Floating Laminate Floor: How It Works

person installing floating laminate flooring

Floating laminate flooring is a combination of different types of flooring. Read on to find out what this flooring is (and isn't) and how it works.

It’s Not Wood

Even though floating laminate flooring may look like wood, it’s not wood. The companies that manufacture laminate flooring are DuPont, Mannington, Armstrong—all companies that make synthetic flooring. Floating laminate flooring is synthetic, too. It is literally a photograph of wood, which is why there is never a flaw or blemish in this type of flooring.

A thin piece of paper with the wood photograph on it is soaked with melamine, which makes it heat tolerant and fire-resistant. This paper is covered by a hard surface that can’t be marred by heavy furniture, high heels, stains, etc.

Wood Composite Base

Sometimes people are fooled by the base of pressed wood composite that is under the top layer of the laminate flooring. However, this is not real hardwood or even softwood. It is a mixture of wood waste that has been pressed together and hardened. This material is used in many furniture applications and as subflooring.

Glue or Snap

The pieces of laminate flooring either snap together or stick to each other with an adhesive. The type that glues together is structurally more sound and tends to withstand more wear than the type that snaps together. The glued type is also more resistant to moisture leaks, which can cause major damage to the particleboard base. However, the type of flooring that snaps together takes less time to install, which is why some people prefer it.

It Floats!

Because the laminate flooring attaches to itself, it does not have to be nailed or glued down to the floor. Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, needs to be carefully nailed down to firm flooring.

Flexible Uses

Since it does not have to be attached to the floor or to walls, the floating floor is forgiving of uneven surfaces and rooms that are not square or rectangular. Many people use the laminate flooring in a basement with an uneven concrete floor.

Many people prefer floating laminate to vinyl floors that have to be securely glued to any surface. Removing vinyl flooring is tedious as you must scrape up all adhesives before you can install new floors.

Floating laminate flooring is also ideal for basements prone to flooding. In the case of water damage, you can remove only those parts of the floor that were affected and easily replace them without replacing the entire floor.