The term 'floating' does not describe the state of the floor after installation, but rather the method of installation. A floating wood floor is not secured to any type of subflooring but rather installed over a cushion that is placed over the existing floor. The planks of the wood floor are then attached to each other rather than to the existing subfloor; hence the term "floating." Unfortunately, no matter what type of method is used to install a wood floor, potential issues can arise over the years.
Type of Wood
According to the Hardwood Installer website, 99 per cent of all floating floors are made from engineered wood rather than a true, solid hardwood because real hardwoods expand and contract with the environment, which can cause buckling and other issues. Therefore, floating wood floors that are made from a real solid wood may have issues because there is little to no room for the wood to expand and contract with the moisture in the environment. Homeowners who opt to install a floating wood floor should use engineered wood because engineered wood does not expand and contract to the same extent that a traditional solid hardwood does.
Unusual, Hollow Feeling
This may or may not be an issue for all homeowners, but some people do complain of an usual hollow feeling beneath their feet when walking across a floating wood floor.
Noise After Installation
Floating wood floors that are installed using glue, or floating wood floors that were improperly installed, can result in a noisy floor that crackles or squeaks whenever it is walked on. However, this noise should go away as the floor settles into place over the first few weeks or months.
If a floating wood floor is installed over an uneven subflooring, the result is sometimes dips or soft spots in areas where the subflooring is uneven. Bumps in the subflooring can result in additional damage such as cracked planks or planks that pop out of the floating wood floor, especially if this is an area where people regularly walk.
Location in the Home
Wood floors of any type, even floating wood floors, can become damaged simply due to the room they are in. Wood flooring is highly receptive of moisture in the environment, so kitchens, bathrooms and even laundry rooms are all hazardous to wood floors because of the high moisture content. Moisture causes wood to swell, and repeated swelling and drying, especially in the aforementioned rooms, can drastically shorten the floor's lifespan.