A Creaking Floating Floor

Written by kevin ann reinhart
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A Creaking Floating Floor
You must install floating floors correctly to avoid annoying creaking noises. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A floating floor is created using laminate or engineered wood sections that are designed with tongue and groove joints. The individual pieces are either joined with glue or clicked together without adhesive to form a unified panel that floats on the subfloor beneath. No nails or staples are required, making installation over substrates of concrete, gypcrete or other surfaces possible. Improper installation of a floating floor can result in annoying creaking noises. Environmental factors such as improper indoor humidity and temperature levels may also contribute to noisy flooring.

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Proper Substrate Preparation

Floating glueless, interlocking floors may squeak due to movement between the laminate or engineered wood pieces. The movement occurs when subfloors are out of level or the underlay deteriorates, making the material unable to properly the absorb the sound created by floor movement. Prepare cement subfloors with an application of self-levelling concrete and allow them to cure according to package directions before installing the floating floor. Placing wax or cushioning graphite powder between click-lock boards can also reduce unwanted noise.

Gluing Techniques

For products that require adhesive, proper glue application is essential. Invert each board and place a bead of glue along all sections of the groove, including sides and ends. Turn the piece over and allow the glue to migrate for complete coverage. Take care not to use too much glue in order to maintain a tight fit between the planks. This will reduce the possibility of noisy squeaking once the floating floor is in place. Be sure to follow product directions for proper expansion room around your floor's perimeter.

Underlayment Concerns

You can place 6 millimetre plastic sheeting under click-lock floors to act as a vapour barrier but you must seal moist concrete subfloors before glue-down floors are laid. Your local hardware or home improvement store will be able to recommend what concrete sealer may be appropriate for your floor. These products will help to reduce the adverse effects of high humidity levels in your home and on your floating floor. In winter, maintain your indoor temperature at 22.2 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity at 35 to 40 per cent for best results.

Solid Wood Floors

Solid wood floors should not be floated. Expansion and contraction in solid wood far exceeds that found in laminates or engineered wood products. As solid wood sits at a job site to be properly acclimated, tongue and groove joints may expand or contract unevenly, making proper connections between solid wood boards impossible. A 48-hour period of acclimation for laminates or engineered wood destined for application as a floating floor is, however, highly recommended to ensure a proper fit.

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