Floating Wood Installation

A floating hardwood floor is a floor that is not adhered to the subfloor. Each wood plank is connected together with a tongue and groove joinery system. This method of installation is much less fuss than nailing or gluing to the subfloor. It’s important to know that not all wood floors can be installed using the floating method. A manufacturer designates if a floor can be floated on top of a subfloor. This should be clearly stated in the warranty or in the specifications of a product.

Furthermore, most wood floors installed using the floating method are engineered wood floors, not solid. Why is this? Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts when changes in humidity occur. Engineered wood planks are designed to expand and contract less than solid wood.

You may be asking yourself, what prevents a plank from popping out of place? This is a great question! The answer: dots of glue are applied down the length of the tongue side of a plank, and then inserted into the groove of the neighboring planks. Not only does the glue, and tongue and groove keep planks in place, but also the weight of the floor itself, the friction between planks, and the space it is confined within.

Learning how to install a floating wood floor is relatively simple compared to the traditional nail installation or glue installation. That said, most engineered wood flooring warranties indicate that professional installation is best.

Installation Preparations

As you prepare for a floating wood installation, it is very important to thoroughly prepare your subfloor. If a subfloor is not level, has too much moisture, or is not clean, then you’ll more than likely see the effects of this later down the road. For instance, possible dips in the engineered floating wood floors. Prepare for installation by doing the following:

  • Test the moisture content of your subfloor. The difference in moisture content between the planks and the subfloor should be no more than 4%.
  • Clean all residues from the subfloor.
  • Use a 10-foot level tool to make sure the subfloor is level. Smaller levels can be used in tighter spaces.
  • Acclimate the flooring planks to the room temperature. A professional installer can recommend the best acclimation time based on relative humidity and subfloor condition.
  • Control the installation environment. The installation space should be fully enclosed. An open jobsite could expose the wood flooring to excess moisture from humidity and potentially the flooring installation.

How to Lay a Floating Wood Floor

  • Install an approved floating floor underlayment (poly foam, cork, rubber, etc.) to subfloor.
  • Create a working line parallel to the starting wall, in multiples of engineered plank width, to set up the baseline of installation.
  • Apply beads of engineered wood flooring adhesive along the tongue of each wood plank and insert into the groove of neighboring planks.
  • Lay one row of flooring planks along the entire length of the work line. Work with the tongue side outward.
  • Add each additional row of flooring, making sure to offset the joints. Generally, joints should be offset no less than 6”.
  • Maintain a ½” expansion space around the entire perimeter.
  • Finished areas should be covered with breathable protective paper, NEVER PLASTIC, immediately after installation to prevent damage. Do not tape protective paper to the finished surface of the wood for extended periods of time.

Complete wood floor installation instructions can be found here.

GoHaus offers a collection of floating wood floors, which feature a tongue and groove joinery system. These floors can also be glued or nailed down, if preferred. Before purchasing, we always encourage buyers to request floor samples. Samples give you time to look at your options, and even compare with paint tiles or accent pieces you have. If you’re looking at floating floors with us, we offer up to 6 free samples to help you choose the best floor for your space.

If you have any questions about our flooring options and/or how to install a floating wood floor, contact us at 844-334-2877 or support@gohaus.com.

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