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Can You Glue Down Floating Floors? Here’s What You Should Know

glue down floating floors

Floating floors are easy and cost-efficient options to give your floors a new look. A floating floor is not one type of floor covering — instead, it refers to a kind of installation that basically “floats.” It is extremely easy to install and requires no glue to hold it down.

But a common question we hear from the homeowner is if they can glue down floating floors.

In general, floating floors are not manufactured to be glued. Gluing them down can damage them if the material contracts and expands with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Therefore, the edge glue technique is preferred over a complete glue-down in case you must glue down your floating floors.

So, what are the possible reasons to glue down floating floors? How to glue down floating floors? Let’s find out.

What is a Floating Floor?

What is a Floating Floor

A floating floor refers to a type of installation in which the floor covering “floats” over the subfloor or underlayment. It uses a system similar to puzzle pieces where the material locks together to create a tight bond. This bond stabilizes the floor without any attachment to the subflooring or the underlayment.

The main advantage of a floating floor is its ease of installation — which also makes it an incredible choice for remodeling and renovations. The “click-lock” system makes it super easy to install and cuts down the installation costs if you DIY it.

There are three main types of floating floors –

What Happens If You Glue Down Floating Floors?

What Happens If You Glue Down Floating Floors

As mentioned before, floating floors are not intended for gluing down. They do not need to be attached to the subfloor or underlayment by any means, such as gluing or nailing down.

If you opt for a glue-down installation for floating floors, one of the first things that will happen is that it will most likely void any warranties from the manufacturer. You can glue down floating floors only if your subfloor is perfectly level. Additionally, it’s going to be challenging to replace any damaged planks. It also makes the installation reasonably permanent and impossible to remove the planks without damage.

When you completely glue down a floating floor to the subfloor, it removes the breathing room to allow the natural expansion and contraction of flooring materials. The expansion and contraction with humidity and temperature fluctuations on a fixed surface results in warping, peaking, and gaps between planks. It can also make your flooring squeaky.

How to allow space for expansion

You must make sure to leave some wiggle room to account for the shifting and expansion of floating floors. Start by placing a flooring spacer between the wall and the width of the starting panel. This also helps create a stronghold for the rest of the installation. Place the spacers on the long edges every six inches for the rest of the installation.

Reasons You Need to Glue Down Floating Floors

Reasons You Need to Glue Down Floating Floors

Gluing floating floors is unnecessary and mostly not recommended by manufacturers. However, some manufacturers account for the need to glue down their floating floor products.

If you are happy with your current installation, there is no reason for you to glue down your floating floor. Also, gluing down should not be your first choice for installation. In fact, it can do you more harm than good as these floors aren’t intended to be glued down.

Here are a few reasons you might need to glue down floating floors –

Your flooring is squeaky

If your current floating floor installation is squeaky and makes noise when stepped on, gluing it down can solve it. However, we recommend adding soundproof padding first and seeing if it solves the issue. If the squeaking persists, you can resort to attaching the flooring permanently to the subfloor.

Your floor moves

It is natural for the floating floor to move and shift with time as it floats over the subfloor. The movements are a big concern for many — especially for staircase flooring. So, you might consider gluing down the flooring to avoid the movement of the planks.

Your floor gets wet often

Luxury vinyl is an excellent choice for bathrooms. If you pick the click and lock installation, the planks will tend to move around. This movement can lead to gaps between the planks, and water might seep through the edges and damage the subfloor.

Probable subfloor damage from moisture and humidity is another possible reason to glue down floating floors in wet areas. However, keep in mind that you still need to account for shifting and expansion, or you will end up with gaps and splits due to high humidity.

Can You Glue Down Floating Laminate Floor?

It is not recommended that you glue down laminate flooring to the subfloor. However, since laminate is a popular choice for stairs, you might need to consider the possibilities of minimizing the movements of stair floors.

Can You Glue Down Floating Vinyl or Luxury Vinyl?

Vinyl and luxury vinyl flooring comes in two primary installation forms — floated or glued down. A glued application usually requires adhesive or has a built-in peel-away adhesive. Floating vinyl and luxury vinyl planks have a click-lock system that doesn’t require adhesive.

It is recommended to use glue-down applications if you want to permanently attach the planks to the subflooring rather than gluing down floating vinyl and luxury vinyl.

However, if your floating floors are not installed properly, you might need to consider gluing them down. Yet we still recommend against a complete glue down. If you must glue down your floating vinyl, glue the edges and the seams only.

Can You Glue Down Floating Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood comes in two primary installation forms — floated or glued down. The most popular method of installing is glue down since it is sturdier and can handle high foot traffic. However, many people also prefer floating engineered hardwood.

If you have chosen floating engineered hardwood for your home, we do not recommend thoroughly gluing it down to the subfloor. However, you can glue the tongue and groove seams of the planks.

How to Glue Down Floating Floors: The Edge Glue Technique

How to Glue Down Floating Floors: The Edge Glue Technique

Step 1: Assess the planks and subfloor

Before you even start the installation, make sure your subfloor is perfectly level and does not have any dents or holes. You also need to assess your floating floor to see if they are in healthy condition because if they get damaged after gluing down, you will have to pry them apart to replace them. So, make sure they are in sturdy condition for a stress-free installation.

