Patricia Shannon is a freelance homes writer for Better Homes & Gardens with over a decade of editorial experience. Her areas of expertise include decorating, cleaning, and how-to content. Patricia is also a regular contributor with Southern Living and Coastal Living magazines.
Although only recently introduced, magnetic flooring is already becoming an increasingly popular choice, and it’s not hard to see why. Whether you have flooring with minor cracks that need covering, require a flooring type that’s easy to repair, or are simply looking for a DIY-friendly choice, magnetic flooring is an option to consider.
With a wide variety of options to choose from, magnetic flooring is both an appealing choice for aesthetic reasons and for practical ones as well. According to Shauna Olsen, CEO of Creative Magnetic Flooring, wood plank magnetic floors feature acrylic-infused hardwood that allows for increased durability without the expanding and contracting you can expect from traditional hardwood varieties. Additionally, magnetic planks can be installed in a variety of trendy patterns (including the beloved herringbone) and can easily be swapped out by even novice DIYers when it’s time for a freshen-up. “The magnetic flooring innovation is ideal for every setting,” says Olsen.
Magnetic flooring's appeal is hard to deny, but can it take the place of traditional flooring types? We’ll let you decide.
Magnetic flooring is a two-layer system that consists of a base magnetic layer (or magnetic underlayment) that attracts magnetic powder in the top layer, or flooring surface. It can be made of just about any material; the only prerequisite is that the flooring surface needs to have trace amounts of iron powder in order to adhere to the base magnetic layer.
Due to its glue-less installation, magnetic flooring is considered a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) flooring choice, a category receiving increased visibility as many homeowners look for more eco-friendly choices.
According to Raffoul Ajami, owner/president of Ajami Surfaces, magnetic flooring is a true DIY product, and not just for installation. Unlike other flooring varieties, single planks can be swapped out relatively easily and quickly for repairs and, more often than not, without requiring the help of a professional. Rather than ripping out flooring in an entire room when one or two planks are damaged, homeowners can isolate and replace the planks in question, resulting in less labor and less material waste.
The adhesion between the two-layer system comes from ferrite powder. Any flooring material containing ferrite powder can act as the top layer as long as the base magnetic layer is present. “The result is a tight, magnetic bond between the sub-floor and finished floor, which is virtually waterproof,” says Ajami. “The magnetic sub-floor acts as a sound barrier, and even provides crack isolation protection.”
With no adhesives to mix, no glue or nails, and fewer steps altogether than that of many other flooring types, the labor required for installation is minimal. The materials, when sized to the space, lock together magnetically as they’re laid. The base layer is simply rolled onto the subfloor and stays put due to its weight, while the magnets found within both layers are strong enough to lock the system together so they don’t shift with foot traffic.
The downside of this easy install? Once completed, you might be tempted to switch up your flooring look—and often. “A floor can be installed and a year later can be removed and reinstalled with a different design,” says Olsen.
The low skill level required for installation is one bonus, but the downtime required for getting your new magnetic floors down and ready for trotting has its own appeal. For more traditional applications and patterns, Olsen says the project would likely last days, but a magnetic flooring system can be installed in just hours.
One of the more unexpected uses for magnetic flooring might just be simply reusing it. If a patterned tile is no longer working for your laundry room, move it to the mudroom, where it can make a more prominent splash. Olsen also suggests swapping out orientation or pattern when a more updated look is desired.
While the cause for removing your flooring is ideally a matter of changing aesthetic preferences, there are certain unwanted instances in which quick removal and reinstallation are required, particularly when it comes to water-related issues. According to Olsen, the ability to quickly remove the flooring and clean and dry the subflooring before reinstalling can make a sizable difference when it comes to minimizing flooding damage.
Because magnetic flooring is a relatively new concept, it hasn’t yet gone mainstream. That means you’ll have to do some research to find a retailer. It’s not as simple as popping into any home improvement store and seeing all your options stocked and ready to take home.
Due to its limited availability, it can also be more expensive than other flooring types. Depending on how you plan to install (whether tackling the project on your own or calling in a professional), you can start to recuperate some of the cost immediately. Even if you decide to hire a professional, your installation cost will still be a one-time deal, since plank and even total surface replacement can be handled by the average DIYer.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.