What is a Floating Hardwood Floor?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Hardwood flooring.
Hardwood flooring.

Floating hardwood floors are a type of flooring that is not attached to any type of subfloor structure. Instead, there is a layer of padding that separates the floating hardwood floor from the subfloor. The presence of this padding provides a higher degree of give to the floor, which in turn provides a sense of floating when walking across the hardwood.

A house with floating hardwood flooring.
A house with floating hardwood flooring.

Originally, the floating hardwood floor was available only in what is known as a glue together design. That is, the sections of the flooring were laid on the padding and connected with the use of a strong wood glue. The glue provided a degree of strength and cohesiveness to the unsecured floor without diminishing the sense of a softer walking surface.

For many years, a floating hardwood floor was available only in a "glue together" configuration.
For many years, a floating hardwood floor was available only in a "glue together" configuration.

Today, there are other configurations for unsecured floors including hardwood floors. One popular type is known as the click together hardwood floor. With this option, the sections of the flooring are manufactured with a tongue and groove design that allows one section to easily join to one another. When properly aligned, the sections produce an audible clicking sound. The unique properties of the tongue and groove design help to give this version of the floating hardwood floor stability while still managing to provide the feeling of floating while walking through the room.

One recent innovation in a floating hardwood floor is known as the lock and fold approach. Unlike tongue and groove examples, this type of floating hardwood floor relies on the use of a design that allows the ends of the boards to be laid in an over and under pattern that joins together to form a smooth surface. The design is not unlike the closing mechanism on a zipper style plastic storage bag. The boards or sections of the flooring are placed on the padding, alternating sections with over and under connecting components. This essentially creates a situation where the fit is achieved by folding over the ends of the pieces until they slide snap into place. With the lock and fold approach, there is no need to tap the sections into place, as is often the case with tongue and groove designs.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

anon22527

That would make a great wiseGEEK article. Please consider submitting your question via the "Suggest a Topic" selection in the wiseGEEK features drag-down menu.

anon22325

What are the pros and cons of the lock and click versus the tongue and groove planks?

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    • Hardwood flooring.
      Hardwood flooring.
    • A house with floating hardwood flooring.
      A house with floating hardwood flooring.
    • For many years, a floating hardwood floor was available only in a "glue together" configuration.
      For many years, a floating hardwood floor was available only in a "glue together" configuration.