By: TFSP On: May 01, 2024 In: Article Comments: 0

Floating timber floors have become popular among homeowners as they add warmth, beauty, and value to homes. Unlike traditional hardwood floors, floating floors are not nailed or glued down to the subfloor. Instead, they are laid over a layer of underlay, which provides insulation and reduces noise, creating a stable and secure flooring option that “floats” above the surface.

If you also want to install floating timber floors in your home, you must have some basic knowledge of the installation process.

Being a specialist in timber floor installation Melbourne for years, we have created this guide to ensure you understand the basics and install the floors effectively.

What are Floating Timber Floors?

Floating timber floors are planks made from genuine hardwood or high-density fibreboard that are designed to click or fit together without the need for nails or glue. This innovative locking system allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature, making it an ideal choice for various climates and subfloor conditions.

Benefits of Installing Floating Timber Floors

There are numerous benefits to choosing floating timber floors for your home:

Ease of Installation: Their click-and-lock mechanism makes them easier and quicker to install compared to traditional hardwood floors.

Versatility: They can be installed over almost any type of subfloor and are suitable for use in many areas of the home.

Durability and Maintenance: Floating floors are durable and resistant to wear and tear. They are also easy to clean and maintain, making them a practical choice for busy households.

Comfort and Insulation: The underlay provides additional cushioning underfoot, making these floors comfortable to walk on. It also offers excellent insulation, helping to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Cost-Effective: While providing the appearance and feel of real wood, floating floors are often less expensive than their solid timber counterparts.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin the floating timber floor installation process, gather all the necessary tools and materials to ensure a smooth and successful installation process.

Essential Tools for Installation

To install your floating timber floors, you will need the following tools:

  • Measuring Tape: To measure the room and ensure you buy enough flooring.
  • Utility Knife: For cutting the underlay and trimming the planks if necessary.
  • Saw: A circular saw, jigsaw, or handsaw to cut the planks to fit around corners or obstacles.
  • Rubber Mallet: To gently tap the planks into place without damaging them.
  • Pull Bar and Tapping Block: These tools help to fit the planks snugly together without causing damage.
  • Spacers: To maintain an expansion gap around the edges of the room, preventing the floor from buckling.
  • Level: To check the subfloor is even before laying the floors.

Materials Required for Installation

In addition to the right tools, you will also need the following materials:

  • Floating Timber Floor Planks: Purchase 10% more than your room’s square footage to allow for cutting and waste.
  • Underlay: Choose a quality underlay suitable for floating floors to provide insulation and noise reduction.
  • Moisture Barrier: This is necessary if you are installing over concrete or in areas with high humidity to prevent dampness from affecting the flooring.
  • Finish Trim or Moulding: To give your floors a professional finish and cover the expansion gaps around the edges of the room.
  • Adhesive Tape: For securing the underlay and moisture barrier (if needed).

Preparing for Installation

Preparing for the installation of floating timber floors is a crucial step to ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish. This phase involves acclimating the timber to your home’s environment and preparing the subfloor for installation. Doing these steps correctly will help in avoiding issues like buckling or gaps in your flooring later on.

Acclimating the Timber

Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts with changes in humidity and temperature. For this reason, acclimating the timber planks to the environment of your home is essential. Start by storing the unopened packages of flooring in the room where they will be installed for at least 48-72 hours.

This period allows the timber to adjust to the room’s climate, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction post-installation. Ensure the room is in normal living conditions during this period, with stable temperature and humidity levels.

Preparing the Subfloor

A well-prepared subfloor is key to a successful floating timber floor installation. The subfloor must be clean, dry, level, and stable. Begin by sweeping or vacuuming to remove all dust and debris. If installing over a concrete subfloor, check for moisture issues; if moisture presence is detected, it may be necessary to apply a moisture barrier before proceeding.

Use a level to check for any uneven areas; for concrete subfloors, fill in any holes or cracks with a concrete filler and sand smooth. For wooden subfloors, secure any loose boards and sand down any protrusions. Achieving a flat surface helps prevent issues like creaking floors or uneven wear.

Installation Process


The installation process of floating timber floors can be managed by DIYers like you. Following the correct steps will result in a beautifully finished floor.

Laying the Underlay

Before laying the timber planks, an underlay must be installed over the subfloor. The underlay serves multiple purposes: it acts as a moisture barrier, provides sound insulation, and creates a smoother base for the flooring.

