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Question DetailsAsked on 5/27/2011

Engineered hardwood - to glue or to float?

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with engineered hardwood flooring. We are on a slab with no subfloor and are very confused as to which method of installation is best. The flooring can be glued down, which will not allow any moisture to penetrate but is labor intensive to repair any stains. Or the floor can be floated which does allow moisture to penetrate but is easily clicked out to replace any damage.

I'd be so grateful to anyone with any experience to tell me your thoughts.

Thanks so much!

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3 Answers


I don't know the answer to the question, but I do know this. We just had a Bamboo floor put down in our kitchen.

It was glued into place, and looked good upon completion. However, We noticed hundreds of glue "smudges" on the surface of the floor after we paid. (It is only noticeable in the mornings when the sun catches it at the right angle). It has taken us many many hours to scrup the glue from the floor with a special solvent and lots of elbow grease.

Be careful that the installers do not get glue over the surface of the wood.

Answered 9 years ago by fierooots


Hello Mylo,

On a slab you would probably be better off to float the hardwood over it. On a wooden subfloor it is usually better to glue or nail. The reason for both, as with most structural coverings, is simply movement.

On a wooden subfloor you are installing wood. This allows movement to be comparable in both materials (flooring and subfloor) since they both react to humidity, moisture and temperature similarly. In other words when the subfloor moves, expands, or contracts due to these factors the wood flooring installed above it will react almost identically. Attaching it to wood does not create any significant problems.

Concrete is a whole different animal. Not only will concrete move in different proportions as wood (it does, really [:)] ) the wood flooring can actually absorb moisture from the concrete. This leads to larger variations in movement of the two materials. That coupled with the fact that concrete moves - a lot, makes it a not so great idea to glue wood flooring directly to it. You can overcome this with the use of a "cleavage membrane". This is simply a material similar to roofing felt paper (but not) that acts as a moisture or vapor barrier between the concrete and wood.

This material must be utilized for gluing as well as floating a wooden floor over concrete. But, they are two different materials for each application. The membrane to be used for gluing must also be glued or attached to the concrete, then the wood is adhered to it. This essentially creates a barrier between the two which will allow proper movements for each. But it also doubles your work.

Answered 9 years ago by TileArt


Hi mylo, you might want to consult my contractor that specializes in hardwood flooring in Chicago. Apart from being sure they would know the answer to your question, you can also ask them about their environment friendly finishes which I just acquired for my floor.

Answered 9 years ago by PepperEvans

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