Problems with Floating Hardwood Floors

Updated February 21, 2017

Floating floors are installed on top of a subfloor or an existing hardwood or laminate floor. The pieces are not nailed down into the subfloor; they interlock with a tongue and groove system that keeps the pieces secure without fastening them down. The final piece next to the wall is inserted by removing the lower moulding along the perimeter of the floor and fitting the piece of flooring into the gap between the floor and the bottom of the woodwork. Most floating floors are made of laminate, but some are made of hardwood. They are often used in basement renovations.

Mold and Mildew

Moisture can get in between the layers and cause the wood to rot or mould to grow. This is not usually a problem in rooms other than the kitchen. To guard against this in kitchens with floating floors, put rugs down in front of the sink, dishwasher and refrigerator, especially one containing an ice maker. Keep an eye on the areas and remove the rugs to allow the floor to completely dry out if a large spill occurs.


Caused most often by high moisture or water damage, warping or buckling causes the individual boards to curve up or down rather than lying flat. This can be the result of frequent spills, mopping with a wet mop or even excessive humidity in the air. Another cause of warping or buckling is an inadequate or improperly installed moisture barrier over the subfloor, which allows moisture to travel from it into the floating floorboards.


Peaking occurs when the floorboards push against each other excessively, causing high points at their junctures. The most common reason for this is inadequate space between the floor and the perimeter walls or between the floorboards and the moulding trim. To fix this problem, remove the moulding perpendicular to the peaking board and trim it and/or the floorboard to fit.

Squishy, Noisy Areas

A soft, squishy feel when walking on the floor accompanied by excessive noise usually indicates the presence of high or low areas of the subfloor. In this case, the floating hardwood was installed without the addition of sufficient base glue to stabilise this difference in height.

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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.