DIY Network

Installing a Floating Engineered Hardwood Floor

This DIY Basic will provide tips on installing a floating engineered hardwood floor.

More in Floors

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

floating engineered hardwood flooring
table saw
miter-chop saw
safety goggles
ear protection
measuring tape
PVA wood glue (low water)

Step 3: Let the Flooring Acclimate

Floating engineered hardwood floors click together and float above the sub-floor instead of being nailed or fully glued down.

Floating engineered hardwood can be installed over radiant heat, concrete, linoleum and hard-to-remove or repair surfaces. Always use moisture barriers over cement, ceramic tiles, kitchen vinyl and other non-porous surfaces.

Let flooring acclimate to installation space for at least 1 to 2 days at consistent room temperatures of 60–80 degrees F.

Step 4: Prep the Area

Securely nail or screw wood subflooring to joists to prevent movement and squeaks.

Replace damaged boards.

Plane or sand high spots level to within 3/16 inch in 10 feet.

Fill low spots with pieces of firm kitchen vinyl or layers of 30-pound black roofing paper.

Tip: DO NOT use cement patches to fill low spots; it adds moisture and breaks down over time.

Step 5: Install the Underlayment

Install underlayment. Denser underlayments perform best.

A floating floor must float freely; DO NOT anchor, bind or restrict its natural movement under cabinets or baseboards.

Tip: To keep down dust, 'Do what the pros do.' Set up a fan to blow dust away from you and the saws. This will keep you and the work area cleaner and safer. NEVER CUT FLOORING INSIDE THE HOME.

Step 6: Set the First Row of Flooring

Start installation parallel to longest wall and in left-hand corner. Install flooring left to right.

Set first board tongue side against wall, groove side facing out with spacers between flooring and wall.

Tip: Spacers are generally the thickness of the new flooring. Use a minimum of two spacers for every board, placed at seam joints. Tape can be used to temporally hold spacers in place. Remove when finished.

Set second board to right of first and fold it down, snapping ends together.

Complete first row, trimming last board to fit.

Step 7: Complete the Floor

Mix boards from several cartons for even color and shading. On second row, stagger end joints a minimum of 12 inches.

Tip: Board stagger is typically 3 times board width.

After three rows, make sure spacers are tight against walls.

Check floor for square and adjust if necessary. Complete entire floor. Save box of flooring for future repairs.

Tip: Narrow boards in last row should be glued to adjoining full row.