Floating floor

Ever wondered what a floating floor is? Well we have one.

Ours is wood (tongue and groove) with ply on top, all resting on top of polystyrene blocks which rest on/in concrete beams and thin air below that. Sadly that is building rubble, and not a secret tunnel to be used in case of zombie apocalypse.

Seriously, nothing is fixed down. The polystyrene flexes! The whole floor flexes. If you want tiles you are buggered - the tiles move and the grout cracks. In our kitchen the installer put a second layer of board on top to make it more solid, but still the tiles are moving enough to crack the grout.

However, for the utility room, we have looked under the wood - it was water damaged so we had to.

The solution - thick wooden frames resting in the beams on the lip, and insulation blocks in between.

This results in flooring that is actually screwed down to the wood frame and has little chance to flex or move. It is also around 25mm lower allowing some matting and tiling on top which will match the height of original floor it has to join in the hallway.

So far so good with these guys, B.W. REED & SON BUILDERS.

P.S. Why utility room - what happened to Man Cave? Well I had the boiler moved from the garage to the utility room, and as usual, that means doing the utility room first - floor, tiles, wall, unit, sink, cabinets, the lot. This is how things work isn't it :-) Man cave starts very soon!


  1. Floating floors are a really good idea -- I wish I had one. Why? Heating. The air makes for far better insulation than most other things than could be under the floor -- it never gets cold. My last house had wood directly on the concrete foundations: the whole floor radiated freezing air in the winter, and took hours to warm up.

    1. You can put insulation under a non-floating floor. My kitchen floor is concrete, with expanded polystyrene insulation on top, then a layer of screed, then tiles. The conservatory is just tiles straight onto concrete - you can really feel where the insulation ends when you walk through the kitchen with bare feet in the winter. Surprisingly, a not-especially-thick layer of screed seems to be solid enough to tile over - I've not had any problems with grout cracking.

  2. Laminate flooring is another kind of floating floor. You don't secure it down and you're supposed to leave a gap around the edge of the room to allow for heat expansion.

  3. On the plus side, running cables under a floating floor is a trivial job.

  4. My issue is: why do builders always leave so much crap and building rubble under the floor? It's taking up space that is meant to be air gap, so you're losing insulation. Whenever I do a job in a section of the house I haven't had apart before, the first job always ends up being removing all the crap the builders left behind.


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