For a person who knows nothing about a floor, it is hard to decide which type of floor is better for his/her house. Making a wrong decision related to the choice of a floating floor, or a non-floating floor can cost a lot of money. That is why this type of decision should be made after complete research so that you pick the right product for your home floor. Below in this article, I have explained everything you need to know about floating floors and non-floating floors. So, that you can make a better decision.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?
The basic difference between these two types of floors is that the floating floors, as their name suggests are floating types of floors, meaning that these are not glued, or nailed to the base floors. These floor planks are structured like Legos and can be joined together using the edges of the planks. The sides of each floating floor plank are designed to fit into the neighboring plank. The most common type of this type of flooring is the engineered wood flooring, or laminate, vinyl planks flooring. Meanwhile, the non-floating floors are the floors that require nailing down into the subfloor or gluing, without being nailed or glued these floors will have no structural integrity. The most common examples of this type of floor are solid hardwood floors and tile floors.
If you are planning on installing a floating floor in your house, you can easily do it yourself, as these floors do not require being nailed down to the subfloor, or being glued. They float over your subfloors. This type of floor is preferred by a lot of people because of its advantages over the non-floating floors. Below are some of the pros and cons of this type of floor.
Pros of Floating Floors
Here are the pros of floating floors.
- Easy DIY installation: The biggest benefit of these floating floors is that they are very easy to install, and even a person with no knowledge, or with just basic knowledge can easily learn to install these floors. The structure of floor planks has edges like a puzzle that fit together to all the neighboring pieces. This is as easy as joining a few Legos or joining a few puzzle pieces. This is why everyone can do it. This easy installation makes them a perfect choice for people who are looking forward to having a DIY floor. Another benefit of this easy installation is that even if you call a person to help you install these floors, this would cost a lot less, in comparison to other types of floors. Not only this, but you can also save the entire cost of installing a floor, by installing it all on your own.
- Saves a lot of time: As you know that these floors are easy to install, they also require a very small amount of time to install the floor for an entire home. This is because there is no gluing or nailing required and you just need to fit one plank with another and then the next piece. This is not only easy but is also faster. You can install the floor of the entire home in just a matter of hours or just a single day. This helps you save a lot of time in the renovation of your home floor. So, if you are a busy person who is looking forward to having an easy-to-install floor that requires minimum time to install, this is one of the best options that you have.
- Feel Comfortable: Apart from being easy to install, and less time-consuming, these floors are very comfortable under the feet. This is because the planks of floating floors are not fixed in one place, they can move slightly. Not only this but also these floors are made using materials such as vinyl, an engineered wood that feel very comfortable under the feet. They also provide better friction between feet and the floor; this prevents any kind of slips while you are walking over the floating floor. These floors are not glued or nailed to the base floor, this allows these floors to also bend to some level, further providing a better walking experience. Think of these floors as cushions that get pressed while you walk on them. So, if you are looking forward to having a comfortable floor under your feet, this is one of the best options that you have.
- Very Affordable: Floating floors are very affordable; this is because these floor planks are made mostly using cheaper but stronger materials. Not only this, but these floors also help you save a lot of money that you would have spent on hiring an expert and getting your floor installed. Another long-term benefit of these floors is that they are very easy to repair. If a plank gets broken, you can take it out and replace it with a new floor plank. This helps you save a lot of money that you would have spent on repairs of a non-floating floor. So, if you are looking forward to having an affordable floor that offers low-cost planks, low-cost maintenance, and low-cost repairs, these floating floors are a better choice for you.
- Easy to replace damaged planks: One of the major problems with the floors is that they are considerably hard to repair, or replace the part that gets damaged. But this is not a problem anymore if you install a floating floor. A floating floor can easily be repaired or even replaced if the plank or planks in the floor have been damaged seriously. You can do this repairing work on your own, as this does not require any kind of hard work. You just need to have a replacement for the broken planks of the floor, and then just detach the old broken part and fix the new planks at the place of damaged planks. This process takes only a few minutes and costs a lot of less money to repair, replace the planks.
- Lifespan: Another benefit of floating floors is that these floors have a moderate lifespan, meaning that they do not last very long nor very short. This moderate lifespan allows the users to keep up with the flooring trends of the time. For example, there is a flooring trend that one owner chooses for his/her home, but in the next decade, that flooring trend fades away. This floor would look very outdated in that case and it would be a problem for the homeowners. So, if a homeowner has a floating floor, and that trend fades, the homeowner would have the option to renew the floor according to the new trend. It allows the homeowners to adjust according to the new trends.
