What Is A Floating Floor? A Clear Explanation

Floating Floor

The term “floating floor” is used to refer to an installation method used on flooring; the floating floor is locked together just the way a puzzle is, without the need for glue or nails. From the past decade, this type of floor has taken the entire spotlight. If you are about to purchase a new floor for your home, office, or anywhere else, and you’re confused with the term “floating floor,” you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will be discussing everything linked with these floors, from their most preferred material to their installation, so keep on reading… 

Such types of floors feature easy installation styles that make them most preferred and popular in the market today. It doesn’t allow you to opt for a levitation that is above the board of the floor. Still, we can’t bring something home just because it is easy to be installed and popular, right? So, it is better to know about something and if it is the right fit for your home before bringing it in. Otherwise, you will end up with a major headache underfoot, depending upon the condition of your home/office. Apart from everything, the replacement of outdated and old floors will impact the looks and comfort of your house/office in a tremendous way. Additionally, it will further add a curb appeal. So, basically, what is a floating floor?

Table of Contents

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    Floating Floor Definition

    The very basic and initial thing that we must understand about the floating floor is that it’s not a flooring style. Instead, it is a method of installation that is widely used for different types of floors, such as engineered planks, laminate, vinyl, etc. Most of the time, we will find floating floors tied with the installation of laminate floors, but in actuality, they cover other types as well. 

    Floating Floor Install
    Floating Floor Installation

    Floating Floor vs. Nail vs. Glue Installation

    Before we compare these installation processes, it is crucial to understand a ‘floating floor system is any installation method that makes your flooring float a little above your subfloor in a free manner. Thus, it is not attached with the help of any nails, but sometimes glue is utilized along with the board’s edges. With the help of a floating system, we can easily lock boards of milled edges into place.

    If we discuss the perks of this floating floor, then the owners of places can get them installed without even removing the old floor. For example, you can install both laminate or vinyl plank flooring over tiles. However, if you wish to get rid of the old floor, then you can opt for this system as your installation method. If you want to change the look of one room by using the floor of another room, choose a floor with no glue and the click-lock system, as these can be pulled back with complete ease. So now, let us move ahead and make a comparison between glue and nail installation procedures.

    Installation with Glue

    If you have selected some engineered floors or vinyl floors, you can opt for installation with the help of glue. However, this one is not recommended for such homeowners who prefer to do the entire process of installation by themselves. This option is suitable for an uneven sub-floor.

    Installation with Nails

    If you wish to ensure that your floor is fully stabilized and will stay for the maximum period of time, then you must prefer its installation with the help of nails. However, it is apparent that you cannot use this installation method for the flooring of vinyl or tiles, but it works best in the case of solid hardwood for maximum stability.

    Different Types of Flooring Commonly Utilized With Floating Floor Systems

    So, now you’re introduced to the basics of a floating flooring system; it is time to understand what are the types of flooring that can be used with it. We can never include carpet as an option. We most probably need padding. You might be a little surprised to know that the compatibility of these flooring systems is quite good with other styles. Let’s have a look!

    Luxury Vinyl Tile

    It is one of the most preferred choices in the case of kitchens as well as bathrooms. Well, you cannot include titles as an option with floating flooring systems regardless of your liking, whether it is porcelain or ceramic tile. They must be affixed to your area’s subfloor in a similar way as a natural stone tile. Furthermore, the luxury vinyl tile is frequently considered as a floating floor.

    Luxury Vinyl Plank

    With this type of installation method, nearly all types of vinyl flooring can be used, including luxury vinyl plank. Due to the click-lock nature of these planks, this system has earned a name as LVP, and other vinyl variants feature locking edge options as well. So, if you’re looking for a pre-attached pad along with tile flooring or vinyl plank, then you must opt for this floating floor system.


    Another prominent option for all the homeowners out there is laminate flooring.  This style comes under the most matched styles for this type of installation method; still, there are a few exceptions. You can find the nailed-down laminate or another type that requires to be adhesive along with its edge. No matter what, you will still find your floor floating with the latter, but you can’t take it apart afterward.


    If you’re looking for engineered hardwood flooring, then there’s one thing that’s certain, different manufacturers prefer different methods of installation. But in the case of the floating floor system, the click-lock planks are more popular. However, options involving nails and glue are also very common. If you choose solid hardwood, then you’ll need nails to get them installed; thus, it’ll rule out the floating floors.

    Floating Floor
    Floating Floor Installation

    The Pros and Cons of a Floating Flooring System

    Well, good things come with some complexities. The same goes for the floating flooring. It, too, has some cons; if you wish to see whether the floating floor systems are the right approach to your home or not, then have a quick look at some of its pros and cons.

