Living room with a luxury vinyl plank floor

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring: Glue Down vs. Floating

Written by: BuildDirect



Time to read 3 min

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties because it is waterproof, incredibly durable, and designed to offer the look of natural wood at a fraction of the cost. One of the most enticing benefits of this flooring product is the fact that it can easily be installed as a home project and does not require a costly professional installation process. Vinyl plank flooring is typically offered as either a floating or glue-down product.

Floating Vinyl Plank Flooring

A click-together tongue and groove system on the edges of these vinyl planks makes them easy to attach in a continuous way that allows them to hover just above the subfloor. The floating nature of the floor makes it suitable for use over a subfloor that has some imperfections. They are easy to attach using a rubber mallet, making them an ideal choice for a quick do-it-yourself installation process at home.

Glue Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

Glue down vinyl plank flooring utilizes an adhesive tape or liquid glue product to adhere the planks to the subfloor as opposed to each other. This installation method is more permanent in design but takes much longer to install, making professional installation a consideration.

Choosing the Right Product for the Space

Deciding which product is right for your space is easy when you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Both types of products are completely waterproof and easy to keep clean with a vacuum designed for hard floors and a simple mop. The differences are more in the nuances.


The room plays a big role in determining the correct flooring product. Vinyl is a popular choice because it holds up to both dry and wet spaces, allowing it to be used continuously from a living room into a kitchen or from a bedroom into a bathroom. Running continuous flooring can help a home appear larger and more open because there aren’t threshold lines breaking up the visual space. Floating vinyl plank floors are a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and bedrooms.

If you are laying floors in a large and expansive area, a glue down flooring application can provide more durability. Of course, glue-down applications are appropriate for smaller rooms as well. The flooring product should have instructions for the maximum number of square feet it can cover without a threshold. Take note of those instructions when deciding how often transitions are needed.


Because floating floors are not formally adhered to the subfloor, there is a chance a plank could come up, especially if heavy furniture is pushed across the surface of the floor. Glue-down installation holds up to high-traffic areas while reducing the chance for the floors to roll or lift up, especially if things are frequently moved or rolled across the floors, such as carts and furniture. Both products are dent and scratch resistant, making them strong enough to hold up to heavy furnishings without fear of marks or imperfections.


Noise should not be a consideration because both floating and glue-down vinyl plank floors produce the same sound when they are walked on. Vinyl planks feature multiple layers and are a relatively quiet choice for any room, especially compared to tile floors. The noise is determined more by the construction of the material than by the installation process. For quiet floors, look for vinyl flooring with noise-dampening layers, such as cork built into the design. If any floors seem noisy, adding an area rug in high-traffic areas can go a long way to minimizing sound.


The affordability is one of the main draws to vinyl plank flooring of both installation varieties. Glue-down vinyl plank floors are less expensive per square foot than floating options, but the cost savings is then offset by the fact that additional installation supplies are needed. If professional installation is used to complete the glue-down process, the total cost of product and installation could far exceed floating vinyl plank flooring. Even with professional installation, vinyl flooring is more affordable than most other types of flooring. When selecting a product, consider everything needed from start to finish and factor it into the overall budget.


Even though both products are incredibly durable, sometimes repairs are necessary. If a section of the floor becomes damaged, it can be replaced. This is slightly easier to do with glue-down flooring because it does not have the same click-in mechanism as floating flooring options. If you do install floating floors, repairs are still possible, but it may take a little more finesse to work the new planks into the existing flooring. No matter which type of flooring you select, make sure to save a box of planks for making repairs or adjustments down the line.

When it comes to transforming the look of your home, both glue-down and floating vinyl flooring make great options. They provide all the style and elegance of hardwood while remaining durable enough to use from the front door straight through the bathrooms of the home. Consider the actual construction of the product and select one designed to hold up to the way the room will be used. For the best results, select a product designed for commercial use and make it a foundation of your room for many years to come.