For people who are looking to reduce noise, vibrations, and other distractions, thick floating floors might be the best way to go. The installation process is not always ideal, which means that some will actually reach out for professional help.
For those who are a little bit handy, the installation process is doable with a bit of patience. It might be worth it in the end, as it will be a step up from a traditional floor from a soundproofing perspective. A few tips along the way will help make it more soundproof than other options out there. (source)
Floating Floors Initial Prep
Like installing any type of flooring out there, it is important to prepare so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. There is nothing too out of the ordinary to get everything going, but it is important to follow some of those basic steps to ensure that everything goes well.
Measure the Area for the Floating Flooring
For do-it-yourself individuals, do not overlook the importance of taking proper measurements and getting everything right before heading to the store and getting material.
Every little precaution counts and a big reason why so many people are doing things by themselves is to avoid additional cost. Coming home with a bunch of material that is not needed is just a waste of time and money.
Most people are not going to be installing a floating floor in every room of a building. It might just be for one specific room that is going to be used for high-quality sound purposes. Maybe people want to have a very silent study area, or they want a place they can record music or videos from home.
For people doing multiple rooms at once, there is the option of having a lot of options as far as scraps are concerned. Buying in bulk will also help a person’s bottom line in the end.
Floating Floor Subflooring
A lot of construction has concrete for subflooring, and if that is the case, it needs to be treated before moving forward. Putting any type of floating flooring directly on concrete is not going to work the way you might want it to. There is not enough insulation, and there is an opportunity for humidity to make its way through.
This is when a person needs to cover the concrete with wood or engineered wood before starting the process. Plywood is one cheap option in this scenario, but there are other options as well if a person wants something that will be a little sturdier.
The Type of Floating Floor You Need
The easiest type of process is to use acoustical laminate flooring (source) for something like this. It comes in various sizes, thicknesses, colors, and more. People can get an option that has the look of oak, walnut, maple, or anything else they want.
Before jumping into brand new construction, try to estimate how many boxes of floating flooring are needed to complete the process.
It might seem like it is a little complicated for people at first, but it is just a matter of doing a little bit of math before purchasing.
Floating Floors Installation Process Step by Step
After all the preparation is done, the installation process is the main part of the task. Follow all the steps according to plan and things should go relatively smoothly.
A lot of it comes down to just layering everything properly, and making sure to do it right the first time instead of speeding through the process.
1. Soundproof Underlayment
The foam underlayment is the first key layer when installing a floating floor. It needs to go on smoothly and attach to the subfloor to seal everything off.
If there are seams, connecting everything together with duct tape is probably the easiest and most straightforward way to go.
Even though this layer will be hidden after the installation process is done, taking the extra time to get it just right will pay off in the end. This will prevent anything from damaging the floor and having to start over another time (source).
2. Arrange Flooring Planks in the Right Way
Since any type of flooring is going to come in planks, a person has a little bit of a decision to make on which way the planks actually go.
Going with the longest part of the wall and parallel to it is the easiest way, but some rooms are not just four straight walls. Sometimes it comes down to how practical a certain layout is, while in other scenarios, it is about designed only.
There needs to be a spacer of some kind around the walls so that it can account for the flooring to expand a little bit as the temperature fluctuates.
It does not need to be too much, as just under half of an inch is just fine. Some people will do it on only one wall, while others will have it all around for a little bit more room to work with.
Once the floor panels start to go in, make sure that everything is snapping together as it should. If there are any complications, use tools such as a flat edge, a dead hammer, or other options that will be soft enough to not damage the wood, but hard enough to complete the process.
Most of the panels will be pretty easy to install as time goes on, but as space starts to become limited, that is where the process gets a little complicated as well. The last piece in a row needs to fit properly, so it often means that it needs to be cut a little bit.
Use some type of saw to cut the final piece so that everything fits perfectly. Remember, it does not have to be perfect, as there is a need for buffer room when the floor expands. Just make sure that it is fairly close to the wall, and everything should be fine.
With each row, try to stagger the joints as much as possible for not only looks but to keep everything as strong as possible. If all the joints line up, it is going to possibly cause some damages to the flooring overall.
If spacers are used to help keep a proper amount of distance between the wall and the flooring, make sure to take those out once all the pieces are put into place.
It is very much like one big puzzle in some ways, as people are putting everything down that they need to fill up the entire room. As long as there is a little bit of a buffer, there will be no problems in the long term.
3. Fix Common Floating Flooring Problems
As simple as the installation process might seem on paper, there are some problems that people will run into here and there. Not every room is created equally, so it might be a problem only certain people face.
