Flooring 101: What Are Floating Floors and Why Does Everyone Want One

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Flooring 101: What Are Floating Floors and Why Does Everyone Want One

Flooring is a necessary architectural detail for every space, and choosing the right floor comes with an array of selections – what type, what color, what structure, what width, etc.  Then, once you choose a floor, you have to deal with the added hassle and expense of paying to have it installed, which can be a time consuming and costly process – depending on the flooring you are installing.

A revolutionary type of flooring has emerged in recent years and it is getting better and better – multilayer flooring, as it is referred to in the industry. With it comes a new way of manufacturing flooring which changes the way we install flooring today using a floating floor method versus the traditional nail and glue installation methods.   Today, we’ll answer two questions: what are floating floors and why does everyone want one.

What are Floating Floors?

Floating floors are, just as the name implies, flooring that can literally be installed to float above the subfloor or substrate (or in some cases old flooring and old subflooring if it can’t be removed). This is quite a revolutionary idea in the flooring industry, up until the introduction of floating flooring, floors were installed using one of two (or sometimes a combination) of methods. One is nailing down the flooring to the subfloor and the other is gluing the flooring down.  Both are time consuming and costly.

So how does this magic happen?

Floating floors are comprised of multiple layers of flooring.  The core or backing provides the strength and stability, and the top layer provides the aesthetics, color and finish.  The construction is very similar to an engineered wood floor, with even more benefits.

“The key features of MLF are the combination of waterproof, rigidity, thickness, and dimensional stability. These features allows for the floors to be installed easier, faster with minimal sub floor prep,” said Peter Barretto, president and CEO of Torlys, and marketing chairperson for the Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA). “MLF can be installed on any grade and in most areas up including areas with moderate sunlight/heat without transition moldings in most cases.”

Danielle Clair is Managing Editor of Floor Trends magazine

Flooring Trends Magazine

But, that is not all.  Floating flooring has an added design feature built in, the Uniclic® joint.  This is similar to a tongue and groove that is common on most solid hardwood flooring, but it has an enhanced interlocking mechanism that ensures the flooring fits together precisely and eliminates the need for gluing and nailing.

One of the other benefits of floating flooring is that they can be used in residential and commercial environments.

Why Does Everyone Want a Floating Floor Today?

Floating flooring is popular with homeowners and trade professionals, but they both love it for some of the same reasons:

  • No subfloor required reducing installation time and subfloor costs
  • Can be installed at, above, or below grade – not possible with traditional solid flooring
  • Very Affordable
  • Easy to install, great for do-it-yourselfers
  • Costs less to install than glue or nail down flooring like tile and solid hardwood flooring
  • You can pick up and take the flooring with you if you ever move
  • Features like built-in sound dampening technology, Microban ® anti-mold and mildew treatment
  • Options and compliance with environmental initiatives like CARB2, LEED, FSC
  • Residential and commercial warranties
  • High quality finishes that are resilient and easy to care for

Keep in mind some of the features listed above may be limited to specific brands so do your homework and make sure whichever floor you choose delivers the same quality, value and details.

In addition to the benefits listed above, one of the other reasons floating flooring is so popular is the amazing selection.  There used to be a time when floating flooring was limited to only certain styles, but now advances in manufacturing and design make it possible to get a floating floor in many styles and colors.  In fact, you’ll find options in wide plank leather flooring, engineered wood flooring, luxury vinyl plank flooring, cork flooring and wide plank laminate flooring.

In the case of Torlys Smart Floors, one other amazing benefit is the ability to replace individual boards if damage ever occurs, this is nearly impossible with any other floor.  Watch the video to learn more.


Want to learn more about wide plank floating floors? Check out our blog post, Creative Colors, Construction and Convenience of Floating Flooring for inspiration and ideas.

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