Floating floor vs fully fixed floor

When it comes to installing a new wood floor in your home, you will have various options with regards to installation methods. Whether you opt for a floating floor or a fully fixed floor will ultimately have a bearing on the overall look and quality of the end result. In this post, we share the pros and cons of each and provide our recommendation for the best installation method.


What is a floating floor?

A floating floor is not a floor in itself; rather, it refers to the method of installation. These floors are neither nailed or glued to the subfloor or substrate, hence the term ‘floating’. This method is most commonly used with laminate flooring but is also deployed with luxury vinyl flooring, floating tile systems and wood floor.

It can be constructed over either a subfloor or an existing floor, however it is essential that the substrate is completely flat. The boards usually snap together or are glued together, in a similar way to a jigsaw puzzle. Using this analogy, the pieces are attached to each other but are not attached to the table that the jigsaw sits on; the same goes for a floating floor.


Which method is best?

Although floating floors have the benefits of quick and easy installation, we generally recommend fully fixing your wood floor. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, a fixed floor will reduce wood movement, as the adhesives create a strong bond between the floorboards and the substrate. More modern adhesives allow the wood to expand and contract but not as much as a floating floor would be able to.

Another good reason to avoid a floating wood floor is due to the look and feel. For example, when customers opt for an engineered wood floor, they are generally looking to mimic the look and feel of solid wood as closely as possible. A floating floor can bring a hollow sound and spongy feel underfoot, which will serve as an obvious signal that your flooring is not solid hardwood.

The overall look of a floating wood floor ultimately lacks authenticity and indicates a lower quality. Even with high quality materials, the final result can look a little ‘cheap’. Add to that the risk of creaking due to the increased movement of floating floors and you can see why we always recommend fully fixing your wood floor.


DIY or professional help?

If you have opted for a fully fixed wood floor over a floating one then we highly recommend getting the professionals in to carry out the installation. It is crucial that you avoid getting adhesive on top of or in between the floorboards, as the glue is exceptionally hard to remove once it has dried. It is also worth wearing a face mask in case of any initial odours from the adhesive.

Even though floating floors are much easier to install, we still recommend the help of an expert. This will ensure that no errors are made and that you get the best possible results from your wood floor.


For further assistance with your flooring needs, get in touch with a member of the friendly Hudson Flooring team.