What is a floating hardwood floor?
If you’re planning some major renovation work but have limited time, resources and budget, a floating wooden floor could be the answer. It will give you all the advantages of a wooden floor – beautiful looks, minimal maintenance – but it’s cheaper, quicker to install and easier to fit than a ‘real’ wooden floor. So what exactly is it, and why isn’t everyone installing floating wooden floors?
A floating wooden floor is basically a wooden floor that isn’t nailed down. Instead, the boards snap or glue together and are laid over the top of an existing floor base. Usually made of laminate rather than hardwood, floating wooden floors are very easy and quick to install, and because they are made of lower grade material than traditional hardwood floors, they are considerably cheaper.
Before you immediately head off for the DIY store to stock up on floating wooden floor boards and glue, there are a few things to consider.
#1 – is your home right for floating wooden floors?
It’s important to check that floating wooden floors are suitable for your environment. Because of the construction of laminate flooring, homes that are prone to damp or have high levels of humidity (such as those close to bodies of water) may not be suitable, as the flooring will warp or twist as it expands. If the floating wooden floor is made of compressed sawboard with a laminate surface then damp environments will cause the wood to ‘blow’ eventually, meaning that the sawboard will expand and the integral structure of the boards will be compromised.
#2 – Is the area ‘high traffic’?
High traffic areas mean that continuous use will put increased levels of stress and demand on your flooring. Floating wooden floors are not as physically robust as traditional hardwood flooring, so areas that will be exposed to heavy footfall need to be made of sterner stuff! Floating wooden floors also tend to have more ‘spring’ in them than traditionally installed hardwood flooring, which can put a greater degree of strain on weaker areas, such as the joins between boards in the centre of a room.
#3 – Long term investment or short term fix?
While most traditional wooden flooring will greatly enhance the value of your home, floating wooden flooring doesn’t have quite the same wow factor when it comes to the value of your property. If you’re looking for a quick fix solution that you’re happy to live with for a while, then floating wooden flooring is a perfectly adequate solution. But if you want to add genuine value to your home, particularly if you are planning to sell the property, then the extra investment of a traditional hardwood flooring is the preferred choice.
#4 – DIY or professional?
Floating wooden floors have become a very popular DIY project choice. Their simplicity and the speed with which they can be fitted makes them an ideal project for DIY weekend warriors. But as with any major refurbishment, flooring needs to be done properly if it isn’t to end up looking…well, ‘DIY’, frankly! So if you’ve got a bit more budget to spare, talk to a professional wooden flooring company to discuss your options. They may be able to suggest alternatives, such as sanding and polishing your existing boards to give you a genuine hardwood floor that’s even cheaper than a floating wooden floor!
Floating wooden floors are a great and cheap alternative to carpeting, and if you’re keen to do your own home improvements you can get a great result with even a small budget. But there are drawbacks to floating wooden floors, so before you make a final decision, talk to your local floor sanding experts and see which options are best for you.