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Floating vs. Glued-Down Engineered Wood Flooring: Which is the Better Option?

When looking into installing wooden flooring, you’ll most likely come across these two options: Floating wood floors and glued-down wood floors. The two of them may seem quite similar at first glance, but there are a good deal of differences to account for, so you should take the time to get familiar before going with one option or another.

Floating Floors

Installing floating wood is a lot like putting together a big puzzle. The boards interlock with each other without any fasteners and possess just enough give to them that they’re comfortable to walk on.

Floating hardwood mimics the appearance of natural hardwood, although the give and the hollow sound they make can tell you that it isn’t. Because you would have to install floating floors over an underlayer on a level subfloor, the hollow sound comes from it. Despite that requirement, however, floating floors are quick and easy to install and don’t require much special equipment to put them in place.

The option to install floating floors will not only be easy to install but easy to tear up should you change your mind. This option is great to go with if you’re working on a budget, and if you’re worried about the boards wearing out quickly, you can refinish floating wood after it starts to look worn down so that the floor will last even longer.

Glued-Down Floors

Gluing down the wood is the pricier option, but that’s because the labor cost is higher since each piece has to be individually glued together. This also means that these types of floors are harder to tear up, so be committed if you give it a go.

This kind of installation can be a lot more sturdy, however. The boards will shift around less, won’t have that hollow sound, don’t require a vapor barrier (since the glue acts as one), and you can have them installed on a subfloor that isn’t quite level. The strength of the floors might mean they’re a bit uncomfortable to walk on, but the authenticity of the wood might make them a viable option if going for something that looks and feels more solid.

Which is the Better Option?

The best option for the type of wooden flooring depends on the individual factors that you look at. Floating floors are the better choice if you want something cheap and simple to install, and are also the best option for working with most types of subfloor, as long as the surface is level. Glued-down floors are the better option if you want something that has the sound and sturdiness of natural hardwood, and if you desire floorboards that are almost guaranteed not to slide around even slightly.

If you’re looking into wooden flooring and need to know the best option as at least a starting point, floating wood floors are probably the better bet. You can install them over just about any subfloor material, they’re easy to remove if you aren’t happy with the results, and you’ll save money. Remember, though, that only you know your preferences, so make sure you pick something for yourself that you’re going to be pleased within the end.

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