4. Trimming the Casing of the Flooring
Floors do not cause much of a problem overall as far as height is concerned, but a floating floor might not be able to fit underneath some of the parts of a room.
For example, with door casings, the floor might need to be shaved off a bit. Take a little bit off at a time, and slide the flooring underneath the door until it fits as it should.
5. Scribe Around Corners
There are at least four corners in every room, and in some cases, a lot more. This is when scribing can really come in handy.
This is when a person can make a cut using a compass as a guide so that everything fits into a corner nicely. It takes a little bit of learning along the way, but there are ways to practice with some scrap flooring if possible.
If it is not perfect, remember that it is better to leave too much at the beginning than too little. This way, a little bit more can be cut off each time until it feels like it fits.
6. Keep Weight in Mind
While there are a lot of different wood options that can be used for a floating floor, people do need to remember that some rooms will need to support a lot more ways than others.
That means staying away from something very light such as plywood because it will end up not holding up over the long term. Most of the main hardwood options out there are pretty easy to withstand a decent amount of weight.
What Should be Done if Floating Floor Is Not Flat
Make sure to check all the work once the flooring is down and see what could be causing the issues. In a lot of cases, it ends up being that not enough space was left in one particular area.
If the flooring goes right up against the wall, temperatures are going to make it expand to the point that the floor will start to lift.
An easy fix is to cut down one of the edges to make sure that everything fits properly. It is not the end of the world, but it is a common problem that many first-timers run into.
Advantages of Floating Floors?
Soundproofing or their less expensive price compared to their hardwood counterpart is most likely the reason why people look into floating floors in the first place.
But it is not the only advantage out there that makes people willing to put in the time and effort to put everything together. If done correctly, there are a lot of advantages, and it might just end up being the solution for multiple rooms in the end.
Time and Money Saver
It might seem complicated on paper, but floating floors are actually easier to install than other options out there. The boards are connecting much like a puzzle, so it does not take as much effort to get everything lined up the way it should.
Most of the floating floor options out there are either click lock, or tongue and groove. Both are very easy to get the prior process down.
Floating floors can also be labeled as flexible floor. It is usually very flexible and comfortable to walk on the floors since there is a bit of cushioning overall.
Some older people like the fact that their floating floors give a little bit, instead of something very hard like concrete. It is easier on the body the more people end up walking on it.
For people who worry about the environment, floating floors are going to be one of the most eco-friendly options out there. It uses less wood than typical flooring, and there is less waste overall. Everything can be placed over existing flooring without having to tear it up, which is a huge benefit for a lot of people.
If the floor does eventually need replacing, there is not a lot of wasted material taking it up. Everything still stays in great shape overall.
Easy to Install and Remove
Floating floors are not actually attached to the underlying material, which means that it is very easy to pull up and make repairs if necessary.
If people decide to move, they can actually pack it up and take it with them if they want. This makes it very user friendly for people who are doing everything themselves, and for those who do not want to be married to a certain idea necessarily.
Disadvantages of Floating Floors
As great as floating floors sound, and as much as they help with soundproofing, there are a few disadvantages people need to keep in mind. Most of them are fairly obvious, but it is still important to point them out so that people know exactly what they are getting himself into.
More Susceptible to Temperature Changes
It has been touched on a bit already, but the changes depending on the time of year, moisture, and temperature are very real.
No one should think that their flooring will always stay the same. It is more susceptible to something changing compared to more traditional flooring.
I always recommend using a dehumidifier in a basement that has floating floors. The Humidity of a basement can warp the floating floors so keep that in mind.
Lack of Finishing Option
Floating floors can’t be sanded and refinished like hardwood floors. This means that it is important to pick the right look at the very beginning because it is going to be hard to change everything up. Fortunately, there are a lot of different options out there, but it is something to keep in mind.
Impacts Home Value
If a person is trying to sell their home, and it is filled with a lot of floating flooring, it is not going to command the same type of price as more traditional flooring options.
In fact, in some cases, it might be better to pull up that floating flooring before selling. That way, at least people know what they are dealing with at the base.
Floating Floors Worth It For Soundproofing?
The biggest advantage of using floating floors is that the right type of underlayment can help with the soundproofing process. It is not always a perfect solution, but one that can work well with other measures to make something worthwhile.
Anyone who is having trouble with sounds seeping in or leaving a room should look into floating floors. They are great options for people who are on a budget but still want something that stacks up well as far as professional value is concerned.