Floating Floor Problems

Tyler Lacoma

Floating floors are hardwood interlocking planks. These planks typically only fasten to each other and depend on integrity and strength to maintain the floor quality. Most floating floors are engineered are popular because of their low prices and simple installation.

Floating floors are designed to interlock.

They are subject to problems, depending on the sub-floor and climate.

Level Floors

Because floating floors are made of connected boards, not planks single installed, a level sub-floor is very important for the integrity of the flooring. If the sub-floor is not level, then the floating floor with develop dips and "soft" spots. This wears the wood out very quickly.


Some floating floors are thicker than the wood or carpet that was previously installed or thicker than adjacent floors. If homeowners are determined to chose a particular type of wood, they may be unable to find boards at a height that works for their houses. This causes problems with even surfaces: when the floating floor is installed, it may be higher than surrounding tile or carpet. This can be either a quality issue or even a tripping hazard.

Settling Glue

Floating floors can be either glued or interlocked together. If the floor is glued, the glue may tend to crack when the floor is first used. This is a settling process, and the bonds of the glue break or expand as they settle, growing accustomed to weight being put on the floating floor. The noise is also usually unavoidable and should stop after a few weeks of use.


Floating floors are susceptible to moisture problems, especially when homeowners install them in moist areas like kitchens and bathrooms, or over concrete. Moisture can warp the boards and damage them, so homeowners should lay mats and other protective materials in areas like bathrooms that will absorb water. Concrete should be dry and fully treated with a sealant before owners install floating floors in basements.

Acclimatization Problems

While floating floors do not have the same expansion and contraction problems that real hardwood floors do, they do dry out and shrink a little in dry climates and may slightly expand in wet climates. Expansion can create warping problems or uneven boards, and when contracting the boards can develop crack-like spaces from plank to plank. Owners can acclimatize boards to their environment before installation to solve this problem.