When it comes to installing engineered hardwood flooring, there is one question we get more than any other: should we use glued down or floating planks? It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring someone to do the installation for you or are doing it yourself, our answer is always the same: it depends.
Both glued-down and floating planks have their merits and which is better for you depends largely on where you’re planning to install the floor, your budget and, if you’re going to DIY, your skill level.
We’re going to break down the benefits and potential drawbacks of each installation option so you can make the choice that’s best for you.
Floating Plank Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Featuring tongue and groove installation that allows your planks to lock together, floating planks can be installed quickly and easily. Weight and friction keep this type of engineered hardwood flooring in place and while it may flex, well-installed floating planks will stay-put. This type of flooring is an ideal choice for basements and living areas.
Floating floors are a more economical and affordable engineered hardwood flooring option. Because of their design, they are easier to install with less material and time required. If trying to refresh your floors on a budget, they make an ideal choice.
Floating floors don’t offer the same look and feel of real hardwood. Unlike other wood flooring materials, the floor can shift if planks aren’t installed correctly. Floating floors laid on an improper subfloor can also sound hollow when walking on them, or feel spongy underfoot. Even if they are installed properly, floating hardwood floors are not the best option for rooms like kitchens or laundry rooms where heavy appliances are placed on them, which may cause them to move.
Floating engineered hardwood flooring also necessitates a foam underlayment between the subfloor and the planks. This layer dampens noise and provides an essential moisture barrier – but comes with material and labour costs to consider.
Glued-Down Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Glued floors offer the most traditional look and feel of hardwood – whether using real or engineered materials. Using an adhesive to glue down the planks to your subfloor means that your planks will hardly budge. What’s more, many newer types of glue are elastomeric, meaning they will facilitate expansion and contraction of the wood, but won’t let them shrink or grow to the extent possible if the planks were nailed down or floating. Another bonus of glued-down engineered hardwood flooring: the glue is your moisture barrier, so there’s no need for underlayment.
Finally, glue is a must for more intricate flooring designs, like herringbone or parquet hardwood flooring. This traction will help ensure your design stays accurate and locked in.
Because glued-down engineered hardwood flooring is more time intensive to install, it’s also more costly. And glue can require a good deal of clean up if you don’t know how to use it properly, meaning that a glue-down floor should not be your first foray into the world of DIY flooring. A glued down floor is also there to stay, making any future removal much harder.
By now you should have a fairly good idea of which installation method is right for your engineered hardwood flooring, but if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help guide you to the best flooring solution and have installed hundreds of hardwood floors if you need expert help.