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Floating Floors – Solid – Really?

Much has changed since Harris Tarkett tried to woo dealers back in the early 80′s with their floating floor systems. Actually the idea had been used in Europe prior with engineered flooring. Story has it from a seminar I attended, the feedback was laughable.

“A floating floor? Come on, what planet are you from?” It really started with hardwood but since has gone into laminate flooring, carpeting, and even ceramic tiles. Now we’re getting vibes from a European manufacturer who claims solid hardwood floors can be floated with their membrane that is basically a peel-stick type format. Not Floating Floornecessarily a peel and stick, but it goes like this:

The membrane is loose laid perpendicular to the direction of the actual hardwood installation. Once in place and solid hardwood boards are installed on top (shown right), a portion of the material is peeled away allowing a sticky surface to attach to the hardwood. The company name is Elastilon. Whether or not it will take hold here in the states is another story. Installers are always open to new ideas, but making them change is another story.

Concerns are typically that the hardwood better be awfully darned straight, because gone is the benefit of an ordinary flooring nailer that persuades slightly crooked boards into place by the sheer force of the pneumatic tool being used. Throw in the fasteners that keep it in check and twisted or bowed boards will not move. With this membrane system there is no method to straighten out boards. This leaves limited product selection as many manufacturers do not produce straight products, specifically with solid hardwoods.

Scanning our sources, the only known company that promotes Elastilon is Lumber Liquidators. Our opinion is “there’s more trouble that may be heading their way.” Other companies over the years have marketed floating solid floors. One in particular, Junckers, a European based manufacturer has had success with a clip type system. The method works with metal clips that are attached on the underside of the boards during installation.

If you have thoughts of using solid hardwoods for a floating floor, we suggest thinking again. Today there are numerous engineered hardwoods in different styles and appearances. Engineered flooring reduces the expansion and contraction (it’s most attractive advantage) properties common with solid hardwoods. Most viewers probably reach this article looking to see if they can actually install a solid floating floor. Often they’re looking to handle it themselves which inevitably leads to failure.