with floating flooring.

Non-Floating Floor Options

Despite the wide range of floating options available, non-floating materials still have much to offer as alternative options. Solid hardwood flooring and tile are time-tested options for flooring, but they simply cannot match certain advantages of the synthetic materials used in floating flooring.

Solid Hardwood: Solid hardwood is traditionally one of the most desired and widespread materials for flooring. Solid hardwood is not only solid, strong, and durable, but also considered aesthetically pleasing. A well-made hardwood floor can provide a space with an entirely new sense of identity. However, solid hardwoods tend to be expensive and prone to wear from temperature and humidity.

Tile: Tile materials like porcelain, marble, and stone are also age-old classics renowned for their durability and uniqueness — designs are natural and never printed. Like hardwood, a well-designed tile flooring project can provide a unique style to a space, especially those involving outdoor projects.

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