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Floating Floor Cost Guide

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If you own a home long enough you may eventually need to replace some or all of the flooring. When it's time for a new floor, you could encounter such a vast array of flooring options that it can be difficult to make a decision. In addition, you may have heard about "floating floors" and have no idea what they are and if a floating floor is the best choice for you. Let's look at this kind of flooring more closely, and check out the approximate costs.

What Does Floating Floor Mean?

A floating floor is not protection against floods as it has nothing to do with floating on water. The term "floating" refers to the fact the flooring material is not nailed, glued, or attached in any way to your subfloor. So in essence, the flooring floats atop the subfloor and is attached to itself and this (and gravity) is what keeps it in place.

Actually, floating floors are not in direct contact with the subfloor as they are usually placed on top of an underlayment material. This helps to give the floor extra insulation. It also serves to keep the flooring in position and can eliminate excessive noise.

Flooring Materials

Not long ago, most floating floors were made from wood. In fact, timber flooring is a great way to improve the value and appearance of your home's interior. However, today there are several other selections besides timber.

Engineered Timber

Engineered means there is more than one piece of timber in each plank or section of flooring. The multi-ply construction adds a great deal more strength to the flooring. For instance, each thin piece of timber is stacked in different directions so the wood grains are crossing instead of running parallel to each other. Some engineered timber flooring sections have as many as 12 separate pieces per section.

Engineered timber provides another advantage over solid wood. You can use flooring which is thinner and yet still just as strong as thicker solid timber. Cost is also a consideration. For example, suppose you want an oak or mahogany floor. With engineered flooring, you are only paying for a thin piece and not solid mahogany or oak.


Vinyl floating flooring is not to be confused with vinyl tile flooring (which is glued down to an existing floor). Vinyl planks are made to look just like timber planks, except they are much cheaper on average. Vinyl is durable and water resistant but it can be scratched.


Bamboo is not really timber, although it has the look and feel of timber. Many people like bamboo plank flooring because it is an eco friendly choice. Unlike timber, bamboo can be easily grown and cultivated and there is no shortage or concern with depleting rain forests.


Would you love to have a beautiful new timber floor? How about a lovely stone or brick floor? Many people enjoy ceramic floors these days. Laminate can look just like these selections and you'll have to look very closely to tell the difference between laminate and real timber. However, there is a big difference in the price.

Laminate flooring is created in four separate layers, as such:

  • Backing - this is the layer on the bottom and keeps out moisture to prevent your flooring from warping.
  • Inner core - made from a plastic resin, it gives the flooring its incredible strength and keeps it flat.
  • Image layer - this is where the design of the timber, stone, or other material is provided.
  • Protective layer - the strong and durable outer layer which prevents scratches and stains. It also keeps flooring colour from fading.

Can I Do the Job Myself?

The beauty of floating flooring is many homeowners can lay their own floors. The planks are tongue and groove design and interlock as you lay them down. However, there is more to installation than laying the planks. You must put down an underlayment and make sure the floor is completely level. In addition, you will need to cut some of the planks to fit the floor and cutting should be straight and accurate for best results.

Figuring the Costs

The least expensive flooring will cost you about fifteen dollars per square metre. However, you will also need the same amount of underlayment material and this can run about five dollars per square metre to as much as ten dollars for the high quality materials. Cheaper foam underlay (2mm thick) will work but for better insulation and protection, a 4mm antimicrobial product may be the better choice.

Are you laying the floor in an upstairs? Consider underlayment with sound prevention (acoustic) properties. Suppose you plan to lay your own floor and you want the cheapest option. You would pay about $20 per square metre ($15 for flooring plus $5 for underlayment). If you were doing the floor of a 3 X 3 metre spare room, this would be $180 but this cost may not give you the best of flooring materials. By using the better ($10) underlayment and $20 flooring you could still get by for around $270. However, if you made mistakes on the install, you could be looking at a $270 disaster, so a professional install may be the best option.

When you figure installation costs for flooring do not forget about the labour involved in taking up the old material and disposing of it. When you do this yourself, you will cut your installation costs. If you want good quality timber floors expect to pay as much as $40 a square metre. For high quality laminate that looks like real wood, it can cost $25 per square metre. Installation will run close to $35 per square metre and this includes your underlayment too.

Who to Contact?

If you need new flooring installed, who should you call? Many people turn to professional carpeting services. Flooring installation companies are popular and some specialize in timber floors for your home. Handyman services can do floors, as well as carpenters and home renovation contractors. Start with flooring companies. Call the services and ask about their per square metre flooring and installation costs. This will give you a close idea of what you'll need to spend for your new floor.

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