Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Is It Better To Glue Or Float Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring is the fastest growing product in both the residential and commercial floor covering industry. Retail floor-covering stores are filled with rows and rows of vinyl plank products. These products come with both a glue-down and floating installation method. The best installation method depends on the type of project, as well as the area of the home or office.
Is It Better To Glue Or Float Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Vinyl Plank Flooring Click Together Or Glue Down Installation - Which One Is Better?
Vinyl plank flooring is by far the fastest growing residential and commercial product in the floor covering world. If you go into any retail floor covering store, you will see rows and rows of vinyl plank tile and plank displays. Each manufacturer has different styles, sizes, and colors of products. Each manufacturer has its own version of good, better, and best products.
One of the selling tools that manufacturing companies use, is to come up with fancy names that talk about their "special" installation system. As a customer, you have no idea what installation system is good, or which one is bad. With each company talking about how their product is the best thing since the invention of flooring, as a customer, it really is impossible to understand what you are looking at.
The majority of vinyl plank flooring is either installed with a click-together installation system or with a glue-down installation system. As a customer, trying to decide which installation method is the best, is one of the main decisions that you will have to make. Since all of these companies use different marketing languages to promote how great their products are, trying to make a buying decision can be rather difficult.
We have some really good articles in our "Be Floored Blog," that talk about all of the benefits of vinyl tile & plank, and why this product has become so popular. We also do quite a few vinyl plank product reviews. For more information, we would encourage you to check out these articles.
However, In this article, we will be strictly focusing on vinyl plank installation methods. We will be taking the perspective of the homeowner, not the installer. This is not a "how to" installation article. Rather, this is an article that will hopefully answer questions that most homeowners face when buying floor covering. It is our intent to talk about each type of installation method, the pros, and cons of each method, and offer you some insightful information, to help make your buying decision a little bit easier.
Vinyl Plank Flooring - Floating Installation
What exactly does "floating installation" mean? Basically, when companies refer to a "floating floor" they are describing a product that has a locking system on the edge, that clicks or snaps together with the next piece, without using any sort of adhesive product. There are different proprietary click-together installation systems in the marketplace, each one claiming to be the best. For this article, all you need to know is what we mean by "floating floor."
Floating installation systems have several pros and cons. Let's first take a look at some of the items that buyers love about a floating vinyl plank floor:
Products can be installed as DIY projects
Many homeowners are looking to save money. Not having to pay a store for professional installation can help drastically reduce a floor covering price tag. With a floating vinyl plank floor, many homeowners take on the challenge of doing the installation on their own. Customers can read product installation manuals or watch a few YouTube videos, and can quickly gain enough knowledge to tackle small home projects.
Vinyl plank can be installed over existing floors
Another huge cost-saving benefit of a vinyl plank floating floor is the ability to install this product over an existing floor. Not having to tear up an existing floor can save homeowners a lot of time and money. Under the right conditions, vinyl plank could be installed over tile, linoleum, and even hardwood flooring.
No adhesive odors
Many customers have allergies or issues with adhesives, and simply do not want these types of products in their homes. With a floating floor, no adhesives are required, and customers can enjoy a toxic-free home environment.
Excellent product warranties
Gone are the days of the cheap cash-and-carry hard surface products that have all sorts of warranty issues. Today's vinyl plank flooring is waterproof, very durable, and easy to clean. Product warranties are provided for the floating installation, which is one of the main reasons this type of product has become so popular.
Of course, with all products, there are always concerns and issues. As a buyer, it is also important to not only look at the pros of a product, but also the cons of a product.
If installed incorrectly, a floating floor could come apart or buckle.
For those DIY homeowners, if an installation is done poorly, it could end up costing you more to fix the problem, as opposed to spending the money upfront to have it professionally installed. It is very common for vinyl plank to come apart, or if installed incorrectly, to buckle. For example, floors will move throughout the year, depending on the humidity and temperature. If an installation does not leave enough expansion space around the perimeter of the room, the floor will not have enough space to expand and contract, and it could potentially buckle.
A floating floor is hard to repair
A floating floor can be very difficult to repair. Unlike a glue-down product, you can't just pop up one piece of material that has a scratch on it. With floating floors, if you need to replace one board, you might have to take up 50 boards, just to get to that one piece. All of the boards connect, so it makes a repair quite difficult.
Not the best for high-traffic areas
While a floating installation system is usually just fine in most homes, in commercial environments that get a ton of foot traffic (or cart traffic), a floating floor is not the best idea. The constant movement on the floor could damage the locking mechanism and cause the floor to come apart.
Vinyl Plank Flooring - Glue Down Installation
In very high-traffic areas, a glue-down vinyl plank glue-down is going to offer a more durable floor. Glue down products are simply more stable, and harder to move. This is why glue-down installations are recommended in commercial environments, as well as in very heavy traffic spots in a home, such as on stairs.
Easier to repair
If you have a scratch on a vinyl plank glue-down board, you can heat it up, and in most situations, pop it up and glue it down a new board. Unlike a floating installation system, It becomes a rather simple repair.
No need for as many transition pieces
With a floating installation, many manufacturers have a maximum square foot area that can be installed, before you will be required to put in a transition piece, to help with floor stability. For example, if you have a large open area basement, you might have to put in an ugly-looking reducer to break up the room. However, with a glue-down product, that sort of transition piece is not necessary.
Harder to install
With a glue-down installation, it drastically reduces the DIY customer. In most situations, customers will rely on professionals to perform the installation. Spreading adhesive on the floor can scare away many want-to-be installers, and is quite frankly a more difficult installation.
Sub-floor might be required
Depending on the situation, in many cases, a wood subfloor will be required before you can glue down a vinyl plank product. This creates added material and installation costs.
Not as easy to install over existing flooring
while it is possible to glue down vinyl plank over existing flooring, it is not as easy. In these instances, it usually requires a professional installer to do the installation.
Conclusion - Is It Better To Glue Or Float Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Without question, the floating vinyl plank floor installation system is the most popular in residential environments. Customers love the DIY benefits, as well as the flexibility to install the product over existing floors. Customers also like the idea of not using adhesives in their homes.
Having said that, glue-down vinyl plank products are also very popular and serve as a great product for many homes. Glue-down products are more durable, and can last longer.
when trying to pick out a vinyl plank floor, we always recommend discussing your project with a local floor covering professional. Most stores will offer a free home inspection and measurement. This can be a great way for homeowners to get some free professional advice.
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