A Guide to the Different Floor Installation MethodsWritten by: Yarl Christie
When it comes to floor installation, the installation method is an important parameter. The pre-installation procedure (and the time required for it) varies for each different installation method and the installation costs vary too. By identifying the flooring installation method, you can assess the time required for pre-installation as well as the installation cost, both of which are important considerations when it comes to choosing the type of installation.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular installation methods.
Nail Down or Staple Down
This method requires specialised tools such as floor nailers, staplers and air compressor. Depending on the thickness of the floor, you will need nails and staples of different gauges and lengths.
This method requires a thin underlay beneath the planks. This underlay is important as it serves as a moisture barrier for floors that are installed over crawl spaces. The underlay also gets rid of floor creaks and squeaks if they occur over time.
This method requires a wood subfloor that is clean, dry and stable.
Unless you have utmost expertise, it is best to leave this installation to professionals.
Glue Down Flooring
This is a completely adhesive-based installation method. While adhesives of different chemical compositions are available, it is crucial to choose the right adhesive for accurate installation. Owing to the use of adhesives, this method is messier too.
The type of subfloor plays an important role here. For example, if the subfloor is made of wood, then you won’t need a lot of adhesive. Concrete subfloors require more adhesive as there exists a possibility of the surface showing high moisture levels or highly reactive chemicals.
Precautions also need to be taken to ensure that planks are aligned straight in a row. An initial dry fit (the process where planks are fit into place without adhesives) is recommended to identify adjustments needed for a perfect installation.
Glue-Free Click Lock Floating Installation
This is a common installation method for floors that use a High Density Fibre Board as their core layer. This layer enables manufacturers to mill tongues and grooves on the sides of floor planks.
A click of the tongue in one plank with the respective groove in the adjacent plank locks the plank in place. This method does not necessitate adhesives or nails. Once installed, the floor achieves a seamless look.
Floors featuring this technology stay stable and firm because of an underlay beneath the floor as well as the weight of the floors themselves.
This installation adapts to any existing subfloor including vinyl, hardwood or tile. The only requirement is that the subfloor should be clean, dry, stable and strong.
This method demands less technical expertise and as such is popular among those who prefer DIY installation.
Glue-Based Floating Installation
This method uses specialised adhesives for installation. The mechanism is similar to click lock method with the only difference being the use of an adhesive to hold the planks in place. An applicator is used to rub the adhesive over a concentrated area on a plank’s tongue side. The plank is then glued to the groove side of the adjacent plank.
This method requires a little more expertise than the glue-free method. It requires the use of blue painters tape to eliminate gaps between planks. The tape has to be removed after installation. The method uses an underlay and needs a smooth and stable subfloor.
Once installed, the floor is left to dry for at least 12 hours before you can use it.