Contrary to popular belief, floating laminates refers to a mode of installation of flooring material rather than a specific flooring product. A great analogy to explain floating laminates would be a jigsaw puzzle. In installing the floating laminates, the floor boards are sealed together either using an adhesive or snapping them together sort of like how you would fit jig saw puzzle pieces together using a secure tongue and groove locking system. However the floor boards, even though interlocked to each other, are not in any way attached to the subfloor or underlayment onto which flooring is being installed.
How Does It Work
For the longest time, flooring materials have been attached to the subfloor using adhesives, staples and other innovations. And as the trend of doing it yourself gained popularity in home décor, new and easy ways of installing flooring materials had to be created in order to negate the complexity and high costs incurred from manual drilling of nails to subfloors. Floating laminates was a Hail Mary for many homeowners who wanted a quick and cheap solution to their flooring needs. The entire weight of the puzzle, frictional contact between the puzzle pieces and edge-to-edge attachment of the pieces helps keeps the jigsaw puzzle stable and in place. The same concepts apply to installation of floating laminate flooring;
- While the individual floor boards are lightweight, when they are glued together they can weigh a few hundred pounds creating a stable floor.
- Beneath the laminate floor boards lies a cork or foam underlayment. There is friction created between the laminates and the cork underlayment which helps limit lateral movement of the flooring.
- Floating laminate boards are designed in such a way that they interlock or fit into each other like jig saw pieces with a positive snap.
- The walls within the space help contain the laminate flooring in their position. While it’s important to leave an expansion gap along the perimeter of the floating laminate flooring, the walls surrounding laminates help in confining them to one specific area.
There are a few benefits to using floating laminates. For starters you eliminate the hassle and tassel of stapling, gluing or nailing your floor boards to the sub floor. This makes floating laminates particularly ideal for do it yourself homeowners. The planks are easily attached to each other with no need or any special tools or skills. This easy installation is easy on the pocket as well.
Since the floating laminates are never attached to the sub-floor, this leaves room for the laminates to expand or shift in response to variations in humidity within that particular room. Plus they are ideal especially in cases where nailing or gluing is simply not an option such as on concrete slabs or pre-existing flooring.
Technically, with floating laminates it’s possible to take the floor boards apart and take them with you in case you decide to move out into another house. This makes floating laminates a smart long term investment.
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