Glue Down vs Floating Vinyl Plank

Glue Down vs Floating Vinyl Plank

There are many reasons why you might choose vinyl for your flooring installation. It is great for high-traffic areas such as kitchens and laundry rooms. It is water-resistant and durable.

However, there are many different types of vinyl flooring. You may find yourself weighing the benefits of glue down versus floating plank vinyl flooring.

There are pros and cons of both types of flooring. It’s important that you take into consideration all of the features of each type of vinyl flooring before making your choice. So which is better, glue down or floating plank vinyl?

In this guide, we’ll explore:

Side-by-Side Comparison

 Glue DownFloating Vinyl Plank
Make UpAttached to sub-floor via glue or adhesive tape"Floats" over top of sub-floor without glue or tape.
DurabilityBetter option for high traffic areas that will have rolling trafficCould lift away from the sub-floor with rolling traffic since it's not adhered to the sub-floor
ReplacementVery easy and pain-free to replace whole floor or a sectionEasy to replace, but slightly more complicated than glue down
NoiseVery similar to floating vinyl plankVery similar to glue down
RoomGood for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms; better for larger roomsGood for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms; not as good for larger rooms
InstallationHarder to work with, so a professional may need to installVery easy to do as a DIY project
CostAbout $1.70 per square foot, but may need professional installationAbout $2.99 per square foot, but could be a DIY installation project

Makeup

The first thing you need to understand is the makeup of each type of flooring. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting when you’re buying either glue down or floating plank vinyl flooring. This is important so you know how you are going to install the floor in your home and what exactly it entails.

Glue down flooring is considered a permanent type of flooring. It can withstand impacts, scratches and spills. This kind physically attaches to the sub-floor beneath it. It attaches by either a glue on the back of the floor or by double-faced acrylic tape.

You can lay new flooring directly over top of this type of floor. It is smart to choose this floor type if you don’t plan on making a switch in floor type in the near future.

Floating vinyl plank flooring simply lays over the sub-floor in a “floating” fashion. They don’t have any adhesive tape or glue on the back of them. This makes this type of flooring much easier to install. It can be a do-it-yourself project.

So which one of the options is better for you, glue down or floating vinyl plank flooring? You can best answer that question by taking a look at the condition of your sub-floor.

It isn’t recommended to install glue down flooring types on top of a high-moisture sub-floor. That includes a below-grade concrete pad, such as might be located in a basement. This type of sub-floor would be a good fit for a floating vinyl plank floor, instead.

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Durability

The next thing to consider when deciding between glue down versus floating vinyl plank flooring is their durability. It is especially important in this regard to consider the room that your floor will be installed in. How will you use that room?

Since a glue down floor will be physically adhered to the sub-floor, it will be firmly held into place. This makes it an ideal choice if there is going to be heavy traffic in the room.

It is also a good choice if there will be any rolling traffic. That includes moving kitchen islands or even wheelchairs. The adhesive will keep the flooring in place and not lift away from the sub-floor.

A floating vinyl plank floor, on the other hand, isn’t actually adhered to the sub-floor beneath it. It’s still a very durable type of flooring. But it might not be as good as a glue down version in the scenarios above. That’s because it would have a tendency to lift away from the sub-floor with this rolling traffic.

As for cleaning, both types of flooring can be cleaned with a hard-floor friendly vac and a wet mop.

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Replacement

No matter which type of flooring you choose, you will have to replace it at some point in time. Hopefully, this won’t happen until after you have enjoyed many years with your flooring choice. However, when it comes time to replace the floor, which is easier and better, a glue down or floating vinyl plank floor?

Glue down flooring allows for a seamless replacement. It is very easy to either replace the entire floor by laying a completely new floor on top of it or by replacing loose planks and tiles in a singular manner. It is a very simple and pain-free process to do.

A floating vinyl plank floor is easy to replace, too, although it could be slightly more complicated than a glue down floor. That’s because each plank interlocks with another one. So if you have to replace a portion of the floor, you’ll have to remove each flooring tile or plank in the path of the section that you need to replace.

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Noise

One thing that people may not consider when they’re making a choice of flooring type is how the flooring may affect the acoustics in the room. The fact remains, though, that your floor will either absorb noise or bounce noise off it, causing what’s known as an echo effect. So which is better for noise, glue down or floating vinyl plank flooring?

