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Here we explore the different installation methods for wood flooring, and also the different joining methods.

Written by: Yarl Christie

Published on: October 27, 2023

Wood Flooring Installation Methods Explained

Wood flooring is a timeless and elegant choice for homeowners. Whether you opt for the warmth of solid wood or the versatility of engineered wood, the installation method you choose can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your space.

Photo of installing floating wood flooring

In this blog post, we will explore the various installation methods for wood flooring, focusing on glue-down, floating, and nail or staple-down methods for both engineered and solid wood flooring. Additionally, we will delve into the joining methods, including tongue and groove and click systems, which play a crucial role in wood floor installation.

Part 1: Installation Methods for Wood Flooring

1. Glue Down Installation

Glue Down Engineered Wood Flooring: Glue-down installation is a popular choice for engineered wood flooring. It involves applying adhesive directly to the subfloor and then placing the engineered wood planks on top. This method creates a secure and stable bond between the flooring and the subfloor, minimising movement and reducing the chances of creaking or squeaking.

Photo of glue-down installation wood flooring

Glue Down Solid Wood Flooring: While it is less common, solid wood flooring can also be installed using the glue-down method. However, it is crucial to ensure that the subfloor is completely level and dry to prevent any warping or cupping of the wood. We have more information on how to prepare your subfloor here.

2. Floating Installation

Floating Engineered Wood Flooring: Floating installation is a versatile option for engineered wood flooring. It doesn't require any adhesive or fasteners; instead, the planks are connected to each other via a click or tongue and groove system (which we will discuss later) and laid on top of an underlayment (which is optional). This method is popular because it allows for easier DIY installation and is typically more forgiving of minor subfloor imperfections.

Photo of floating wood flooring

Floating Solid Wood Flooring: Solid wood is not typically installed using the floating method due to its susceptibility to expansion and contraction with changes in humidity. It is best suited for stable environments with controlled moisture levels.

3. Nail or Staple Down Installation

Nail or Staple Down Engineered Wood Flooring: This method is primarily used for thicker engineered wood flooring with a wear layer substantial enough to withstand the installation process. Nails or staples are driven through the tongue or groove of each plank and into the subfloor, providing a secure and robust attachment. It's essential to follow manufacturer guidelines to avoid damaging the wear layer.

Photo of nail-down installation wood flooring

Nail or Staple Down Solid Wood Flooring: Nail or staple-down installation is a traditional choice for solid wood flooring. The thicker planks are more suitable for this method, as they can withstand the stress of fasteners. Proper spacing and fastener placement are critical to preventing the warping or splitting of the solid wood.

Part 2: Joining Methods

1. Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove is a joining method commonly used in wood flooring installation. It involves a groove on one side of the plank and a protruding tongue on the other. When connecting planks, the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the adjacent piece, creating a secure and seamless connection. This method is ideal for both engineered and solid wood flooring and is commonly used in glue-down, nail-down, and floating installations.

2. Click System

The click system, often referred to as a "click-lock" system, is designed for easy, DIY-friendly installations, particularly in floating installations with engineered wood. Planks feature specially designed joints that audibly click together, ensuring a tight and secure fit. This method requires no adhesives or fasteners, making it a popular choice for homeowners who want a hassle-free installation process.


The choice of wood flooring installation method depends on various factors, including the type of wood, the subfloor, and your DIY capabilities. Glue-down, floating, and nail or staple-down methods cater to different needs and situations, ensuring you can find the perfect fit for your project. Additionally, the joining methods of tongue and groove and click systems play a pivotal role in creating a durable and visually pleasing wood floor.

Photo of tongue and groove installation wood flooring

Before you embark on your wood flooring project, carefully consider your options and consult with professionals or manufacturers to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation.

You can find out more about engineered wood flooring here.

You can also read more about solid wood flooring here.

About The Author

Yarl Christie

Yarl is the Managing Director of Stories Flooring. started his career in the flooring industry by becoming a floor fitter at the age of 18 (2004). Yarl finally decided to move with the times and set up an online flooring store (Flooring Yorkshire, 2018). He works closely with the business managers and resource team to source new products from wholesalers, which in turn brings down the sale price. This enables Stories Flooring to be one of the leading UK flooring retailers.