Step 2: Determine the pattern and place the planks

In this step, you need to mark your starting point and determine the planks’ direction. Start along a wall with a large window or a mirror. Balance is key to creating a good layout. No room is perfect, so get ready to make compromises when creating a layout. After finalizing the layout, place the planks according to the plan. You also need to use floor spacers to allow for expansions and shifting.

Step 3: Apply the adhesive to the edge of the plank

Spread a light layer of adhesive along the board, and make sure you move the glue bottle quickly for an even application. When applying the glue, you can use a spring clamp to hold the board in an upright position. You only need to apply glue to one of the two subsequent planks.

Step 4: Press the glued boards together

Press the boards together that you applied the glued to. Slide the planks back and forth to ensure an even application. At this step, we also recommend that you inspect the glue joints to confirm a thin and even layer on each side of the board. After inspection, apply a small amount of glue before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Clamping

Clamp the two pieces of flooring together. If the glue is applied evenly, you should see an even beard of glue squeezed out across the entire surface of the board. Also, align the surface of the board to create a consistent application.

Step 6: Scrape off the excess glue

After about 20 minutes, the excess glue should be jelly-like. Scrape the excess glue off gently using a cloth.

Step 7: Even out the irregular surface

In this step, inspect the flooring carefully and check to see if there are any irregular surfaces. Straighten all uneven fittings and flatten all swelled-up surfaces before the glue completely dries. You can also use a roller to even out the flooring completely. And you are done!

Do you feel the need to glue down floating floors in your home? And if so, what are the reasons? Comment below and let us know!

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10 Responses

  1. Hello, I am considering installation of a vinyl floating floor in a church under the pews. The pews have to be secured at each end to prevent movement of the pews. The pews are about 14′ long. Do you see any problems with this type of application? My concern is expansion and contraction.

    1. As vinyl flooring is susceptible to expansion and contraction due to weather fluctuations, you are right to be concerned. However, since these expansions and contractions are only a fraction of an inch, it is possible to leave space on either side of the pews to allow movement in the vinyl.
      Hope that answers your question!

  2. I have laminate flooring right now for most and ceramic tiles in the kitchen. I would like to install LVP or LVT over them without removing old flooring. The ceramic tile grout is about quarter inch. Some toes are broken and have been glued back imperfectly. If we even out the tile and install underlayment, can we put lvp on top? What pretreatment should we ensure to lay over floating laminate flooring?
    The bathrooms will remain with their porcelain tiles.
    Thank you

    1. Yes, you can install LVP or LVT over ceramic tile without removing the old flooring. However, there are a few things you need to do to prepare the tile first.

      Make sure the tile is level. If there are any humps or dips, you will need to use a floor leveling compound to even them out.
      Fill in any cracks or gaps in the grout. This will help to create a smooth, even surface for the LVP or LVT to lay on.
      Install a moisture barrier underlayment. This will help to protect the LVP or LVT from moisture damage.
      Pretreat the tile with a primer. This will help the adhesive on the LVP or LVT to bond to the tile.
      Once you have prepared the tile, you can install the LVP or LVT according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Here are some pretreatments that you can ensure to lay over floating laminate flooring:

      Vacuum the floor. This will remove any dirt, dust, or debris that could interfere with the adhesion of the LVP or LVT.
      Sweep the floor. This will remove any loose particles that could also interfere with adhesion.
      Mop the floor with a damp mop. This will clean the floor and leave it slightly damp, which will help the adhesive to bond.
      It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific LVP or LVT that you are installing. These instructions will typically include information on the type of underlayment that is required, as well as the specific pretreatment that should be used.

      I hope this helps!

  3. I truly dislike the sound of walking across a floating floor. I’ll do without before going that route

  4. We glued down a floating floor (that had an attached pad) spent a fortune. We glued it down because of the expanse of space and wanted to avoid gaps. The problem is that there are random places that have a squishy sound. Is there any way to resolve this? Praying for a simple fix.

    1. The squishy sound in your glued-down floating floor is likely caused by one or more of the following:

      An uneven subfloor. This is the most common cause of squishy spots in floating floors. If the subfloor is not level, the floor will not be able to “float” properly and will sag in some areas.
      Improper installation of the underlayment. The underlayment is a layer of material that is placed between the subfloor and the floor. It helps to level the subfloor and provides a cushion for the floor. If the underlayment is not installed properly, it can cause the floor to sag or become squishy.
      Insufficient glue. If not enough glue is used to adhere the floor to the subfloor, the floor will not be able to hold its weight and will become squishy.
      There are a few things you can do to try to fix the squishy spots in your floor:

      Check the subfloor for unevenness. If the subfloor is uneven, you will need to level it before you can fix the floor. You can do this by using self-leveling compound or by adding plywood to the low spots.
      Check the installation of the underlayment. Make sure that the underlayment is properly installed and that there are no gaps between the underlayment and the subfloor.
      Add more glue. If you think that there is not enough glue holding the floor to the subfloor, you can add more glue. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the glue.
      If you have tried all of these things and the squishy spots are still there, you may need to have the floor professionally repaired.

      Here are some additional tips to help you avoid squishy spots in your floating floor in the future:

      Make sure that the subfloor is level before you start installing the floor.
      Use the correct amount of glue when installing the floor.
      Install the underlayment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
      Allow the floor to dry completely before walking on it.
      I hope this helps!

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