Floating vs. Glue-Down Hardwood Floor Installation
When selecting a new hardwood floor for your home, there can be some uncertainty and anxiety when confronted with all of the choices. With new technology available, there are beautiful engineered hardwood flooring systems that satisfy even the most discerning buyers. There are three different types of installations regarding an engineered hardwood. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, yet all three have a wide spectrum of species and stains. In the following, I will discuss the three types, and moreover, how each system is different than the next.
The first type of installation is called “floating”. This simply means the floor is interlocked with itself and at no point attached to a sub floor. Many laminate flooring systems such as Pergo pioneered this type of installation. Thus over the years, floating systems were developed that are today widely used by developers in residential new-construction settings. Floating floors are great for folks who are concerned about raising the overall floor height, or simply want to avoid the necessity of plywood. These types of installations require a moisture barrier and at times, a form of sound abatement. They are usually the most economical choice as glue and the additional labor associated with nail/glue installations are not factors. One disadvantage of this type of installation is the fact the floor does move when walked on. This is not a defect and is inherent in these installations. Also when making a repair to these floors, it is not uncommon to remove a large selection of flooring to exchange a single board. Home Carpet One stocks a wide spectrum of floating floors, giving our customers countless options for their next flooring project.
The second type of installation is a glue down flooring system. Here, the hardwood is engineered to be glued to a substrate. These types of floors are great for customers who want the look and feel of a solid hardwood installation and not the simulated appearance often found in floating installations. They are typically thinner than nail down and floating hardwoods and have varying wear layers giving the purchaser the option to refinish depending on the product selected. Glue down installations can be slightly more expensive than floating systems. Again, one must purchase a moisture barrier and a potential form of sound abatement if required. Here, the under-layments must be glued and not simply rolled out as a floating system would require. The process for repairing these floors is quite simple due to the fact a single plank can be removed and exchanged without disturbing the surrounding planks.
The final type of installation is a nail-down floor. These floors tend to be the most costly due to the sub floor requirements and the nature of the product itself. Some of these types of engineered hardwoods are solid wood and some are products with plywood construction and a heavy wear layer. In either case, most nail down installations can be refinished multiple times thus giving the customer added confidence in the event a repair was necessary. Typically, there needs to be ¾ of an inch of solid plywood to nail into. Also, it is not uncommon to have nail-down installations be limited to on or above grade depending on product selection.
In summation, all of these types of installations require the proper acclimation of the product and all guidelines be adhered to. Engineered products have become a great alternative to the standard unfinished wood that needs to be site finished. There are countless options and types available to fit each and every budget!
-Tony Reyes, Hard Surface Manager