The floors actually do float, expanding and contracting with weather and moisture content.
When installing it’s important to allow for this expansion by leaving a 10mm gap around the perimeter that’s usually covered by the skirting boards after the floor is laid.
The boards are sold in different sizes and usually supplied with a finished surface so there’s no need to sand or seal.
They can be installed over tiles, concrete, vinyl or timber.
Do it yourself
To install a floating floor DIY you’ll need to buy a floor laying installation kit, $25, underlay, $45, duct tape, $5, and the floorboards.
To lay 20sqm of flooring at about $30 per sqm will cost about $670.
TIP: If laying a floating floor over a new slab leave it for one month per 25mm thickness to ensure the concrete has completely cured.
Have it done by a carpenter at a cost of about $400 a day to lay the floorboards plus materials.
Floor companies offer a supply and lay price starting at about $70 a square metre for flooring, underlay and labour, so a 20sqm floor costs about $1400.
Types of floorboards
Laminate, engineered flooring and bamboo are the three main materials available for a floating floor, with laminate the most affordable.
Laminate consists of a base layer of moisture-resistant resins then a woodchip composite layer. The top is high-strength paper with a photograph of timber, ceramic or stone covered in melamine resin to help the surface resist damage.
Engineered flooring consists of a precoated natural timber 3 to 4mm thick glued to a cross-laminated plywood base. It’s strong and less likely to warp from moisture.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly choice made from stalks that have been processed and machined into strips, costing from $45 a square metre.