Roll out the underlay parallel to the direction you plan to lay the flooring planks. Trim it to fit the room, and tape any seams with moisture-resistant adhesive tape to prevent shifting during installation. Ensure that the underlay lays flat and smooth without any creases or wrinkles.

Clicking the Boards Together

Floating timber floors are designed with a click-and-lock system that makes the installation process relatively straightforward. Start laying the boards from one corner of the room, working row by row. Position the first plank with the tongue side facing the wall, leaving a gap of about 10mm for expansion. This can be maintained by using spacers between the wall and the planks.

To join the planks, insert the tongue of one plank into the groove of the next at an angle and lower it down to click it into place. Continue this process, ensuring the boards are snugly fitted together with no gaps.

Installation Tips for a Seamless Finish

To achieve a seamless finish, follow these installation tips:

  • Stagger the seams between planks in adjacent rows to enhance the floor’s appearance and stability. Ideally, the seams should be staggered by at least 30cm.
  • Use a tapping block and mallet gently to tighten the fit between planks without damaging the edges.
  • Measure and cut planks to fit when you reach the opposite wall or around obstacles such as pipes or pillars. Always leave an expansion gap around the perimeter.
  • Once the installation is complete, install the baseboards. Be sure not to nail the baseboards to the flooring itself but to the wall, allowing the floor room to expand and contract beneath.

Finishing Touches

Once you have successfully installed your floating timber floors, a few final steps are required to ensure the project looks polished and professional. These finishing touches include trimming edges and doorways, installing skirting boards, and performing cleaning and maintenance tasks.

Trimming Edges and Doorways

After laying down your floating timber floors, you may notice that the edges around door frames and room perimeters need to be trimmed for a snug fit. To do this effectively:

  • Measure the gap between the floor and the door frame or wall.
  • Use a saw – preferably a jamb saw for doorways – to cut the timber neatly, following your measurements.
  • Be patient and take care not to damage the timber or the surrounding areas.

Installing Skirting Boards

Skirting boards, also known as baseboards, are not only decorative but also serve to cover the expansion gap required for floating floors:

  • Choose skirting boards that complement both your floors and your room’s aesthetics.
  • Measure the length of each wall accurately.
  • Cut your skirting boards to the necessary length, making mitre cuts at the corners.
  • Fix the boards to the walls using an appropriate adhesive, nails, or screws. It’s important to attach skirting boards to the walls, not the floors, to allow the floor to expand and contract beneath.

Cleaning and Maintaining Floating Timber Floors

To keep your new floors looking their best:

  • Regularly sweep or vacuum to remove dirt and grit.
  • Use a slightly damp mop for cleaning, avoiding excessive moisture that could seep into and damage the timber.
  • Immediately clean up spills to prevent water damage.
  • Place protective pads under furniture to prevent scratches.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with careful planning and execution, you may encounter some common issues with floating timber floors. Understanding how to address these can save time and frustration.

Uneven Subfloors

Uneven subfloors are a common challenge that can affect the outcome of your floating floor installation. Here’s how to resolve this issue:

  • Identify high or low spots in the subfloor using a level or straightedge.
  • For high spots, sand down the area until it is even with the rest of the floor.
  • For low spots, use a self-levelling compound to fill and create a flat surface.

Damaged Boards

Accidents happen, and floating timber floors are not immune to damage. Here’s how to repair or replace a damaged board:

  • If the damage is minor, such as a scratch, using a repair kit specific to your floor type can often mask the blemish.
  • For more significant damage, it may be necessary to replace the entire board. Carefully remove the skirting boards and then disassemble the flooring up to the damaged board. Replace the board, and then reassemble and reattach the skirting boards.


Installing floating timber floors not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space but also adds value to your home. By following a detailed installation guide and preparing adequately, you can ensure a smooth and successful installation process.

Whether you’re renovating a room or updating your entire home, floating timber floors offer a versatile and stylish flooring solution that is sure to impress.

Always allow your new floors some time to acclimate to your home’s environment before installation, ensure your subfloor is clean, level, and dry, and choose the right underlayment to enhance the performance of your floating timber floors.

If you need expert guidance from a specialist in timber floor installation Melbourne, you can rely on Total Floor Sanding And Polishing. We boast years of experience in installing and refinishing timber floors. Get in touch today and let us make your dream floors a reality!