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A floating hardwood floor which is engineered typically has a top veneer layer. This veneer layer may range in thickness from 0.6mm to 4.5mm. Despite, these small measurements, this type layer is quite durable and can be expected to last for many years. Many hardwood floor installers offer warranties of 25 years on these types of floors which is a testament to the durability of a floating engineered hardwood floor.
Installing floating hardwood floors can actually be easier than installing other types of floors. This is because floating hardwood floors are not attached to the sub-floor. Therefore, the installer only has to concern himself with attaching one plank to the next. However, before beginning the installation process it is important to ensure the sub-floor is level. If the sub-floor is not level, self-leveling compound can be used to create a surface which will be adequate for the installation of the floating hardwood floor.
Once the sub-floor is clean and level, installation of the floating hardwood floors can begin. The installation process is usually very simple, but care should be taken to read the manufacturer's instructions for installation as they may vary from one manufacturer to the next. In most cases, the installation process will involve attaching the planks by using the tongue-in-groove system. Some systems will be glueless while others will require the use of glue to attach the planks. If glue is to be used, apply a bead of glue along the joint and snap the next plank into place. Excess glue can be removed with a cloth.
Caring for a floating hardwood flooring system is very similar to caring for other types of hardwood floors. Care should be taken to keep the floors free of dust and dirt by vacuuming or dry mopping on a regular basis. This is important because dust and dirt could cause scratching. Cleaning of the floors should be done only with cleaners specifically designed for the purpose of cleaning wood floors. It is also important to clean up spills immediately and to not allow water to stand on the floors for any length of time. This is important because spills and water can lead to staining and damage, such as warping.
If the floating hardwood flooring system is also an engineered flooring system which only has a thin veneer layer of hardwood, sanding may not be recommended. Sanding typically removes 1/32 of an inch so homeowners should not sand engineered hardwood floors unless they know the thickness of the veneer layer and are sure it is thick enough to withstand the standing process.
Floating hardwood floors are essentially hardwood floors which are not attached to the sub-floor during the installation process. With this type of flooring system, the floorboards are glued together or attached using the tongue in groove system above a layer of foam padding. The term "floating" comes from the fact that the floor is not attached to the layer beneath it. This type of installation is popular in multi-story residential buildings because the foam pad provides installation which muffles sound.
Refinishing a floating engineered hardwood floor may be possible depending on the thickness of the hardwood veneer layer. Sanding a hardwood floor typically removes 1/32 of an inch. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of the thickness of the veneer layer before attempting the refinishing process to ensure sanding will not remove too much, or even all of, the hardwood veneer layer. It may be possible to sand an engineered floor once or twice as long as the layer is thick enough to withstand this process. In many cases, it may make more sense to remove and replace a damaged veneer layer rather than attempting to refinish it.
A floating engineered hardwood floor is ideal over a radiant heat source. This is because this type of flooring system has greater stability. The increased stability results from the use of a layering system which makes the flooring resistant to warping, swelling, cupping and splitting by counteracting twisting. Therefore, installation of a floating engineered hardwood floor over a radiant heat source is preferred. This type of flooring is also preferred for installation in moist climates and when the installation takes place over concrete.
One of the major advantages of floating engineered wood flooring is greater stability. This increased stability comes from the number of different layers which are used to construct this type of flooring system. In addition to the layer of hardwood veneer which is glued to the to top core layer, an engineered wood floor usually consists of at least three layers. These layers may consist of hardwood, plywood or high density fiberboard.
Floating engineered flooring is an ideal option for moist or hot climates where the climate may cause problems for solid hardwood floors. An engineered hardwood floor consists of a core of hardwood or plywood with a hardwood veneer glued to the top layer. Through this type of design the flooring has greater stability in areas where moisture or heat would cause problems providing fewer maintenance needs for the flooring. Engineered flooring is also usually less expensive than flooring constructed of solid hardwood.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|