June 16, 2023

Gluing Hardwood Floors: The Pros and Cons

Installing wooden hardwood floor, detail on man hands holding wooden tile and spreading glue

Hardwood floors have centuries of history, and installing them is one steeped in tradition. But that doesn't mean they're immune to innovations to bring other options for the growing and ever-changing target market. For decades, consumers and professionals used two hardwood flooring installation methods: gluing and floating. Although popular, most don't know their differences or unique benefits and limitations. In this guide, learn all about gluing hardwood floors.

The Classic Approach: Gluing Hardwood Flooring

Gluing is a traditional method of hardwood flooring installation that involves adhering the floor directly to the subfloor using a specialized flooring adhesive. The process is labor-intensive and requires professional skills. But it ensures sturdy, solid hardwood floors that resonate with the feel and sound of traditional hardwood.

The Advantages of Glued Hardwood Flooring

The gluing approach has become one of the well-known installation methods for hardwood flooring across the US. It owes much of its popularity to its numerous benefits to the floors’ longevity, stability, and sustainability. Here are some of the most notable advantages of glued hardwood floorings. 


The most notable benefit of gluing hardwood floors is the stability it provides to your flooring. Unlike the floating or nailing installation approach, gluing sticks the hardwood flooring directly to the subfloor. The adhesive spreads uniformly across the entire surface and helps create a firm, stable floor. It makes the floorboards more resistant to shifting or squeaking. Gluing also aids in prolonging the hardwood floorings’ lifespan.

In addition, gluing hardwood floors reduces the planks’ movements. The adhesives glue the floorboards to the subfloor, allowing them to expand and contract. Despite that, they don’t warp or shrink like other planks installed via floating. The elastomeric material in hardwood flooring glues limits any aesthetic damage on the floorings that can lead to replacement or repair.


Although glued hardwood floorings minimize the floorboard’s movements and prevent additional damage, they also work as protection. The method assists the wood’s natural tendency to expand and contract from temperature and humidity changes by creating a vapor barrier between the subfloor and the hardwood strip. Due to this, hardwood floors get higher environmental resistance.


Gluing hardwood floors also improves the flooring's soundproofing. The adhesive layer between the subfloor and the hardwood flooring acts like a sound barrier, preventing noise exchange between levels. This quality makes glued hardwood floors an excellent choice for multi-story homes, condominiums, or other settings where noise reduction is desirable.


Hardwood flooring designs like parquetry and marquetry are tricky to install. Over time, the hardwood strips in these patterns can warp and damage the floor. But gluing them to the subfloor is the best option to prevent damage, repair costs, and eventual replacement.

The method provides flexibility that can strengthen the installation of these intricate hardwood flooring patterns. In addition, it allows homeowners to enjoy personalized and artistic floors without thinking about possible repairs or replacements. 

The Disadvantages of Gluing Hardwood Floors

Although glued hardwood floors have numerous perks, it still has notable disadvantages that people should consider. Here are some of them.

More Subfloor Preparation

Most hardwood flooring installations can use simple subflooring techniques, but with gluing, you should consider more preparation steps. Unlike other methods, this method uses adhesives and directly sticks the hardwood planks to the subfloor. Due to this, it’s critical that you put quality underlayment and have it cleaned thoroughly before the process starts.

Expensive and Labor-Intensive

Due to the additional steps in preparing the subfloor for the gluing method, many homeowners can find the costs of their installation services more expensive. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional hardwood flooring contractor do it, the whole process is more labor-intensive and time-consuming. In addition, it’s harder to clean the adhesives on the top layers of the floorboards once the installation is over. Besides the difficulty, there are also specific cleaning products depending on the glue you use on your floors.

The Odor

Depending on the adhesive used in gluing the hardwood floors, it can emit and leave intense chemical odors that could last for days. Due to this, your home’s indoor air quality is at risk from the fumes. When installing your floorboards this way, always wear an organic vapor cartridge mask and open all the windows and doors while drying them out.

Gluing Hardwood Floors and The Best Hardwood Flooring Repair Services in Austin

Installing hardwood floors is one steeped in tradition due to their centuries-old history. The hardwood floor gluing installation method has become the most-used approach when laying hardwood floors, with good reason. Although they present numerous perks to homeowners and hardwood floorboards, they also come with cons that people should consider.

Are you looking for the best hardwood flooring repair services in Austin? Contact Kelly Hardwood Floors today!