Floating an engineered hardwood floor is a manner of flooring installation that many opt for. Boards are glued or snapped together at the sides and installed over a layer of underlayment. Underlayments come in a variety of different styles, with higher quality underlayment eliminating more of the acoustical by-products of a floating floor. This is one of the most noticeable down-sides of a floated engineered floor: there can be a somewhat “hollow” sound when it is walked on, a result of the space between the floor and the subfloor created by the underlayment. Nailed or glued down flooring can feel more “solid” underfoot as a result of each board being secured individually and vertically to the sub-floor itself. Also, engineered hardwood flooring that is floated can create “cracking” noises soon after it is installed, which is the result of the glue settling and acclimating to foot traffic.
A floating engineered floor is also unforgiving when it comes to certain installation oversights. If there is a low area in a sub floor that isn’t leveled or corrected, this will create a spot where your foot will sink, as the floor is horizontally suspended over the indentation. With a nail or glue down floor, this imperfection would more likely not go undetected, as the nails and glue must reach the subfloor, which would indicate to the installer that something was amiss.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring, these are some important considerations derived from experience and the experiences of others that I think will help you to make the best decision as to which installation method best suits your needs.