I'm finally getting around to installing an engineered floating floor in our living room. It's 1/2" thick. I am looking at using 1/4" cork underlayment underneath such as this from Home Depot.

It mentions 'cork underlayment adhesive'. Is this necessary? I figure since it's a floating floor to begin with, there's no real reason the underlayment can't be floating as well, is there?

The cost of the adhesive isn't a big deal, but I figure if I can save the mess/time, I will (not only for me, but any future person wanting to replace the floor). Are their strong reasons to adhere the underlayment?


Thanks for the answers thus far! So, a follow-up question: If it's best to adhere the underlayment, what would be a pragmatic solution other than the mess of floor adhesive? The suggestions thus far:

  • tape the seams of the underlayment together (duct tape? would other tape be better?)
  • Staple the cork to the subfloor (will that cause issues with the underlayment expanding/contracting?

2 Answers 2


You don't have to glue it but it needs to be secured somehow - duct tape. Don't want the pieces rolling up on each other over time.

You would just be duct taping the underlayment to the outside flooring or in the inside seams. And duct tape isn't hillbillying your floor. It is used because how well it handles moisture. Maybe someone has a specific underlayment tape they like to use but several manufacturers (I read directions) said to use duct tape.

Also try to get some duct tape attached to the subfloor for each piece - clean subfloor. So around the perimeter you are taping your cork to the subfloor directly along the outside edge. In the "middle" you want to tape cork piece #1 to the subfloor. Then you tape some of cork piece #2 to the subfloor. Then you add additional tape to tape #1 and #2 together, where ever they join. This is not more work either. If you only attach the pieces together at the seams they will slide on you.

(anyone who edits this to give a better picture if free to do so)

So your choices are glue everything down. Or tape the seams to each other and subfloor. I have always had the choice to do both and always chose tape. Not sure when I would glue - generally this would scare me because lets say you spill some lemonade on the floor and it gets to the subfloor. The acidity could eat through the glue (duct tape wouldnt be affected). Yes I understand that it would have to be a lot of lemonade to make a difference but if it happens right at a seam and two pieces lost their glueing...

  • How would that happen with the floor on top? Think a few staples through the ends would suffice?
    – DA01
    Apr 12, 2013 at 4:54
  • The floor on top will always have a bit of flex due to expanding and contracting. Meaning when it expands there will be a bigger pocket between flooring and pad. Around the seams you do not want one piece moving on top of another (even an inch) because you will notice "bumps" or uneveness. Seriously you are talking about a half hour of work for a large area.
    – DMoore
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:10
  • oh wait...I think I get it now...are you suggesting I tape the seams of the underlayment together? That makes sense! And you are right, not too much work.
    – DA01
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:13
  • 1
    Yes tape just the seams - including by the walls. I have installed numerous floating floors. Either the padding had its own taping system (even then they said to use duct tape if needed) or we used duct tape. It is very easy and will cost you $8. Do not staple... for numerous reasons but the biggest on being that you don't want to have issues in a few years because of something this dumb.... use a quality glue too if your wood floors are being glued together. And cut your door jams well!
    – DMoore
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:20
  • So, in the end, what I did was only tape the seams together of the underlayment. It seems to have worked well in the year or so since. I ended up using Gorilla tape ('super' duct tape). Thanks for the advice!
    – DA01
    Jul 17, 2014 at 4:27

You can staple it down - not as messy and fairly quick. I've used something like this on a remodel. It was 3/8" cork over plywood subfloor, then bamboo on top.

  • 1
    I wouldn't staple cork. Cork is brittle. Cork expands a bit, especially if it gets a little damp. If it expands and contracts enough the staples will tear and then you will have nothing keeping it together 4 years later. Probably why manufacturer says to glue. Taping the seams with something that handles moisture well is the best solution.
    – DMoore
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:12
  • 1
    Also, putting staples through cork reduces its' ability to dampen sound.
    – Malfist
    Mar 3, 2016 at 20:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.