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Floating Floors: A New Way to Enjoy Wood

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It used to be that to install a hardwood floor, the existing material would need to be torn up and stripped down to the plywood before getting out the glue, the nail gun, and those pristine planks. Even when pre-finished hardwood flooring was introduced, you still had to glue and tack the boards into place.

The introduction of floating floors, however, brought with it a host of criticism and questions. Durability, quality, and noise concerns were on the list. No one seemed to accept a floor that wasn’t double-stuck to the sub-floor with glue and nails. But floating floors have earned their stripes, and now seem to be an equally preferred method for giving a home a valuable makeover.

There are innumerable styles, colors, and textures of these engineered hardwoods, but the number of methods for installing them is growing, too. While it is still acceptable (and sometimes recommended) to directly glue down an engineered floor, the major advantages of floating flooring are its versatility and ease of installation.

There are click type, lock-and-fold type, and snap type floating floors. By their names they are known: click and snap types are made to require no adhesives, staples or nails, and lock-and-fold floors have a built-in securing mechanism in place, sometimes made of aluminum. Because of these innovations, floating floors can be installed in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the mess, and none of the adhesive fumes of traditional hardwood floors.

Their versatility also comes into play when you consider that a floating floor that doesn’t need to be nailed down can be installed over existing ceramic tile, wood and vinyl. Though it is crucial to prepare these sub-surfaces with the appropriate foam and plastic padding, like WhisperStep, the painstaking process of tearing off the old material has essentially been eliminated. This also makes it possible to put a wood floor in a basement or into a home in a highly humid region.

Traditional hardwood floors will always be cherished, but floating floors are gaining popularity and trust. With identical looks and ease of installation, these highly versatile products are giving traditional hardwood flooring a run for its money.