- Variety: Floating floors have a large variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. This is because most of these floors are synthetic or made in factories. These floors are then finished into different shades. Although these are not real or natural varieties, still you can get a different color, shape, and style of floor that you like. With vinyl flooring and laminate flooring, you can choose a lot of different designs, as the upper layer of these floors is finished in multiple colors to make them look very beautiful. So, if you are looking forward to having a flooring option that provides you a large variety of colors, and shades, floating floors are a perfect choice.
Cons of Floating Floors
Here are some of the cons of floating floors.
- Low Property value: As these are cheaper floors, they do not add any value to your property. For a homeowner that is looking forward to selling the property, this type of flooring would not help add any value to the property. This is because most of the buyers know that these floors are cheaper, and only last one or two decades, this makes them a less suitable choice for the new homeowners. This significantly impacts the overall price of your property. So, if you are looking forward to having a floor that can add value to your property, then floating floors are not a great choice for you.
- Humidity can be a problem: Floating floors and subfloor have a small gap between them. This small gap allows the humidity to be trapped below the floating floor. This causes these floors to easily get damaged due to humidity issues. Humidity in engineered hardwood floors attracts pests, but in the laminate and slightly waterproof vinyl flooring, it still creates a problem. So, if you are living in an area that has humidity issues, this type of floor is not a great choice.
- Feels hollow and loud underfoot: As these floors are not nailed down into the subfloor or properly glued, they appear to be floating over the surface. And there is also a small gap between the subfloor and the floating floor. This gap creates a hollow space. So, when you are walking over such a floor, it feels hollow and the plank slightly bends. This bending of the plank creates sound. That is why these floors are very noisy when you are walking over them.
- Cannot be refinished: Planks of floating floors are mostly very thin; this is why refinishing most of them isn’t an option. So, if your floor’s surface gets damaged or loses its smoothness, you cannot refinish it. You can only change the floor planks and nothing else can be done in this case. That is why these are not an ideal choice for a person who is looking forward to having a long-term floor that they can refinish and keep using for a long time.
- Frequent repairs and replacements: As you know that the planks of this type of floor are very thin. They get easily damaged, dented, scratched, and sometimes destroyed. Once this happens the only solution is to change that part of the floor. And this type of repairing and replacement is more frequent in this type of floor as compared to the non-floating floors.
Popular Floating Floor Options
Here are some of the most popular floating floor options that you have.
- Laminate Floors: Laminate flooring is one of the most common and popular floating floor options that you have. It is slightly different from the engineered hardwood floor planks. But they look like a wooden floor and provide a similar feeling as well when you are walking over them. These are very cheap as well, and can easily be installed.
- Engineered Hardwood Floors: Engineered hardwood planks are completely wooden planks but they are not just cut and shaped, these are entirely engineered in the factories and give the shape of a flooring plank or tile. They are very easy to install and can last a lot longer as compared to other types of floating floors.
- Vinyl Planks/Tile Floors: Vinyl plank/tile floors are also another option that you have. These floors are made using PVC. and they are the only flooring type that is 100% waterproof. These floors do not absorb water at all. That is why they are good for humid conditions. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and shades. These floors are also very easy to install, repair, or even replace.
- Cork Floor: Another popular floating floor option is cork flooring. This type of floor is made using the bark of the cork and sapwood. These are also stronger and can last longer. These are also engineered floors but they are made from cork only. That is why they are more eco-friendly.
A non-floating floor is a type of floor that requires nailing down, or gluing the planks of the floor with one another and with the subfloor. Ceramic floors, natural stone tile floors, and solid hardwood floors are few examples of these floors. These floors are a permanent flooring solution as they tend to last very long. Below are some of the pros and cons of the non-floating floors that would help you decide if you should choose a non-floating floor or not.
Pros of Non-Floating Floors
Here are the pros of a non-floating floor.
- Low Maintenance: As these floors are made mostly using very hard and strong materials, they do not require that much maintenance work. For example, marble tile floors do not require frequent repairs as they have a harder surface and can endure the pressure, scratches better in comparison to any other type of flooring. This makes them a suitable choice for the people who are looking forward to having a floor that requires very low maintenance.
- Less noise: The strength and hardness of this type of floor, combined with gluing or nailing, fixes the floor planks or tiles in their place. So, they cannot move and do not create any noise while you are walking over them. Solid hardwood floors still produce some noise, but the tile floors do not produce any noise at all. This is one of the benefits of having a non-floating floor in your home. So, if you are looking forward to having a silent floor, non-floating floors are a better choice.
