“Can I float a solid wood floor?” is a question we hear quite often from our clients. Although it is not impossible to float a solid wood floor successfully, generally speaking, floating a hardwood floor is not a great idea. The reason for this is that solid wood flooring is much more susceptible to movement than engineered flooring, due to fluctuating moisture and humidity levels. The whole nature of solid hardwood flooring means that it is in a constant state of change due to the effects of rising and falling temperatures.
There is no doubt that floating as a fitting method has a whole raft of advantages. For example, floating is not only the most do-it-yourself (DIY) friendly of all the installation methods, it’s also a quick and easy way of either laying or having your new floor laid for you. Essentially, a floating wood floor is fitted over an underlay so the floor and the subfloor are not in contact. Because of the movement of solid wood flooring, which happens through the expansion and contraction of the wood, it’s important that a solid floor is fixed to the subfloor in some shape or form. This is not the case with engineered flooring. The most appropriate fitting methods for solid hardwood flooring include:
1. Glue-down – A glue-down flooring installation involves the application of a bonding agent or adhesive to the subfloor, which might either be concrete or wood. The advantage of a glue-down installation is that it’s particularly stable when done properly.
2. Nail-down – A nail-down installation is arguably the most straightforward of all solid wood floor installation methods but should only be used over a wooden subfloor. If you are installing or having your solid hardwood floor installed over chipboard or plywood, the direction you lay the planks does not matter, but if you’re laying your new floor over existing floorboards, it’s important to lay the new boards at 90 degrees to the old ones.
3. Staple-down – A staple-down flooring installation is very similar to nail-down installation, the only difference being that staples are used instead of nails to attach the floor to the subfloor. In many ways, staple-down installations are even simpler to execute than nail-down installations.
So, even though floating installation is not an ideal way of fitting a solid hardwood floor, there are plenty of other options available to you, which will ensure a stable and long-lasting result.