Loose Lay Floors Explained

Loose Lay Floors Explained

This entry was posted on November 19, 2018 by Chris Elliott

A loose lay floor is an explanation of how your wooden floor has been or is going to be fitted.  You may also hear the term ‘floating floor’.  They both mean the exactly the same, just different terminology.  There are two different ways to install your hardwood floor. 

Firstly, you can fix the floor directly to the subfloor with nails or glue.  Alternatively, you may want to loose lay the wooden floor over an underlay.  


What is a loose lay floor?

A loose lay floor is the term used to show how it is going to be fitted.  It has nothing to do with the type or style of floor itself.  To loose lay a floor, means that you would lay it loosely, or float it over an underlay.  The planks of flooring are fitted together, either by clicking or gluing, but the floor is not fixed to the underlay.  This method of installing hardwood floors is very popular due to its ease and quickness.  

What underlay should I use for my wooden floor


Can any hardwood floor be loose lay?

No, you can only loose lay an engineered hardwood floor.  Engineered wood flooring has been designed to be more stable so can withstand the pressure associated with a loose laid floor. This is due to the multiple base layers underneath the hardwood surface. A solid wood floor needs to be fixed into position, using either glue or secret nails or screws.  


How do I loose lay a floor?

First of all, you need to think about the type of underlay that you want to use.  There are many different types of underlay available, depending upon your requirements. If you have underfloor heating, then you will need a low tog underlay which allows a sufficient transfer of heat.  Alternatively, you may want a thermal barrier or a sound reducing underlay. Once you have chosen your underlay, you will need to make sure that your subfloor is properly prepared.  Have a look at the following article: Subfloor Preparation.

After your subfloor has been fully checked and prepared you can start to roll out your underlay.  You will need to cut it to the correct size of your room.  To loose lay the flooring, you simply click or glue your planks together over the underlay.  Click fitting engineered hardwood flooring will just click and lock together.  For tongue and groove engineered flooring, you should use a WPVA glue to fix the tongues and grooves together. It is essential that you leave an expansion gap around the edge of your room.  It allows for the natural movement of your wooden floor.  The gap can later be covered over with beading or skirting boards.

For more detailed advice about fitting a loose lay floor, either contact us, or have a look at our Installation and Fitting Guide.