Pros & Cons of Installing a Floating Floor
If you’re renovating or updating your home, you may be considering a floating floor as an option. These floors have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to their easy installation and versatility. However, as with any home improvement project, it’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
Although our installation team has installed thousands of floating floors in homes across the Tri-State area, here at Flooring Solutions we still get excited when we can help customers find the right one. When we explore your lifestyle with you and have an open and honest conversation about the challenges you might run into with different flooring types, the experience is so much greater for everyone involved.
In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of installing a floating floor and provide expert tips and advice to help you make an informed decision. From the durability and maintenance requirements of different types of floating floors to the potential cost savings and installation challenges, we’ll cover it all. So sit back, grab your favorite drink or snack, and we’ll dive into the world of floating floors together!
What is a Floating Floor?
A floating floor is a unique type of flooring, where the planks are installed on top of another floor or just across a subfloor. Imagine a puzzle! It’s like putting a puzzle on the ground where each piece connects to the other. Floating floors can be made of various materials, though the most common types are laminate, luxury vinyl plank, and cork.
Floating floors can also be cost-effective, as they often require less subfloor preparation and can be installed more quickly than traditional flooring methods. However, it’s important to note that not all types of flooring are suitable for a floating installation, and proper installation and maintenance are vital in ensuring the longevity and durability of the floor. Using a floating floor has clear advantages and disadvantages; we want to help educate you on those.
What are the Advantages of Installing a Floating Floor?
On the one hand, floating floors can be an affordable, easy-to-install option that can work well in various spaces. They are typically low-maintenance, and their flexibility can make them a good choice for areas with moisture concerns or slightly uneven subfloors. There are some obvious advantages to floating floors.
- Easy Installation:
Floating floors are relatively easy to install because they can be placed over an existing subfloor or even some types of flooring without the need for adhesives or nails. This can save time and money on installation costs. While you may be under a time crunch for your installation, floating floors typically take less time to install. Our installation crews can finish multiple rooms of installation in one day at times, depending on floor preparation needs.
Floating floors are generally less expensive than traditional hardwood flooring, which can be a significant advantage if you work with a tight budget. The main reason they are less expensive is how little material is usually needed for installation. While other flooring types like hardwood and tile need glue, underlayment, nails, and more, vinyl plank usually only needs the vinyl itself and possibly an underlayment if one needs to be attached or recommended.
Floating floors are designed to be durable and long-lasting. They are constructed with multiple layers, including a wear layer that protects against scratches, stains, and dents. Do you want your floors to stand up to many dinner parties and events at your home? Or maybe you want your floating floor to stand against your house full of dogs and cats.
- Moisture Resistant:
Floating floors are often moisture-resistant, ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and other wet areas. Floating floor options give peace of mind when installing in areas that could have spills, small leaks, and rooms that you might not catch a spill quickly enough.
- Sound Absorption:
Floating floors can help reduce room noise levels by absorbing sound vibrations. As families grow and many types of lifestyle needs are considered, manufacturers of all flooring types have taken noise into consideration. While the noise factor has improved for many flooring products, a floating floor typically absorbs a bit more than other flooring types.
What are the Disadvantages of Installing a Floating Floor?
However, floating floors have potential downsides, and it’s important to know if they still fit your needs.
- Limited refinishing options:
Unlike solid hardwood floors, floating floors typically cannot be sanded or refinished because the wear layer is not actually made from wood. This does not decrease its durability, as the wear layer is designed to resist scuffs, scratches and dents. It’s more so means if you ever wanted to change the color or refinish due to some type of damage, it is usually impossible to do so with a floating floor.
- Less authentic look:
While floating floors can be made to look very similar to solid hardwood or other natural materials, some people feel that they need more authenticity and character of the real thing, or their preference is a strong wood-grain look.
- Potential for movement:
Because floating floors are not nailed or glued down, they may shift or move over time, particularly in areas with high foot traffic or if the subfloor needs to be perfectly level. This can result in gaps or uneven surfaces.
- Potential for sound:
While floating floors can absorb sound, they can also create a hollow or “clicky” sound underfoot. This can be mitigated by using an underlayment to add a more solid feel to the floor.
How Are Floating Floors Installed?
Floating floors are typically installed using a tongue-and-groove system or another locking mechanism that allows the individual planks or tiles to connect and “float” over the subfloor.
Simply put, using the locking mechanism, you connect each plank or tile to the one next to it. You would then gently tap each piece into place using a tapping block and a hammer. Continue laying the floor row by row, staggering the end joints for a more natural look.
The biggest thing to consider when installing a floating floor is the condition of your subfloor. If your subfloor needs to be prepped, don’t fret. Remember, the subfloor should be clean, level, and free of debris or obstacles. If necessary, a vapor barrier or underlayment may be installed to help prevent moisture from seeping up from the subfloor. Subfloor work can be tedious and challenging, and we recommend receiving a detailed consultation from a flooring professional to know better what subfloor work needs to be done. To learn more about common subfloor problems, we’ve got you covered with “Top Subfloor Problems & How To Fix Them”.
Floating Floors Under Cabinets
One important thing to note about floating floor installation is how they work with your cabinets and appliances. Floating floors can be installed under cabinets and appliances as long as the weight of the cabinet or appliance is evenly distributed over the floor’s surface.
However, it’s important to note that floating floors are not typically glued or nailed down, so the weight of the cabinets or appliances should be more than just resting on the flooring. Additionally, it’s essential to leave a gap between the floating floor and the cabinets or appliances to allow for expansion and contraction.
Is a Floating Floor Best For Your Space?
If you’ve been delaying your home renovation project due to the stress of deciding between floors, you’ll likely just “settle” on a flooring type and hope you love it. Even if you know your needs and lifestyle are important, it doesn’t always make the floor shopping experience 100% accessible. You want to take your time, explore your options, and choose the flooring that will provide you with the right aesthetic, comfort, and durability you desire.
We understand the minds of homeowners like you who don’t just want a pretty floor that may or may not last or gives issues down the line because your flooring company didn’t provide you with enough information. Our flooring specialists and designers are highly prepared to explore the pros and cons of floating floors and determine if a floating floor is exactly what you want and nee