There's a term floating around the flooring community that you may have heard of before. We're talking about floating floors and, while we wish it were so, the term is not referring to floors that levitate. In fact, it's not a reference to a type of floor at all, but rather a method of floor installation. Instead of being permanently attached to the subfloor, floating floors are installed by connecting floorboards to one another. Kind of like a big puzzle sitting on top of a flat surface.
What are some examples of floating floors?
The most common types of floor coverings that are installed by way of the floating floor method are laminate, luxury vinyl, and engineered flooring. This variety allows homeowners to get the look they want with all of the benefits that come with floating floors.
What benefits are we talking about?
Well, for one thing, price. Because floating floors are easier and quicker to install, they save installers time and homeowners a decent amount of money. Novice DIYers can stretch their dollar even further by installing their floors themselves with this method, as it is simpler to figure out than a normal floor installation. You don't even need to buy any special tools!
Beyond the price tag, floating floors are ideal for people who live in a climate with changes in humidity. Hardwood and laminate floors expand and contract as the humidity in the air changes through the seasons. With a fixed floor this could lead to warping and other damage to your floor boards, but a properly installed floating floor will have the extra room to adjust itself without those issues.
Are there any disadvantages to floating floors?
Like any flooring, there are pros as well as cons with floating floors. For one thing, the materials that floating floors are made with aren't as appealing to home buyers as natural materials like hardwood. If you're installing a floor in a home you intend to sell you may want to consider 100% hardwood flooring to get the best return on your investment.
Even if the look doesn't matter to you at all, the quality might. Floating floors are made with thinner, lower-quality products that just haven't measured up to real hardwood or tile in the past. The quality gap is closing as floor developers improve their technology, but it's still not going to last as long as a natural floor.
What else should I know about floating floors?
The biggest thing to remember when considering a floating floor is that just because installation of these floors is easier they are not always easy to install. You still have to do your research and get a confident idea of what you're doing before you start connecting your boards together. Otherwise you may end up with warping, a poorly prepped subfloor, improper space for an expansion zone, or damage to your boards.
If you are not already comfortable and familiar with home improvement projects and floor installation, we suggest getting a professional involved. It's always better to pay a little more up front to ensure your floor is properly installed than to pay for repairs later on.