Magnetic flooring is gaining popularity as a flooring option because of its simple installation and low volatile organic compounds (VOC) output. And its glue-less attachment system makes it simple enough for a beginner to tackle.
What is magnetic flooring?
Magnetic flooring comes as two layers: a magnetic underlayment that goes between the sub-floor and the flooring, and the flooring material that has ferrous (iron-based) metal powder in it. Because the underlayment uses magnets to attach the flooring tiles, no glue or adhesive is required. While magnets are known to damage some electronics, this type of magnet isn’t strong enough to do any harm unless you’re working with precise scientific instruments.
The tools and materials you’ll need for installation
To install magnetic flooring, you’ll need flooring and underlayment, some seam tape, a straight-edge, tape measure, and a utility blade. For some of the tile types, like ceramic or wood, you’ll also need a saw that can cut the flooring type you’re using and a square to mark your cuts.
Installing your underlayment
Begin laying your flooring by making sure that the sub-floor is free of debris or dirt. Since the underlayment needs to spread out as flat as possible to make good contact with the tiles, minimizing the bumps underneath it will make it all the simpler to put together. Then, roll out the magnetic underlayment all in the same direction. Here’s when the straight edge comes in handy: Trim the underlayment to the edges of the floor and around molding with your utility knife, using the straight edge as a guide; then, use your seam tape to seal all of the seams between pieces of underlayment. This is important to create a moisture barrier, but also to keep the underlayment from moving around while you’re laying the floor.
Laying your new flooring
Then, all you need to do is lay the flooring on top of your underlayment. For carpet and vinyl tile, you can cut around walls and molding with a utility blade; for other flooring types, you’ll need to use a skill saw or tile saw. The toughest part will be starting with a straight line to get a good fit. Pick a wall and begin laying the flooring horizontally against it from one corner out to give you a solid baseline to continue your pattern from. Work the pattern until you reach the opposite wall, and then go back to do your custom cuts around walls and moldings. (An advantage of the magnetic attachment method is that you don’t have tongue-and-groove or click-together edges, so you can just place custom cuts in the openings where they fit.)
G/O Media may get a commission
Up to 20% off
Target Bedding Sale
Great bedding, great prices.
Target’s bedding is excellent—and you can take up to 20% off sheets, pillows, comforters and more during this bedding sale.
The pros and cons of magnetic flooring
The trade off with simple, safe magnetic flooring is that it’s generally more expensive than other flooring types. However, the underlayment will last for more than one application, so it also reduces waste (and time, and some money) when you want to change your flooring again. So if you want a simple, quick, and durable flooring type and have the money to pay for it, magnetic flooring is a great option.