What is a Floating Wood Floor?

13 Jul 2020

You might have heard the term “floating floor” and wonder what  it means. A floating wood floor does “float” over your existing floor, due to the simple, easy and secure click-lock profile on many of our engineered wood floor boards.

Here’s what you need to know about products suitable for floating installation method:

What do we mean by a “floating” WOOD floor?

The term "floating wood floor" refers to the method of installation of any wood flooring planks that have a click-system profile. 
Floating a wood floor means that it will not be nailed, glued or otherwise permanently fixed to a subfloor or surface. The wood planks are instead fitted over the existing floor and appropriate underlay. It is a requirement that the subfloor is clean, dry, flat and required expansion allowance is made around the perimeter. Effectively, the new floor “floats” over your pre-existing floor. 


The manufacturing process for floating floors is the same for any other wood floor, with the exception of the edge or "profile" of the planks. There are two main options of profile for wood flooring - tongue and groove profile, or click-system profile. We do not recommend traditional tongue and groove wood flooring planks for a floating installation method due to experience with movement and sound from the joint. 

As a traditional solid wood floor cannot be floated either, any flooring that uses a floating installation method will most likely be of an engineered construction, which consist of a layer of hardwood overlaid upon a high-density substrate.

Click-system edge profiles are suitable for installing as a floating wood floor.

What are the benefits of floating WOOD floors?

Floating wood floors offer a range of benefits to homeowners:

  • Versatility: The ease of installation combined with a natural aesthetic means a floating wood floor can be incorporated into a variety of spaces and design concepts.

  • Durable: Once clicked together, wood floors installed using the floating method float as a single unit. To accommodate movement it is essential that the floor is not restricted at any point from floating.

  • Cost-effective: Aside from carpet, you don’t often need to remove your existing floor prior to installation, which reduces the cost of your project. Floating floors are also easier to remove in future, because they aren’t glued or nailed down.

  • Rapid Installation: Floating floors are quick and simple to install by clicking the boards into place. Because floating floors aren’t glued down, there’s no wait time for the floor to settle. 

How do you install a floating WOOD floor?

The installation process for floating wood floors is simple, cost and time-effective, which is why they’re so popular for residential renovation projects in particular.

To install a floating wood floor, you don’t need glue, nails or any other adhesives. Simply lay the boards in place over your existing floor. The subfloor must be clean, solid, dry and flat, which means you should remove any carpeting from the space in which you intend to install the floating floor. Laminate, concrete and tiles may not necessarily need to be removed before installation, depending upon their condition.

Allow an expansion gap around the perimeter for contraction after installation, allowing the entire floor to float as a whole. Your supplier will provide instructions as to what gap is ideal or required for your chosen product.

How does a floating WOOD floor stay in place?

Floating wood floorboards are manufactured with a click-lock mechanism. When installed, this mechanism provides a secure and tight fit, keeping the floorboards in place. Because an allowance is made for eventual expansion and contraction during installation, the entire floor adjusts as a whole, avoiding gaps or warping in your wood floor.

Click-system edge profile - suitable for installing as a floating timber floor.

Cost-effective, durable and aesthetic value, that’s a floating WOOD floor

Choosing to install your flooring as a floating timber floor offers so much design potential for residential and commercial spaces. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and time-efficient timber floor, then floating floor boards will be a great choice for you!

Have a question about floating wood floors? 

Want to learn more about click-system ranges that work with floating installations? Contact us, request samples or visit our Havwoods showroom in New York .