After several decades in a row of homeowners showing favoritism toward synthetic materials as flooring choices, such as carpeting, linoleum, and laminate, manufacturers are finding that today’s more eco-minded consumer is opting for hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors are beautiful, warm, and durable, but they can also be very expensive, especially when you add installation costs to the price of materials. Realizing that homeowners are beginning to feel more comfortable taking home renovations into their own hands, flooring companies have begun to market more user friendly hardwood products like the lock and fold floating floor boards.
Lock and fold floors require no gluing, nailing, or stapling. They are essentially a tongue and groove system, with a twist—or an angle to be more exact. As with other floating floor systems, lock and fold floors will be installed atop a cushioned underlayment.
The first lock and fold plank should be installed with its groove facing out. The next board is then installed at about a 45 degree angle with the tongue against the prior board’s groove. Once the pieces fit together the second board is locked into place by pressing it flat to the floor, thereby locking the two pieces together. In order to get the boards apart again, there needs to be pressure from the under side of the floor to unlock the pieces. For this reason it is essential that the subfloor be perfectly level and flat, or else there may be spots on the floor where the boards are coming unlocked from one another.
The lock and fold system is still fairly new and there are still a few kinks to be worked out and some concerns about the product. The boards are fairly thin and consumers have complained that this may be the cause of “cupping” in the boards after installation. Unlevel subfloors may also be to blame for this. There have also been complaints about the planks not locking together as easily as manufacturers claim. Another concern is as to how the product will stand the test of time and handle moisture in the long run.
Overall, however, it is said that the lock and fold floating floor may just be the easiest system to install yourself.
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