Nail down, staple down, glue down, and free-float are some of the different installation methods for wood flooring. When purchasing a wood floor, it is important to consider the installation method that would suit one’s needs best. In case of a plywood sub-floor, any of the installation methods can be chosen but if one has a concrete sub-floor, the nail or staple down method is certainly not recommended.
The nail down method is used primarily when installing a solid wood floor. Since solid wood floors are usually thicker, they need to be nailed in order to make sure they stay in place. Solid wood flooring has a tendency to expand and contract a bit more than engineered flooring. Therefore, glue down method is not to be used in case of a solid floor. The staple down installation method has become more popular since engineered wood flooring has grown in popularity. This installation method is mainly used for engineered plank or strip wood floors over a plywood or wood sub-floor.
The glue down installation method is most common when installing an engineered strip or plank wood floor over a concrete sub-floor. Done properly, glue down installation can be a very stable one. When installing wood floor using the glue down method, it must be ensured that the sub floor is even or made so prior to installation.
The free-float installation method has grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years. It has become known as one of the most stable installation methods available. The reason this installation method is so stable is because it is not attached to the sub-floor at all. The free-float installation method is most common with engineered long strip wood floors. With the free-float installation, the boards are glued together, not down to the sub floor. Therefore, when the floor expands and contracts, it does so as one big floor as opposed to individual units. Furthermore, since these boards are glued together, there are no gaps whatsoever between the boards.