When it comes to wooden floor installation, there are basically three ways to install the floor
Glued down floors:
A glued down floor means that each strip or plank of the wooden flooring is glued to the sub floor using specialized wooden floor adhesives
Nailed down flooring:
Nailed down flooring means that each strip of wooden floor is nailed to the sub floor (normally the nailing will be done on the tongue of the wooden floor)
Floating Floor installation:
A floating floor installation means that the wooden floor strips are laid on the floor in a floating manner without anchoring any strip or wood on to the subfloor. Normally these kind of floors are laid on top of a thin foam sheet and will be locked to each other by just inserting the tongue of one strip to the groove of the other strip.
Nailed + Glued Installation:
I earlier said there are mainly three types of wooden floor installation. Now this is a hybrid system which is more popular in countries that use more tropical timbers. For example, in India. Under this method the wooden floor strips which has a tongue and groove along the length of the strip are glued and then also nailed to the subfloor. I will explain the advantage of this system in detail in the later part of this blog.
From my experience, I would say that a gluing down the wooden floor has many advantages over the other two systems namely the Nailing down or Floating installation
Advantages of gluing down your wooden floors:
Increases comfort, lowers noise
Wood works well as an amplifier of sound. The material vibrates and transmits the sound. This is why wood is used when making musical instruments. But what is a covet property when making musical instruments is the direct opposite for wooden floors. When a floor is laid floating, it functions as amplifier every time you walk on it, creating unnecessary much noise.
If the parquet on the other hand is fixed to a heavier foundation, then the sound will no longer be transmitted, and this is a strong argument to gluing down a floor. Tests has shown that a person with shoes on only produce half the noise level on a glued down floor compared to a floating!
Allows Creative Freedom
When you glue down a wooden floor, it opens up the possibility to various patterns, Borders, mixing of different species and sizes of timber. When you do a floating floor installation, your options are limited.
A glued down floor can also help you to have a perfect floor if you have an odd shaped room or corners. Further if you are having a wooden floor as an inlay with store or tile border, it is always better to have glued down floor since glued down floors can handle expansions much better.
Extends the lifetime of the wooden floors
In real world situations, it is very rare to get a perfect leveled subfloor (unless you are using self levelling compound – more on that in another blog). Some undulations on the subfloor is bound to be there. In case of a floating installation, these undulations will make the joints of the board take lot of stress when the flooring board flexes under the weight. This will result in the floor joints getting opened up
Also when it is time to renovate the wooden floor, it is much more easier to sand the wood floor when the floor is glued down. And also when it is glued down, the floor becomes even much faster and you sand out much less wood than when it is floating.
Glued down wooden floor tends to move less and so more suitable for high humidity areas
In high humidity areas, it is always better to glue down the floor since gluing down reduces the movement of the wooden floor when there is a change in the moisture level of wood due to change in humidity. Gluing down also helps in laying wooden floors over a large area without expansion joints in the center.
Now I have spoken about a hybrid method of installing the wooden floor which is Nail + Glue method. This is a method we found very useful in our own installations and we have been doing this for almost twenty years. Under this method, we glue the floor and also nail the floor. This will result in you getting the best of both worlds. The nailing will help you in taking care of the bowing and small crookedness of the individual flooring strip and the gluing will take care of all the sound factor and stability of the wood. Gluing plus nailed wooden floor will help you to install longer length flooring which is normally not possible in the case of a glued down floor.
Credits: Bona AB – Advantages of gluing down wooden floors
This post is meant to educate on wooden floors, wood floor selection, maintenance and other wood floor related questions specific to India. You can visit my company website Westwood Floorings to have more information on wooden floors.