Both of these types of vinyl flooring can be considered really good for the acoustics of a room. This is especially true when comparing them to other hard flooring choices, because they absorb noise more than the other options. Some types of these floorings also offer added acoustic backings to help with noise reduction even more.

What is more of a determining factor when considering the acoustic effect of your floor is the shape that your sub-floor is in. If it is level and you are able to either adhere the flooring down over it, or lay the floating vinyl planks evenly, then your flooring will have a better outcome when it comes to noise reduction.

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Room

Another really important factor to consider when making a choice for flooring type is what room you’ll be installing the floor in. Some of the things you need to consider in this realm are foot traffic, moisture and warmth. So which is better, glue down or floating vinyl plank?

Both types of flooring are great options for bathrooms, kitchen and laundry rooms. That’s because vinyl flooring is waterproof and very durable. These rooms in your house often have the most moisture and take the biggest pounding from not only feet but also laundry baskets, pots and pans and other items.

One thing you may want to consider, though, is that larger rooms will have less joint stability with the click-lock installation of floating vinyl plank flooring. For this reason, it might be better to choose a glue down vinyl floor for larger rooms. The glue down option will actually adhere to the sub-floor, making it less likely that the floor will lift or have vulnerable seams in these larger rooms.

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Installation

There is another important factor to consider when making your choice in vinyl flooring. That is how you will install it in your house. If you are hoping to save money by installing the floor yourself, you’ll want to know the steps before you start the project. So is there an advantage to choosing a glue down or floating vinyl plank floor in this regard?

Floating vinyl plank flooring is meant to be very easy to install. It is almost the perfect fit for a person who enjoys DIY who wants to do the work themselves. The vinyl plank flooring is very easy to set and click together in a simple way.

While you can put together glue down flooring on a DIY basis as well, it isn’t as easy as a floating vinyl plank. This is because it’s not as easy to handle and deal with the adhesive that this type of flooring requires. So if you don’t have experience in this arena, you may want to hire a professional who can install the floor the right way.

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Cost

Compared to other types of flooring, vinyl floors are a very affordable type of flooring that you can install in your home. This is especially true when you are comparing the cost of vinyl flooring to hardwood or tile options. But is there a definitive difference between types of vinyl flooring such as glue down and floating vinyl plank?

Overall, both types of flooring are on the more affordable end. While there is certainly a range of pricing that is available by manufacturer and also by the specific styles and features of the floor you choose, there isn’t too much of a difference in price between glue down or floating vinyl plank flooring.

The glue down option is cheaper for just the flooring itself, with most options in the $1.70 per square foot range. Floating vinyl plank, on the other hand, is a little more expensive at around $2.99 per square foot.

However, as we discussed earlier, the glue down option may require you to hire a professional to install, while the floating vinyl plank would be easier as a DIY project. So there could be some added cost for a glue down floor with an installation fee.

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The Verdict

In sum, both glue down and floating vinyl plank are really solid flooring options for bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens, where it’s necessary to protect against heavy usage and moisture. The choice of what type of vinyl floor you choose for your home may come down simply to whether you plan on installing the floor yourself, or whether you plan on hiring a professional. Since the glue down flooring requires a glue or tape to adhere to the sub-floor, it is slightly more difficult to install yourself.

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Will R

About Will R

Will R. is a creative writer, editor and storyteller. He has been working in the fields of journalism, marketing and public relations for the last 14 years.

15 thoughts on “Glue Down vs Floating Vinyl Plank”

  1. Avatar

    I noticed that all concerns people have is from noise and ease of installation. My concern is the expansion and contraction of the sub floor and how a glued floor will respond to the movement. My thought is that the floating method will move with the expansion but the glued will separate from the sub floor.. Can you elaborate on this issue?

  2. Avatar
    William J Cathey

    I plan on gluing down lvt in my 5th wheel do I have to let the glue flash before laying the flooring or can I install the flooring while the glue is freshly troweled down

    Thank you

    1. Avatar

      I’m a DIY and have installed glue down vinyl plank in two RV’S.
      First a 31 foot trailer glued down wet and and found that the planks were tight at install, they ended up with end gaps.
      The 2nd install was my 40 foot 5th. I let the glue tack up or dry first then laid the planks down. 8 months later no movement.

