What are Floating Floors: Installation Tips & More

Published by Home Service Stars on

Floating floors are a method of flooring installation. Floating floors come in laminate and vinyl planks. This method of flooring doesn’t require glue or nails the way traditional engineered flooring is. Both vinyl and laminate floating floors are increasingly popular among homeowners, as they’re affordable, easy to install, and are still gorgeous. This blog shows you what floating floors are and what you need to know before you install a floating floor. 

What Is a Floating Floor?

Traditionally, you need to install floors with nails, glue, or staples above a plywood subfloor. Any time you want to install tile, hardwood, or carpet, you’ll need to endure this process. However, with a floating floor, you literally place and clip your planks over whatever subfloor you have, making the floors “float”. 

Floating floors come in vinyl or laminate. Every brand is different, but generally, floating floors have three main components.

what floating floors are made of

Floating Floor Installation

In order for floating floors to work, the interlocking tabs must be properly installed. You can install floating floors over any type of subflooring, even concrete. This would also make them seemingly perfect for spaces like basements, garages, and condos. For first-timer DIYers that don’t have a lot to invest in their project, floating floors are perfect. 

Installing Floating floors is quite simple. It only takes a few steps to do it:

  • Step One: With your chosen laminate or vinyl, start across your room opposite to the door.
  • Step Two: Leave a small gap along only the edges of your walls. The floors expand with the humidity. The baseboard moldings should hide
  • Step Three: Clip your planks into place according to the floorboard instructions.  

Do I Need an Underlayment?

Underlayments are placed on top of your subfloor as a base for your floating floor. Although both laminate and vinyl can be installed over any subflooring, there are some benefits to adding an underlayment. As we’ll discuss later, adding an underlayment can prevent a lot of the negative side effects of laminate and vinyl flooring. 

Installing an underlayment can help with the downsides of laminate and vinyl plank flooring.

why you should install an underlayment

You can find popular underlay in foam, combination foam, and cork.

Check the materials of your laminate or vinyl floors. The core is likely made with certain materials, which may help prevent issues like bacteria build-up, insulation, and noise. It may also help your decision when picking out an underlayment. 

Pros and Cons of Floating Floors

Although floating floors are pretty cool, they’re not totally perfect. There are a few more things to consider before installing a floating floor.

InexpensiveLower resale value
Can be installed anywhere in your homeCan feel hallow and loud
Can be installed over anythingCannot be refinished
Quick and easy installationFloors come loose if not properly installed
Easy to replace damaged planksSubfloor must be completely leveled

With an underlayment, you could eliminate issues with unleveled subfloors, coldness, and noise. 

Quality laminate and luxury vinyl flooring range from $5 to $7 per square foot. With these higher-quality floors, you may not see as many common issues. However, with more economical laminate and vinyl (around $3 to $6 per square foot), it’s highly recommended you use a subfloor to prevent common issues. 

For more quotes on both floating floors and underlayments, check out our flooring page for a free quote

Where To Install Floating Floors

The biggest challenge with floating floors happens when they’re exposed to moisture and humidity. Without handling these problems and improper installation, you risk wonky floors, mold, and damage to your planks. As long as you eliminate issues with your subfloor’s levels and moisture retention, you can install floating floors anywhere. 

Many of these issues can be solved by installing an underlayment and asking for an expert consultation before you install. Otherwise, floating floors are perfect for most rooms, such as:

  • Most rooms in your home.
  • Basements and basement suites. 
  • RV’s, camper vans, vacation homes.
  • Rental properties.

There are some things to consider when deciding whether to go with laminate or vinyl flooring. Depending on which room you want to install your floating floor in, one might be more suitable than the other.

Also Read: Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring Review


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