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How to install a floating floor engineered timber floor?

What is a floating floor?

A floating floor is a type of flooring installation method where the individual planks are not directly attached to the subfloor. Instead, they are installed over an underlayment or foam pad, allowing the flooring to "float" over the subfloor. This method is commonly used for engineered wood, laminate, and hybrid flooring. At Imperial Flooring Australia, we offer a wide range of floating floor options, providing easy installation, versatility, and durability for our customers. Our floating floors are designed to withstand moisture, temperature changes, and heavy foot traffic, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial spaces.

3 x Types of Floating Floor Installation Methods:

  1. Laminate Flooring – These synthetic planks are made of a high density wooden fibreboard. Laminate floors are both affordable and very durable, which makes them common across homes and commercial settings. Underlay is required to be installed prior.

  2. Hybrid Flooring – Constructed from a plastic and stone or wood composite, these planks offer 100% waterproofing alongside a robust surface. Most come with a pre-attached underlayment.

  3. Engineered Flooring (<15mm Thick) – Engineered timber offers a veneer of real timber on the surface which is fused to a plywood or waterproof composite core. This allows you to get the beauty of natural timber with an easy installation system. Underlay is required to be installed prior.

Installation of T+G Floating Engineered Floors
Installation of T+G Floating Engineered Floors

How to install a floating floor engineered timber floor? install guide.

The subfloor shall be clean and free from dust before commencing the installation (Use a broom or vacuum). The subfloor should not be washed or exposed to water prior to installation, always ensuring that the floor is fully dry prior to installation. The subfloor must be flat and free of any humps & deviations. For ground level concrete slabs, an application of Moisture Barrier will be required to be painted on the subfloor or a suitable floating floor underlay with a vapour or moisture film barrier. Next spread out the underlay over the moisture barrier or an appropriate and approved combination product that has a moisture or vapour film. Always begin the installation with the groove side of the board facing the wall. This is in order to avoid tapping the groove side of the board, .as tapping is always at the tongue side.

​Trim door frames by turning a panel upside down as a height measurement and using a multi-tool cutter or jamb saw to cut away the necessary height so that panels can slide easily underneath for a clean finish.

Allow for an expansion gap of approximately 10mm or greater between the first row of boards and the wall by using spacing wedges regularly along the length of the wall. Commence laying the flooring at the corner of the starting wall with the tongue of the first row of boards facing away from the wall. Start the next row with the piece left from the previous row or a board with a length which is at least 450 mm shorter or longer than the first board in the first row. The end joints of adjoining boards should be staggered by at least 450mm.

Glue the boards along all joins including end joins. Use only a cross-linked PVA wood adhesive. Never use regular wood glue as this will avoid normal expansion and contraction and will lead to cracks and other defects. When using a floating installation method the floor can not be spot glued as it will restrict the floor to move as a raft. Spot gluing does not allow the floor to move evenly as one surface and may cause board peaking.

Apply the glue to the top inside edge of the groove of the board (including the groove at the head joint) in a continuous line. Never apply the adhesive in a broken line as this will cause your floor to squeak and will lead to a deficient performance of your floor and avoid normal protection against moisture penetration via the joints. Any excess adhesive should be immediately wiped off with a clean damp cloth or bostik handy wipes. Wipe dry with a dry cloth to avoid smearing.

The first board of the next row is pressed into position and tapped into the other board using a rubber mallet and a tapping block. Never strike the board directly with the mallet. This will increase the risk of damaging the board. If you notice that the boards do not fit together entirely (open gap between boards), check whether the correct amount of glue has been used. Excess glue will prevent your boards from closing due to a vacuum effect.

Often the last row will be less than the width of the boards which will require cutting along the length of the board. Take the expansion gap into account when installing the last row of boards and thus cut the timber to the width of the gap of the last row minus the expansion gap of 10mm or greater. See above for exact width of the expansion joint, and do not include the tongue in this width. Apply the adhesive in the groove and put the boards into place with the spacing bar and wedges using a protective piece between wall and tool, and between spacing bar and boards. Place the timber as low on the wall as possible and with the spacing bar force the board into position. Do this as many times as necessary to close the gap. Remove all spacing wedges once all boards are glued and fitted and the glue is sufficiently dry (see advice on glue bottle).


If the engineered board purchased has a clip lock system, NO PVA Glue is required

The above guide is for Tongue & Groove profile system installation.


Once all the laying procedures have been completed for a how to install a floating floor engineered timber floor and the glue is sufficiently dry (see information on adhesive bottle), all spacing wedges should be removed. Any visible joints or gaps along the boards or at the ends where two boards meet should be filled with a filler to match the colour of the timber or a cork strip/ compound. Always test the filler on a leftover piece of plank to check for reaction (if any). Skirting-boards or scotia may now be installed by nailing, screwing or gluing directly to the perimeter walls or existing skirting. Never fix directly to the installed floor.


Once floors are laid on building sites, we recommend installing Floor Protection matting.

View our webstore for our recommended floor protection products - THOR Floor Protection


Floating floors are a popular choice for residential and commercial spaces due to their durability, low maintenance, and cost-effectiveness. Whether you're looking for a natural wood look, water-resistant flooring, or quick and easy installation, our collection of floating floors has something to suit every style and budget.


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