  3. Avatar

    I had an issue with the Du Chateau “Duluxe Click” LVT, which was actually discontinued pretty soon after it was released.
    I used the exact same product in two jobs, probably from the same lot and both jobs developed issues which we believe were due to a weak click system. We had the used flooring sent off for testing and the results showed that the click system was weaker than what is “typically expected”; There is no industry standard but there is an expectancy as to what the strength should be.

    I’ve tried to research and see if anything has been written about the same issue.

  4. Avatar

    I have a question. We have just had some LVP installed and there were some transitions that needed to be leveled off. A previous thin carpet was removed off of the cement subflooring and there is a 1/4 inch transition into a few rooms that had glued down LVP before. So….the flooring company said that they floated a long bevel transition from the flooring to the concrete subflooring, but there is still a bounce. I’m pretty convinced that they only leveled a few inches instead of a few feet. Is this bounce going to be detrimental in the long term? Also, the flooring guy said he could “inject” to get it to stop bouncing…but wouldn’t that tac down the floating floor and that’s bad?

    Thanks!

  5. Avatar

    Our standard size kitchen and hall are very hard ceramic tile, so we want to replace it. We can’t tell from any articles what is considered to be a large area, so do you recommend glue down or floating for us? Just 2 of us live here. Thanks, Barb

    1. Avatar

      Your situation sounds similar to ours. We have ceramic tile in our kitchen and hallway and are replacing it with the floating tile. This way we can place the floating floor right over the existing tile. Our room is 200 sg ft. If we were to remove the ceramic tile, there is a good chance the sub floor would have to be replaced. Therefore, the floating tile makes economical sense for us.

  6. Avatar

    We have a large basement with a cement floor. It had glued down old linoleum tile and glued down industrial carpet. We have removed the previous flooring and want to replace both areas with luxury vinyl. The area is about 1000 square feet of space (one area is a kitchen area and the other a living area). We will probably do this project ourselves and are trying to decide on a glued down vinyl vs a floating vinyl. We have installed a floating vinyl floor and we are worried that with the size of the space, we might need to consider gluing it. Thoughts?

  7. Avatar

    I am looking to install 800 -1000 sqft of LVP in all of my living/kitchen/laundry/bath spaces in my home (no bedrooms). I am also totally redoing my kitchen. My contractor wants to to the glue down installation which I am fine with and I think I prefer. We have no South facing windows and now worries of sections getting too warm.

    My concern is that he wants to install the glued down LVP first and then install my new cabinets on top of the new floor. I know that the flooring I am buying is made for commercial use and is recommended to be glued down for commercial use. I am concerned about the cabinets and most especially the new island sitting on the floor. These cabinets will have quartz countertops. Should I be concerned about this for a glue down installation?

    I am looking to purchase Homecrest WPC (Hayden oak)

    Any advice is welcome! Thanks

  8. Avatar

    We just installed glue down vinyl planks and looked great at first, but about a week after it is coming up. Is it possible to get bad glue? Also, this is on concrete. Help please?

    1. Avatar

      If the concrete was not prepared properly then the glue will not hold properly. For example, if the floor was sealed then the glue will not hold unless the floor was properly roughed up and cleaned. If the concrete was not sealed the glue may have been allowed to dry too much in some spots and may have lost its adhesive properties. Try using a hair dryer on a low heat seating and go over the loose spots. This may re-activate the glue and allow the tile to stick. Low heat only.

  9. Avatar

    Every article is talking about noise within the room but I cannot find any info what option to use to prevent transfer of vibrations – sound that neighbors one floor below can hear. We are living in an old communist block of flats (concrete panels) and neighbors below us can hear big noise from each step or kids playing on the floor. I was convinced that we must use a floating system because of acoustic underlay but one seller said to me that a glued one is better for us.

  10. Avatar

    We have about a 600 square foot area. It is a combined dining/living area. When considering glue vs floating, would you consider this a larger area that would be better glued or would this be OK for floating install?

    1. Avatar

      I had click type installed in 2 bedrooms over concrete flooring. Love the way they look, hate the way they feel. Some spots hear clicking from air between flooring and floor. Living room has glue down from previous owner and I would definitely go with glue down if I had choice to do over. Had professionals install, so it wasn’t cheap to install.

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