    Pros of Floating Floors


    Professional flooring can cost you a lot, and this aspect is mostly overlooked by homeowners when they are looking for the perfect flooring for their homes. Moreover, if you choose a floating flooring system to be installed, then the installation time will be reduced, which will ultimately save you money. It doesn’t require any underlayment when there’s a backing layer pre-attached to the floor, thus making itself a great DIY option.

    Swift Installation

    It could be a headache having people at your home who are constantly working by bringing the room upside down as you try to work on a home improvement project on the weekend. However, this is just not the case with the floating flooring system, as they are quick to be installed when compared to nails and glue installation procedures. Also, with a floating flooring system, you will no longer need to bear the sound of drilling or the smell of the adhesive.


    There is no doubt care & maintenance are a major perk of these floating flooring systems, but we are not considering their cleaning and upkeep. There’s always a chance of your floors getting damaged, no matter how careful you are with them. But, this floating floor system makes it really easy to get the floors fixed, you can also replace the boarding by pulling them with complete ease, and whenever required.


    What could be more beneficial than having lay flooring over a sub-floor without being permanently attached to it? Of course, nothing! These floors are good to be attached to such areas that don’t require much preparation work beforehand, such as bathrooms, bedrooms, basements, kitchens, etc.

    Cons of Floating Floors

    Well, we can’t deny the fact that this type of flooring system has some cons too. Let’s have a look at them:

    Feel & Sound

    These floors are notorious when it comes to sounding “hollow” as you walk on them. But, you can overcome it with the right underlay and the use of the right footwear. The reason behind its hollow-sounding and uncomfortable feeling is that it is not bonded to the floor, so it impacts how you feel as you walk on it. However, if you are used to walking on such a floor that is affixed to the sub-floor, then it will not be hard for you to notice a difference.

    Dependence on the Sub-Floor

    The diversity of being attached to many types of sub-floors can also result in some minor imperfections. It is crucial for you to ensure that whenever you are utilizing a rigid flooring material, it must be in level to sub-floor—usually, these recommendations are provided by the manufacturers. Avoiding such small details can lead to separation, buckling, or popping sounds as you walk on the floor.

    Return on Investment

    One of the major parts, whenever you are upgrading your home, is “return on investment.” A floating flooring system doesn’t have a similar impact, just like solid hardwood, as it increases the value of your home. There’s a major disadvantage of it; they tend to tear quicker when compared to other types of flooring that are done with glue or nails.

    Floating Floor Plank
    Engineered Plank

    The Installation Basics of Floating Floors

    Now that you have got your answer to your question of “what is a floating floor,” let’s move towards its basic installation procedure. Most of the time, you have to get the existing molding or the baseboard removed in the room so the new floor can be accommodated in it. If you pry it off with care, then you can reuse it. Below are the steps that must be followed:

    Step 1

    You need to decide the orientation of every plank and where they would look their best. Moreover, along with long walls, flooring planks look their best when they are placed parallel to the wall. If your room is perfectly squared, then the decision is all yours, and it also depends on your door preferences.

    Step 2:

    The next step is to measure the room’s width carefully. You must include an expansion gap at both ends. Now, you have to opt for the division by the flooring strips’ width that you have selected for the installation so it can be determined how many strips, aka courses, are needed to cover the entire floor.

    Step 3:

    Now, with the help of a vacuum, get rid of all the dirt and unnecessary objects from the pre-existing flooring or subfloor. After doing that, start rolling out the underlayment of foam in segments along with the seams being butted together, making sure that it covers the entire floor with the material. Once done, you can start trimming the underlayment so it can fit from all sites, and at last, you can use duct tape to seal the seams.

    Step 4

    Now start placing the spacers on the basis of the lengths and create expansion gaps.

    Step 5

    Start putting the next piece end-to-end along with the first piece and proceed towards the snapping of the tongue-and-groove joint with each other.

    Step 6

    Take the grooved joint and make it joined with the first length of the 2nd row, which leads to the tongue of the very 1st row and then end up snapping the lengths with each other.

    Step 7

    Now, keep this procedure continued, row after row.

    Step 8

    Once you have successfully reached the last lengthwise segment, start ripping off the segments (required) for the correction of the width.

    Step 9

    The last step is the removal of all the spacers.

    In a Nutshell

    We are sure that you have finally gotten the answer to your question, “what is a floating floor?” Well, it is imperative to opt for a solution associated with flooring that fits the best in terms of your needs. Just like that, it is equally important to opt for the right method of installation, and we have discussed it all in this article. So, consider all the information given in this article, and it will make your decision-making a little less complicated.

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    One Reply to “What Is A Floating Floor? A Clear Explanation”

    1. I am planning to build a vacation house and I am confused as to what floor am I going to use and floating floor is on my list. Thanks for sharing your insights about it.

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