Most problems and issues with floating wood floors are a result of one particular glitch-an uneven subfloor. Although many people assume level subfloors are required under floating wood floors, the reality is a little more complicated. Having a flat subfloor ensures your floating engineered hardwood flooring fits well.
The Difference Between Level and Flat
A level floor may be important in a billiard hall, but you can actually install floating floors onto an unlevel subfloor without a problem (besides having a hard time playing pool in that room). It’s when the floors are uneven that the real issues arise.
Flat and level may seem like the same thing, but a flat floor can be out of level (to a certain degree) and still help to create a base for comfortable, quiet wood floors.
The easiest way to check the flatness of your subfloor is by using a straight 2×4, about 10 feet long. Lay it on the floor and have a look at the edge of the subfloor. This long stretch of wood should uncover any uneven spots, including dips, hills, and gullies. These conditions will create squeaks, groans and bouncy spots.
Typical Problems With Your Floating Wood Floors
Correcting the Uneven Subfloor
Most experts would agree that the maximum tolerance on a subfloor is 3/16” over a ten-foot span. Any dips and mounds that surpass that amount need to be corrected
The method of correction depends on the type of subfloor in your home. Concrete subfloors are corrected by screening. This process involves filling in lower spots with fresh concrete and leveling that off to create a smooth, flat area. Wood subfloors, on the other hand, can be sanded down to ensure a flat surface ideal for the installation of floating wood floors.