Floating Floor Pros and Cons — Articles Networx

Floating Floor Pros and Cons - Articles Networx

Floating Floor Pros and Cons

Photo of a hardwood floor by koocbor/Flickr.

It’s important to consider floating floor pros and cons before installing new flooring, since these floors are designed to last for an extended period of time and you want to make the right choice for a given application. This engineered flooring product is made with a variety of wood species, and it’s popular in some regions of the world because it’s easy to install and less expensive than a traditional hardwood floor. However, it comes with some distinct disadvantages that you may want to weigh before taking the plunge.

One of the most obvious advantages of a floating floor, which is installed by connecting segments of flooring together so they “float” over a subfloor or existing flooring surface, is that it can be a cost-effective way to install an attractive floor and quickly update a space. A huge range of species and patterns allow for a number of different choices, and because this flooring can be installed over a variety of substrates, it’s highly flexible.

It can also be easy for people to install themselves, whether they choose a click-lock version or a tongue and groove version. People with basic do it yourself skills can typically install a floating floor in a simple room successfully, or they can hire a handyperson to help with the installation. Furthermore, the installation tends to be less expensive and it’s eco-friendly to boot, because it uses less wood. Some companies specifically seek out certified eco-friendly components including recycled materials as well.

When comparing floating floors to glue-down floors, another type of engineered flooring that is also very popular, there are some distinct differences to think about. These floors install more easily and are easier to take up than glue-down floors, and they’re also easier to repair in the event of a problem. They’re also quieter for neighbors, thanks to the insulation provided via an underlayment barrier and the air cushion between the floating floor and the substrate. Floating floors can be noisier in a residence, though, because they tend to clack and echo.

While walking on floating floors, people may notice some flexibility and give. This is normal because of the air cushion, and can actually make the floor more comfortable for people with leg and back problems. However, it also represents a serious con, because that same flexibility contributes to faster floor wear. Especially in environments where the temperature shifts frequently or moisture levels are high, floating flooring is not a good choice because it can develop warping, pitting, and mold.

Floating Floor Pros and Cons - Articles Networx

Another floating floor disadvantage to think about is the fact that this flooring cannot be sanded. It is designed with a sealed finish. Once the flooring starts to break down or show signs of wear (as for example where a rolling chair rumbles across it), it cannot be refinished, it needs to be replaced. Furthermore, the flooring requires a special moisture barrier underlayment to protect it from humidity, which can sometimes add to the cost of installation; when you’re pricing out floating flooring, remember to include the cost of the moisture barrier.

While evaluating floating floor pros and cons, you should also remember that while this flooring is famously easy for do it yourselfers to work with, that isn’t always the case. If a room has a complicated footprint, isn’t squared off, or has strange dimensions, installing flooring can quickly turn into a nightmare. You may waste considerable flooring before realizing what’s going on, making it a good idea to consider consulting a flooring expert before you charge ahead to see if there are any hidden problems with a room where you intend to install floating flooring.

s.e. smith writes for Networx.com.

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