View Full Version : Floating wood floors?

08-05-2005, 06:34 PM
Coming along nicely on my basement remodel.... and have a question about floating wood laminates. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of putting down a floor that is not "connected" to anything solid. However I see lots of advertisements for "floating wood laminates". They seem to be all the rage now. I'm doing a 26 X 17 area and worry about squeaks, squishiness (what else can I call it), and general longevity. Anyone have any experience? I've laid down laminates with glue and been happy with the results - but the new system seems an awful lot quicker/easier.....

Oh yeah, - the basement is dry, dry, dry... (Colorado desert area) - so moisture isn't an issue - other than a lack of it.....

08-05-2005, 07:06 PM
Floating laminate floors ( Pergo et al) have been aroung for a long time. The planks connect together. Used to be glued; a lot of them now are snap together. In theory, the entire floor could be picked up in one piece.

I have not heard of any squeaking or other problems. The floors are put down on a cushion base, and the joints do not move.

08-05-2005, 07:12 PM
I put in about 500 sq ft on my first floor. Like it. Note, though, that flatness is a requirement of the surface you are going to put it on. Check with the manufacturer's installation instructions. The stuff I put down was from www.kahrs.com I was at a home show in LA one time (visiting from the east coast). I asked one of the big distributors there what he liked and told him where I lived (so he wouldn't be trying to push his stuff). He said he was very impressed with the Kahrs stuff - sold alot of it in his previous job. Kahrs has been in the wood flooring business since the middle 1800's and it's the only thing they do. They were the first ones out with the interlocking floating floors. You have a choice of a simple slip sheet or a foam pad under the floor. I went with the foam pad (recommended for over my radiant heating).

08-05-2005, 08:00 PM
I have only been in one house with a floating floor. It was not put down with the pad under it, so when you walked on it, you got the impression, and sound, like you were walking over something hollow.

08-06-2005, 06:55 AM
It is true that the laminate flooring is harder than real wood, so it can be noisier; walking on it does not have the same feel as wood. But I put it in my kitchen and we like it. I used a Pergo in a travertine pattern. We have oak ( the real stuff) in the rest of the house but I did not want wood in the kitchen because of the water, heavy wear and tear, etc. Using the stone pattern it does not "clash" with the oak. We have been very happy with this for many years.

08-06-2005, 11:03 AM
An interesting point on (at least some) of the floating floors: they usually use high density fiberboard under the top layer (on Kahrs, the top is wood). Because of that, the stuff is actually harder than a solid maple floor. Kahrs has (at least) two lines that can be installed as floating; one is relatively thin like Pergo (at about 5/16" thick) and another that uses a wood middle section that is thicker, at about 5/8". Their stuff has a real wood, sliced, not rotary cut, veneer on the engineered versions (they also make solid flooring). The thin version costs less than many of the Pergo versions and with the finish on it, as tough as the Pergo.

master plumber mark
08-07-2005, 05:59 AM
I dont like the floating floor at all....

they feel fake, because they are...

you must install them with at least a 1/2 inch gap all around the room
so the floor can float, or it will heave up on you....trim covers the gap...

if you ever , have any kind of moisture that gets
under that floating floor for a prolonged period of time,
its totally ruined ---totally----

I found that out first hand when my insurance company had to fight with the home owner over a slow leaking icemaker pipe on the back of a fridge one time... about 7k worth of damage....

we got blamed even though the unit had been moved in and out a number of times .....their homeowenrs policy ended up footing the bill.


the lamainate tends to chip away in high traffic areas so if
you got large dogs with large nails can literally scratch the hell out of them...

Also, once they get older and scratched up from wear and tear you just
cant bring a sander in and re-vitalize the floor like you could do with
a hundred year old oak floor...

spend a little more money and put down some real stuff.

or just tile the basement with something dark colored.

08-07-2005, 02:54 PM
The Kahrs stuff I was talking about is an engineered wood floor. It can be sanded and refinished. Longstanding water on any wood floor, regardless of it being engineered or solid or a laminate will likely ruin it.

08-07-2005, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the input guys..... I too would prefer real wood.... but it's going down on top of concrete.... Putting in a new subfloor isn't going to happen. I love tile... but the wife wants wood or "wood look" - she can't imagine the sound of pool balls hitting the ceramic tiles...... and cracking them each time it happens.....Think I'm going to go with a "glue down" type laminate.... at least I won't imagine the floor bubbling up in the center.........

08-08-2005, 06:29 PM
Some of the Kahrs stuff is the same or cheaper than the Pergo (depends on the style). Check out the Linnae line. Real wood, installs like laminate. You can read the install instructions on their website. I much prefer real wood to a picture of it! If you use the proper stuff under it, unless you have real moisture problems, it can be installed over concrete. If you really have moisture problems, any laminate is going to have problems.

08-09-2005, 05:27 AM
Thanks for the advice... I'll check it out..... Best part about "real wood" is the ability to "redo it" somewhere down the road...... vs. ripping up that laminate and starting over..... Then again - in 10 years, something else will be all the rage....