In the beginning, the term “floating floor” referred to laminate floors that were imported from Europe in the early 1990’s. Today, many types of flooring can be floated laminate, hardwood, bamboo, cork, linoleum. What it means is that the flooring product is not attached by nails, staples, or glue to the subfloor. Instead, the flooring product floats on a layer of cushion about 1/8” off the subfloor. The flooring product boards, planks, or panels are connected to one another either by a snap and lock fit or glue, creating a monolithic floor.
Since the floor is monolithic, it expands and contracts as a unit. It does not possess the space between the boards, planks, or panels to absorb the expansion so it is critical that adequate space is left around the perimeter of the floor to allow for this expansion. This space is hidden by the use of shoe molding. It is important that no nails are driven through a floating floor and that nothing restricts its ability to move.
Properly installed, a floating floor will give years and years of trouble free service. Its only disadvantage is that it can be noisier to walk on than floors that a secured to the subfloor.
This noise can be greatly minimized by the use of a good quality sound reducing cushion.
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