The Pros And Cons Of Floating Flooring

If you’re considering new floors, floating floors likely popped up in your research. This unique flooring floats atop your subfloor rather than getting nailed or glued down. Floating floors offer several perks like affordable pricing, easy DIY installation and noise reduction. But there are some drawbacks as well compared to traditional hardwood. Let’s weigh the major pros and cons so you can decide if floating floors are the right choice for your home.



What Exactly Are Floating Floors?

Unlike standard floors that get adhered to the subfloor with nails, staples or glue, floating floors have a loose lay installation. They are not fixed in place. An underlayment foam layer goes down first to cushion and smooth out the subfloor. The flooring planks or tiles then click together on top of the underlayment, floating freely rather than bonding to the subfloor. This floating design provides some unique benefits.


There are a few types of flooring that can be installed as floating floors:

Laminate – One of the most affordable and popular options. Laminate flooring uses a photographic image layer to recreate wood and tile looks realistically.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) – Combines the durability and water-resistance of vinyl with natural visuals of wood or stone. A great option if you want a floating floor with moisture protection.

Engineered Hardwood – Real wood surface on top but constructed using plywood layers underneath. More stable than solid hardwood.

Cork – Naturally sound and heat insulating. Offers a softer, warmer feel underfoot.

Interlocking Tile – Innovative systems allow tile to be installed without mortar or grout as a floating floor. Easy DIY option.


Floor locking system


The Pros Of Floating Floors

There are some really nice benefits to floating floors that make them so popular:

1. Easy Self-Installation

One of the biggest advantages of floating floors is how easy they are to install yourself. The tongue and groove interlocking planks click together smoothly, kind of like assembling a puzzle. No need to cut boards, hammer nails, apply glue or use special tools. Even someone with minimal DIY experience can tackle a floating floor project relatively painlessly. Many brands include user-friendly installation kits for even easier DIY.

Floating floors also simplify professional installation. The installers don’t have to spend as much time on labor-intensive steps like nailing, adhesion and finishing. Rooms prepped for floating floors can be finished much faster.

2. Flexibility & Durability

Since they are not permanently bonded to the subfloor, floating floors have more flexibility to adapt to natural expansion/contraction and settling that occurs in all homes. This means you are less likely to get gaps opening up between planks or grout cracking like you see with rigidly glued down flooring over time. Individual planks can also be easily replaced if one gets damaged, without impacting surrounding boards. This durability and flexibility is a big plus.

3. Excellent Noise Reduction

Floating floors do a fantastic job reducing noise transfer between levels of a home. The foam underlayment cushions impact sounds like footfalls while the loose lay installation prevents vibration transmission down through the subfloor. Floating floors provide noticeable improvement in sound dampening for multi-level homes.

4. Forgiving of Subfloor Imperfections

Minor dips, bumps or uneven spots in the subfloor will not telegraph through floating floors and impact the finished surface. The foam underlayment cushions these flaws. Floating floors can mask challenging subfloors, allowing an even flat surface on top.

5. Resilient to Moisture

The floating design leaves no gaps or seams for moisture to penetrate from below to damage the flooring. Floating floors work great in basements vulnerable to high humidity. Water resistance is a major perk.

6. Low Maintenance

Aside from simple sweeping and damp mopping as needed, floating floors require minimal maintenance to keep looking pristine. No waxing required and they won’t show scratches as badly as solid wood.




The Cons Of Floating Floors

Floating floors also come with a few disadvantages to note:

1. Vulnerable to Heavy Furniture

A downside is heavy furniture or appliance legs can create dents if they sit directly on floating floors. The use of protective pads is important to prevent indents.

2. Still Prone to Major Water Damage

While floating floors are water-resistant from below, too much moisture from above can still be an issue. Things like frequent spills or leaks can seep between the planks over time and cause damage. That’s why bathrooms or laundry rooms prone to lots of splashing aren’t the best spots for floating floors.

3. Seams May Be More Visible

You may also notice seems a bit more compared to seamless hardwood, depending on the light. Careful installation with staggered planks can help minimize the visibility of seams. But some people find they stand out more, which can detract from the look.

4. Noise Concerns

Floating floors actually tend to echo and amplify sounds as you walk across them, rather than muffling noise. Without being nailed down, they have a hollower, louder sound when you walk on them. It’s not ideal if you want minimal in-room noise.

5. Resale Value

And while attractive, floating floors generally won’t boost your home’s resale value as much as built-in hardwood might. Some buyers see it more as a temporary flooring option.



Tips For Installing Floating Floors

If you do decide to install floating floors, take steps to properly acclimate and level the subfloor ahead of time:

  • Allow the planks to sit in the room for a couple days to adjust to conditions.
  • Check for bumps or dips in the subfloor and patch as needed so the floor doesn’t sink or bow over time.
  • Taking care with prep work makes a big difference.
  • Spend extra on a quality underlayment suited for floating floors. This improves sound dampening and makes the flooring feel more solid.
  • Leave small expansion gaps around the perimeter of the room when installing.
  • Stagger the end seams between planks in each row. This helps blend seams.
  • Closely follow manufacturer’s installation guidelines. Improper installation can void warranties.


Caring For Your Floating Floor

A few easy maintenance tips will keep floating floors looking their best:

  • Vacuum or dry mop frequently to prevent scratches from grit buildup.
  • Spot clean spills quickly to avoid moisture damage, especially with laminate.
  • Damp mop floors periodically using the cleaner recommended by manufacturer.
  • Place mats at entrances and use area rugs in high traffic zones to limit wear.
  • Add felt pads beneath heavy furniture legs to prevent dents.


With proper installation and care, floating floors can provide many years of great performance. If you’re interested in floating flooring for your home, let’s connect to explore the options!

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