- Stronger floor: Extremely hard materials such as porcelain, stone, and hardwood are used in the making of these floor planks or tiles. This makes them extremely hard, strong, and durable. This increased strength and durability further enhances the overall lifespan of the non-floating floors by a large margin. That is why this type of floor is considered permanent flooring. So, non-floating floors are a perfect choice for people looking for a strong and highly durable long-lasting floor for their house.
- Less denting: The extreme density of solid hardwood floors and tile floors of the non-floating floor types ensures less denting over the surface. Tile floors do not bend while you are walking as they are very rigid and have a very strong structural density that prevents any kind of dent. Even the solid hardwood floors show fewer dents as they are nailed into the subfloor, and there is no space for them to bend or create permanent dents.
- Can be refinished multiple times: Another benefit of the non-floating floors is that these can be refinished several times. If the surface of the floors changes color or gets scratched, and you want to sand the planks, you can do it multiple times. Not only the wooden floor but also the tile floors can be refinished as well. You can grind the surface of your floor to make it even smoother. That is why it is a perfect option for the people looking forward to having a permanent floor.
- More value to the property: Both tile floors and solid wood floors add more value to your property. Buyers look for houses that have permanent floors, or floors with the non-floating installation. This is because these floors are far better and also cost a lot. So, for the buyers, these properties with non-floating floors are more attractive. This helps the property owners to attract more buyers, and also to easily sell the property and make a profit over the investments.
Cons of Non-Floating Floors
Here are some of the cons of non-floating floors.
- Cost: These floors are perfect for every type of household, but their cost is a problem. These floors cost a lot more money as compared to any other type of flooring. Consider these a luxury flooring type that most people cannot afford to buy. Not only these are extremely expensive, but they also cost a lot of money in terms of installation, and maintenance costs. That is why these floors are not a perfect choice for a person looking forward to having affordable flooring.
- Hard to install: Another disadvantage of the non-floating floors is that these are not for the DIYers. These floors are very hard to install and require a lot of equipment, experience, and knowledge. That is why even with proper research you cannot install these floors properly. You have to hire a professional who can do this on your behalf. This further increases the cost of floor installation. Even if you try and install it on your own, there is a chance that you would break a lot of planks, or tiles. This would also increase the cost. The only option here is to call a professional floor installer to help you install this floor. So, if you are looking forward to having a DIY type of floor, then a non-floating floor is not for you.
- Hard to repair/replace: Apart from their installation, repairing this type of floor is also a big problem. Most non-floating floors are very hard to repair or replace. This is because they are nailed inside the subfloor, and to repair or replace them, mostly you will have to separate the plank from the subfloor. This requires a lot of work and expertise. That is why an ordinary person cannot repair or replace a plank without damaging the other planks. So, for repairing or replacing, you will also have to seek the help of a professional. This increases your cost of maintaining, repairing, and replacing the floor by a lot.
Popular Non-Floating Floor Options
Below are a few popular non-floating floor options.
- Solid Hardwood Floor: This is one of the most stylish, and most trending flooring types. The planks are cut from the tree trunks and shaped into floor planks. You have to nail them down with the subfloor to make sure that they stay in the place. These are very strong floors and can last for over 100 years.
- Ceramic Tile Floor: Ceramic tile floors are made from clay, minerals, and water. These are very hard and strong tiles and can be used in any part of the floor. These can survive for the long term and are not impacted by moisture or water. The only downside of these tiles is that they are very slippery and do not provide a warm feeling under the feet.
- Natural Stone Tile Floor: Natural stone tile floors are made by cutting and shaping natural stones into floor tiles. These are very strong, and hard as they are stone tiles. These are a perfect choice for a long-term flooring option. These required being glued to the subfloor. The only downside of these floors is that they are very expensive.
The floating floors are a perfect choice for you if you are looking forward to having a floor that is low-cost, easy-to-install, manage, repair, and replace. This is also a perfect choice for short-term flooring as well. This is because these floors are not very strong, and they only last for a few years. Some good-quality floors may last for a decade or two, but they do not last long. Also, they require more frequent maintenance.
Meanwhile, the non-floating floors are a better choice for people looking forward to having a strong, long-lasting, and durable life. This is because these floors are made from materials that are hard and have better structural rigidity. Apart from this, as they are nailed down or glued, they are more structurally protected as well. This enhanced protection and strength help these floors last even longer. But as you know that most of these floors are made from expensive materials, and they cannot be installed by yourself, they are very costly. Based on these pros and cons of each floor, you can select the one that suits your needs.