Installation Methods for Engineered Wood: Floating vs. Glue Down
When it comes to engineered hardwood, there are two common installation methods that you should consider; floating or glue down. Here is some basic information about these two methods so you can understand the difference.
A floating floor means that the floor is locked or glued together, but not attached to the wall or subfloor. Using this method has its many advantages. For one, you can get away with very little prep-work on the subfloor. In many cases, you do not have to demo the pre-existing floor because this mechanism allows your new floor to sit right on top of the old one. Floating floors can float over most hard surfaces. This is most commonly done by a “click-lock” system. The alternative is to put adhesive on the sides of the planks and sticking them together. The “click-lock” method is the most common since it is a much faster process. Majority of floating floors either have the tongue and groove construction, or edges with a locking mechanism. Both of these constructions allow the floors to lock together. This method also makes repairs simple. For example, if you have a plank that got ruined and needs replacing, the floating method allows you to easily take out that one plank and replace it with another. You may be concerned that a floating floor will sound hallow and you might feel movement when you walk on your floor. An underlayment between the subfloor and new floor will resolve this issue.
Glue down installation is still very common with engineered hardwood. There are many benefits to using this method as well. When gluing down engineered wood, it is typically over a concrete slab. It cannot be installed over your pre-existing floors like a floating floor could, but the stability you get from glue down installation is unbeatable. It allows little to no movement in your floors and has a very solid feeling when walked on. Using glue does not require an underlayment or a vapor barrier since the glue itself is its own barrier. Glue down also allows you to install over subfloors that are not perfectly level, whereas floating floors need to be installed over even subfloors. With these advantages, there are also a couple drawbacks. The installation process is more time consuming and requires more labor. They are also much harder to tear up and replace than a floating floor.